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Women Found Slain, Husband Held

August 27, 1985

REDDING, Calif. (AP) _ A man freed on bail after his arrest for allegedly prowling with a knife outside his estanged wife’s home has been arrested in the stabbing deaths of the woman and her friend a few hours later, officials say.

Natalie Rupe, a mother of three young children, and Deborah Lynn Robbins had reportedly told their neighbors and police that they were ″deathly afraid″ of Mrs. Rupe’s husband.

The women went as far as getting a restraining order to keep Paul Rupe away, but they alleged that he still managed to slashed their car tires and leave threatening notes pinned to their door, police said.

On Friday night, police found the husband allegedly sneaking around the women’s home with a knife and arrested him. Early Saturday morning, hours after Rupe was freed on bail, the women were found stabbed to death.

Police arrested Rupe for investigation of two counts of homicide.

Neighbors said they heard the screams as the women were repeatedly stabbed.

″I heard screaming. It was definitely screaming,″ said Eileen Cerami, who lives in an apartment behind the women. ″I thought if I heard it again I would wake up (my husband) Joe. God help me.″

The killings came a few days after a neighborhood watch meeting at the home of next-door neighbor Norma Webb that was intended to teach residents how to defend themselves.

Several of the neighbors who were at the meeting said the women had come to them in the past few days looking for help, saying Rupe would hurt or kill them.

″They told us about all their problems,″ said Ms. Webb, who loaned them a flood light on Friday night. ″I know how frightened both of them were.″

Mrs. Rupe was a junior technician with the Army Reserve. Ms. Robbins was in service work, according to David Poague, a minister at the Church of Christ. She had attended that church since she was a child, he noted.

″She was a caring person and someone who was willing to get involved with other people,″ he said. ″She was a remarkable woman.″

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