It was September 25,2002 and I just came home from work. I had difficulty getting down my street to go into the driveway of my house because of all the police cars on the street. When I finally parked my car and got to my house I sat on the porch to watch the action. My wife said the cops are at Stella's house and that she thinks something happened to her. The front of the property was marked off with yellow crime scene tape. Next thing I know, a stretcher comes out the front door of Stella's house. Someone was on it covered up with sheets. Stella Garczynski was murdered.
The police hung around all night. They searched around the front of my property and asked me if I happened to notice a broken knife or scissors laying around. The cops stuck around the property for several days.
Sometime after I showed up at my house, the news truck came. They were from all the TV networks, NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox. I was interviewed by Fox News and asked whether I was scared or considering leaving the neighborhood. I said no, what is there to fear. The reporter then said that most people she spoke to plan to move out of the neighborhood. I said I already have an alarm system, a high fence, a good deadbolt and a Rottweiler. What is there to fear anyway?
The murder made a big splash in the local news. An elderly white middle class woman stabbed to death in her own home. She just had work done on her property. The big question on everybody's mind was, "Who done it?". Well, two days after the crime we got our answer on the front page of the Trentonian. It wasn't a gang of burglars, a crazed maniac or the handyman. It was none other than Pamper Petterway, a married woman with children who held Jehovah's Witness meetings in her home. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention she was also black and a crackhead.
Stella was targeted the morning of her murder. She walked to the bank on the corner of Liberty and Broad. At the time I believe it was Core States or First Union. Today it is Wachovia. While walking there she met a black lady who said she had no place to live and was looking for a home. Stella offered to take her home with her, give her a meal and help her find a place to rent. (At least this is Pamper's story. Doesn't sound like the Stella I knew, who seemed to be too streetwise to befriend strangers hanging out by the ATM and then let them in her home.) The two walked back to Stella's house and she let Pamper inside and began fixing a sandwich when Pamper said she needed to use the bathroom, which was upstairs. Pamper went upstairs and began ransacking the bedrooms. Stella thought she was taking too long and went upstairs to get smacked over the head with a lamp and a statue of the Blessed Mother then stabbed her 38 times with a knife and a pair of scissors. She was stabbed so hard, the handle of the scissors broke off, leaving the blade in Stella's body. Needless to say, there was blood all over the place.
From what I heard from the neighbors (this never made the papers), Pamper stuck around for a while. She had lunch, took a shower and washed and dried her clothes at Stella's house before leaving. Yes, she even ate the sandwich that was waiting on the table. How's that for a cold blooded killer.
Pamper got caught when she went to the big Wachovia bank branch on State and Warren with a forged power of attorney and one of Stella's checks, which was filled out. It seems Pamper was bold enough to clean out Stella's bank account. The bank clerks heard about the murder and recognized the name and probably also wondered why some Polish woman would sign over access to her bank accounts to a black woman. They stalled for time and called the police who made the arrest.
Eventually, the hoopla died down. Many of our old neighbors moved out. I guess they got scared that this could happen to them. Me, I'm used to this thing. I remember when the state trooper who lived next store to Stella was out front hosing blood off his sidewalk. That time someone was stabbed there, probably over a bad drug deal. We've had other incidents too, like the time several people charged out of their houses and tackled a car thief and held him down until the police came. I tore my Achilles tendon in that one and was laid up for several months after that. Just some more excitement in River City.
Of course, after the old people moved out, new ones moved in. A Trenton cop now lives in Stella's house. Paul moved out next door and Lawrence moved in. The state trooper moved out of the big rancher, and now his house is occupied by a landscaper who parks his big pickup in the driveway. Things have quieted down quite a bit down here since 2002. No murders, no stabbings since then. The new people are mostly black and Hispanic, a little change from the Slavic people that used to live around here when I first moved in back in 1992. However, for the most part it is still the same sort of place. Most people own their homes, take care of their properties and look out for each other.
As you probably guessed, Pamper got convicted of murder and never got out of prison again. You would think that would be the end of the story for her. No, She was arrested in May 2009 for the June 1982 murder of 68-year old salesman,, William Stelle
Also, Pamper Petterway has become a poster child for Neo-Nazi and skinhead blogs who want to show how wonderful black people are. Her career as a murderer was mentioned on both Stormfront, "Stella Tries to Help Black Drug Addict = Dead Stella" and on Chimpout, "Huge Nigger Sow Serving Time For Murder Charged Again". From the headlines, you can catch the editorial slant of these websites. If you want to read them, just Google Pamper Petterway. I'm not going to bother posting links to them here. For a link to a straight news story about Pamper Petterway, click here:http://www.mycentraljersey.com/article/20090504/NEWS/90504056/UPDATE-Woman-49-indicted-in-Plainfield-stabbing-death-cold-case-from-1982.
Did Pamper think of all the damage she caused when she killed Stella? Most likely not. She was just looking for a few bucks to pay off her drug dealer and buy some more rocks to smoke. What she did was put fear in people, caused several families to move, and no doubt made some people think twice about moving here. I addition she helped make inner city blacks look like fools and gave the racist community a shining example of why people should avoid urban areas.