A Minneapolis man was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison for fatally stabbing another man with a pair of scissors in June.
Stephen E. Gooler, 51, killed Perry Paulson, 49, of Mounds View, on June 20. The two met on a chat line and then in person on June 17.
Gooler told authorities that they had been drinking before the stabbing occurred. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder earlier this month.
Assistant Ramsey County Attorney C. Ryan Tennison argued for 16½ years in prison because the attack was particularly “gruesome” and because Paulson trusted Gooler. Defense attorney Bruce Wegner argued for closer to 12 years in prison, the least Gooler could have received, because Gooler pleaded early in the process and showed remorse.
Ramsey County District Judge Joy Bartscher was skeptical of Gooler’s remorse, noting that he spent much of his adult life in and out of the criminal justice system. Was he remorseful for taking Paulson’s life, Bartscher asked, or worried about the consequences he faced?
A naked, severely injured Paulson knocked on a neighbor’s door pleading for help after the attack in his apartment. “Help, I’m dying,” he said, according to charges.
Paulson died at the scene. Gooler jumped out a window and suffered serious injuries.
Tennison read victim impact statements from Paulson’s parents, brothers and cousin. Paulson worked for several years in a nursing home and loved to listen to the patients’ stories, his family said.
“He was a very compassionate person,” said a letter from his parents, David and Patricia Paulson.
Paulson’s brother said Paulson took Gooler in because he was homeless.