Escaped killer apprehended
An Eastern State Hospital patient who killed an elderly woman 22 years ago was recaptured Sunday without injury after he slipped away from from hospital staff on a field trip to the fair.
An Eastern State Hospital patient who killed an elderly woman 22 years ago was recaptured Sunday without injury after he slipped away from hospital staff Thursday on a field trip to the Spokane County International Fair.
Phillip Arnold Paul, 47, seemed ready to surrender when he walked out to Goldendale-Bickleton road near Goldendale, about 180 miles away from the fair, said Klickitat County Sheriff Rick McComas.
Spokane County sheriff's Capt. Dave Reagan said Paul was preparing to hitchhike. McComas said Paul offered no resistance as he turned himself in.
"He came out of the brush, onto the roadway, as law-enforcement officers were going by," McComas said. "His intent was to voluntarily give himself up because he knew we were going to find him."
Paul's brother, Bruce Paul, who talked to his brother shortly after the apprehension, said his younger sibling decided to give up when he saw search aircraft overhead.
"He wasn't out to do anybody any harm," he said. "He just wanted some time out, some freedom. He just wanted to see the light of day."
On Monday, Yakima Superior Court Judge Michael Schwab granted an order to return Paul to Eastern State Hospital. Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney Susan Arb said the jail intends to transfer him to the hospital later Monday.
Bruce Paul said his brother contacted a friend in Spokane, told him he'd been released and asked him for a ride home.
But instead of directing the friend to Sunnyside, Yakima County, where he had lived, he led him to the place where he had gone hunting years ago.
When the friend learned Paul had not been released, he contacted authorities, Bruce Paul said.
When Bruce Paul heard the description of where his brother had been dropped off, he realized it was where they had gone hunting.
"He had fond memories of being up the mountains," Bruce Paul said.
Phillip Paul vanished Thursday during the fair field trip, which included 30 other patients. He left little clothing in his room at Eastern State Hospital and carried a backpack and $50 from a Social Security check, sheriff's Sgt. Dave Reagan said.
His disappearance prompted a widespread search.
Before he was apprehended Sunday, 50 to 60 federal, state and Spokane-area law-enforcement personnel were shifted from the Spokane area in Eastern Washington to Goldendale, the Klickitat County seat, about 145 miles southeast of Seattle and 185 miles southwest of Spokane.
Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said Paul had been telling a friend in Spokane for months that he was going to be released from the hospital. Paul went to the friend's house Thursday after slipping away from hospital staff on a field trip to the Spokane County Interstate Fair.
Knezovich says the friend gave Paul a guitar and a sleeping bag and drove him out of town. The friend contacted detectives Saturday after learning of the escape, and showed them where he dropped Paul off.
Until Sunday, authorities said they believed Paul would head for his family home in Sunnyside, about 65 road miles east of Goldendale and about 180 road miles south-southwest of Spokane.
But Reagan said investigators have had no indication Paul passed through Sunnyside.
Bruce Paul said his brother didn't contact family members.
Reagan said the arrest Sunday was made by Spokane County sheriff's detective Roger Knight, who also nabbed Phillip Paul in 1991 after he gave Eastern State Hospital personnel the slip during a field trip in Medical Lake, where the mental institution is located.
After that arrest, Paul knocked Knight unconscious in the jail booking area, separating his shoulder, and was convicted of first-degree escape and second-degree assault.
McComas said Paul would be taken to Yakima after a brief checkup by medics in Goldendale.
Paul was committed after he was diagnosed as schizophrenic and acquitted by reason of insanity in the slaying of an elderly woman in Sunnyside in 1987. He snapped her neck twice and slashed her throat twice. He then doused the body with gasoline to throw off search dogs.
Jim Stevenson, a spokesman for the state Department of Social and Health Services, said Paul on Wednesday received an injection designed to maintain his mental stability for about two weeks.
Only at the end of that period would he need another dose to avoid the potential for a serious deterioration of his mental condition, Stevenson said.
Bruce Paul said his brother was not on medication when he killed the Sunnyside woman.
He said his brother had previously been diagnosed with a mental illness and was prescribed medication, but because he'd never made any threats to anyone or to himself, no one could make him take it.
"It was not something you would have ever expected out of Phillip, but it happened," he said.
He also said his brother was able to come home in 2000 for about six months on a conditional release, and he twice has been released to the Carlyle Care Center in downtown Spokane.
But he said his brother isn't good at following the rules to stay out of the hospital. And although his brother has a mental illness, he says he befriends a lot of people and is a likable person.
"I wish Phillip would follow the rules better and have some type of life under controlled situations," he said.
Since the 1990s, Paul has been granted limited releases into the community, and then they've been revoked. Since 2005, he was twice released to the Carlyle, an assisted-living facility, and then ordered back to Eastern for refusing to take his medication.
Eastern patients have been taken on outings into the community — including the fair — for years, and hospital officials say they can be a useful treatment tool.
Hal Wilson, the hospital's CEO, said last week that Paul was not considered "extremely dangerous" and that a treatment team had approved him for the trip to the fair. He said Paul had been "a fairly model patient," The Spokesman-Review reported Sunday.
However, on Sept. 4, a judge overseeing Paul's case concluded that he still represented a threat to public safety, and that his condition had deteriorated, according to The Spokesman-Review.
Paul has a MySpace page where he posted photographs and songs that he has written and recorded about his schizophrenia and treatment, including references to Eastern as the "Nut Hut" and "palace of the pill."
A brief biography on the page refers to the 1987 killing as a "four-second mistake." It adds, "Psychotic symptoms were noted over the incident that landed Phil in the psychiatric ward of the Washington State Mental Institution."
Seattle Times staff reporter Linda Shaw contributed to this report. She can be reached at 206-464-2359 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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