SEATTLE - An insane killer who slipped away from the staff of a mental institution at the Spokane County International Fair was recaptured without injury yesterday in Goldendale, in south-central Washington.
Captain Dave Reagan of the Spokane County sheriff’s office said Phillip Arnold Paul, 47, was caught by Deputy Roger Knight, the same deputy who arrested Paul and was injured by him after an escape in 1991.
Reagan said Paul was trying to elude a search helicopter and walked to a road to try to hitch a ride just as Knight arrived at the scene.
Investigators were trying to determine whether Paul planned his escape from a field trip organized by a mental hospital.
Paul left little clothing in his room at Eastern State Hospital and carried a backpack and $50 from a Social Security check when he vanished Thursday at the Spokane County International Fair, Reagan said.
The field trip to the fair, which included 30 other patients, is an annual event that Paul easily could have anticipated.
Paul was committed after he was diagnosed as schizophrenic and acquitted by reason of insanity in the slaying of an elderly woman in Sunnyside, Wash., in 1987. He soaked her body in gasoline to throw off search dogs.
In 1991, Paul walked away from custody during a day trip from Eastern State and was captured about 15 miles away.
Federal, state, and local law enforcement agents joined in the search yesterday as officials ruled out one potential hiding place after another. Members of an inmate recovery team from the state Department of Correction also took part.