Criminally insane escaped killer caught in Goldendale - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Criminally insane escaped killer caught in Goldendale

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GOLDENDALE-- Phillip Paul has been taken into custody in the Goldendale area.  Paul was brought into custody by three Spokane County Sheriff's Deputies around 4 p.m. Sunday. 

Paul had been on the run from authorities since he walked away from a day trip of 31 criminally insane patients from the Eastern State Hospital Forensics Program patients at the Spokane Interstate Fair about 11 a.m. Thursday.

Late Saturday, the Sheriff's Office received information that Paul had been given a ride to the Goldendale, Washington area.  Investigative teams judged the tip credible and began relocating to that community starting about 3 a.m. Sunday.

50 to 60 law enforcement officers were in the wooded area near Goldendale searching for Paul.  The group is made up of members of the Spokane County Sheriff's Office, The FBI, U.S. Marshals and the Yakima County SWAT Team. 

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office helicopter was also used to search the area all morning.  Spokane Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said it was the constant pressure from the helicopter that chased Paul out of the timber in which he was hiding and into a failed attempt to hitch another ride out of the area.

A motorist spotted Paul attempting to flag down a ride and alerted police.  It was Detective Roger Knight, his partner Det. Mark Renz, and Detective Sergeant Bill Beeman that found the suspect standing in the roadway about 4 p.m. Sunday.  Paul was quickly arrested him without incident. 

Detective Knight was injured by the fugitive in a failed escape attempt in 1991.  Paul fled from a field trip to Medical Lake and began heading southwest toward the family home in Sunnyside.  Deputies responding to the report of a suspicious person in the Fishtrap Lake area found and arrested him.

While booking him into the Spokane County Jail, Paul suddenly attacked Knight, knocking him down and unconscious and injuring his shoulder so severely it required surgery to correct.

When Knight learned of Paul's second escape Thursday morning, he volunteered to lead the Spokane County effort to find and re-arrest the suspect.

During his press conference Sunday evening Sheriff Knezovich praised the efforts of his staff and other law enforcement agencies and personnel who assisted in the three-day hunt for the fugitive.

At the same time he expressed frustration at the costs, both in terms of dollars and manpower, that the escape inflicted on his and other participating agencies."The good news for our community is that they can go to sleep tonight a little safer," he said. 

Paul was taken from the site of his arrest to the Yakima County Jail.   A warrant had been issued there Friday charging the fugitive with Failure to Comply with the Terms of His Commitment to Eastern State Hospital.

It was unknown Sunday if he would then be returned to the hospital or remain in Yakima for further court appearances.

Sunday evening Washington Governor Christine Gregoire released the following statement, "I am pleased Phillip Paul has been apprehended and that the public remained safe while he was at large. I thank all of the participating federal, state and local agencies for their efforts in the search. Now we can focus on why this happened and what we need to do to make sure it never happens again.  As part of this review, I have asked DSHS Secretary Susan Dreyfus to look at  how our state deals with a growing population of individuals entering our state hospitals from the criminal justice system, a major issue confronting this and other states' mental health systems."