Insane killer captured after four days on the run

Insane killer captured after four days on the run »Play Video
Phillip Arnold Paul
GOLDENDALE, Wash. - An insane killer who escaped from a Spokane County field trip organized by his mental hospital was captured Sunday afternoon in Klickitat County - more than 180 miles away, officials said.

Officials said Philip Arnold Paul, 47, was nabbed by Spokane County Detective Roger W. Knight - the same officer who arrested and was injured by Paul after an earlier escape in 1991.

Spokane County sheriff's Capt. Dave Reagan says Paul was under pressure from a helicopter hovering overhead and dozens of officers swarming around the area, searching for him.

The escaped killer walked to the Goldendale-Bickleton road about 22 miles east of Goldendale shortly after 4 p.m. to try to hitch a ride just as Knight and other search personnel arrived on the scene.

Klickitat County Sheriff Rick McComas said Paul offered no resistance as deputies approached him, and he was taken into custody without injury.

The arrest came as the search for him was in its fourth day.

"It appeared that he was going to voluntarily turn himself in because of the pressure of the ground force we had in the area," McComas said. "He chose not to stay hidden any longer."

"He came out of the brush, onto the roadway, as law enforcement officers were going by. His intent was to voluntarily give himself up because he knew we were going to find him."

McComas said he didn't know how Paul reached the area from Spokane, where he escaped while on an outing with 30 other criminally insane inmates at the Spokane County International Fair. The trip was organized by Eastern State Hospital, where Paul was an inmate.

The search for the missing killer shifted to Klickitat County earlier on Sunday, as dozens of federal, state and local law enforcement officers were reassigned there from Spokane.

Spokane County sheriff's Sgt. Dave Reagan wouldn't say what prompted the move, but it paid off. Paul was nabbed within hours after the focus of the search was shifted to the remote area of south-central Washington state.

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich earlier said Paul likely had been planning his getaway for some time.

Paul was committed after he was acquitted by reason of insanity in the 1987 slaying of an elderly woman, whose body he soaked in gasoline to throw off search dogs.

Paul's getaway at the Spokane County Fair on Thursday was the second time he had escaped from custody since the murder.

In 1991, he walked away during a day trip in Medical Lake and was later captured. He attacked then-Deputy Knight in the jail booking area, knocking him unconscious, and was convicted of first-degree escape and second-degree assault.

Knezovich says the deputy was so badly injured in the attack that he required surgery. "He (Paul) has a very violent past," the sheriff said.