Man found dead in burning home had been stabbed

Man found dead in burning home had been stabbed »Play Video
Emergency personnel respond to the scene of the suspicious fire where a body was found.
GRAHAM, Wash. -- A man whose body was found by firefighters battling a blaze at a Graham home had been stabbed to death, the Pierce County Medical Examiner said late Thursday.

Douglas Erhardt, 55, died from a sharp-force injury to the head and neck, the examiner said. The death is being investigated as a homicide and the fire as an arson.

Firefighters were called to the home in the 19300 block of 89th Ave. E. Wednesday morning after a neighbor called 911 and reported seeing light, gray smoke coming from the home, said Steve Richards of Graham Fire & Rescue.

The first firefighters on the scene entered the home and quickly extinguished the fire. A second crew searched the home and found the victim on the floor.

Neighbors say the man who lived in the home has caused problems in the past, and police have been called to his home multiple times.

"It's been a lot of issues back and forth with this guy ... it's always been a concern," said Harshiem Ross, who lives next door to the home that burned. "The police have been out several times, so it's not surprising something happened, actually."

He said the home's occupant once yelled at Ross' wife and accused her of stealing his cell phone. He also reportedly shot at dogs in his neighbors' yards with an air gun.

Another neighbor, Joey Taylor, said the occupant of the burned home would get into confrontations with neighbors, asking them what they were doing.

"He'd pull up and say, 'What's your name, what are you doing here?' ... He's told us that he works for the CIA. We found his Facebook and Twitter feed, and he talks about being related to Princess Diana."

There is no word yet on any suspect or motive. The Pierce County Sheriff's office continues to investigate.