SEATTLE (AP) - An insane killer who slipped away from the staff of a mental institution on a field trip to the Spokane County International Fair was recaptured Sunday without injury more than 180 miles away in south-central Washington state.
With a helicopter overhead and dozens of federal, state and local law enforcement officers swarming around Goldendale, Phillip Arnold Paul, 47, seemed ready to surrender when he walked out to the Goldendale-Bickleton road about 22 miles east of town shortly after 4 p.m., just as search personnel arrived at the scene, Klickitat County Sheriff Rick McComas told The Associated Press.
Spokane County sheriff's Capt. Dave Reagan said Paul was preparing to hitchhike. But 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."
The sheriff said he didn't know how Paul reached the area, adding the information that he might be nearby came from authorities in Spokane. Authorities told KATU that they were searching in the Goldendale area because Paul was known to hunt there.
Reagan said the arrest was made by Spokane County sheriff's detective Roger W. Knight, who also nabbed Paul after he gave Eastern State Hospital personnel the slip during a field trip in Medical Lake, where the mental institution is located, in 1991.
Following 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 following "a brief checkup by medics" in Goldendale.
Earlier in the day, 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.
Reagan wouldn't specify what led to the shift, which occurred on the third day after Paul's escape. It remained unclear whether Paul met up with anyone after his getaway Thursday morning.
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 that Paul passed through Sunnyside.
Paul left little clothing in his room, just some underwear and socks, and was carrying a backpack and $50 from a Social Security check when he vanished. The field trip to the fair, which included 30 other patients, is an annual event that Paul easily could have anticipated, Reagan said.
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 soaked her body in gasoline to throw off search dogs.
Jim Stevenson, a spokesman for the state Department of Social and Health Services, said Paul received an injection designed to maintain his mental stability for about two weeks on Wednesday. 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.
On Saturday Reagan told The Spokesman-Review newspaper that investigators learned Paul had several contacts in the Spokane area after living outside the hospital complex periodically, including stays at The Carlyle Care Center in downtown Spokane.
Paul's page on the online social networking site MySpace features recordings of nine songs, including one titled "Rock N Roll in the Mental Institution," by Philly Willy and the Hillbillies. The singing on the recordings was done by Paul, but it was unclear when or where they were made, The Spokesman-Review reported.
"24/7 you been laying in bed," Paul sings. "You be damn lucky to get those voices out of your head."
The songs also include lyrics about people outside the institution not caring, a lack of mail, and missing the feel of grass under his feet, the sight of the stars at night and the touch of a woman.
In a brief biography on his MySpace page, Paul refers to the killing as "a four-second mistake" and adds, "Psychotic symptoms were noted over the incident that landed Phil in the psychiatric ward of the Washington State Mental Institution."
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. He has been nicknamed the "insane killer" by those involved in this case.