Insane Killer on the Loose Seized in Washington

Liz De La Torre

From curious passerby to armed police officers to high-priority helicopters, the city of Goldendale, Washington was the site of much media buzz on Sept. 20 as Goldendale-Bickleton Road was flooded with the final seizure of a bizarre scraggly-haired man, the criminally insane killer Phillip Arnold Paul. After three days of escaping from a mental institution en route to the Spokane County International Fair, Paul was discovered lurking around the roadway, trying to hitch a ride.

Phillip Arnold Paul was first institutionalized in Eastern State Hospital as a schizophrenic for murdering a woman named Ruth Motley in 1987. Following orders from alleged voices in his head to kill “the witch,” he proceeded to strangle her, cut her throat, and eventually burn a deer carcass as sacrifice. Despite Paul’s baffling characteristics, Klickitat County Sheriff Rick McComas insists his surrender lacked any peculiar behavior. “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,” said a responding officer.

In fact, this isn’t the first time Paul has escaped from Eastern State Hospital. In 1991, he made a short-lived escape to Medical Lake on another trip in which he was convicted of first degree escape and second degree assault after attacking an officer during booking procedures. This time around, a more probable and premeditated escape seems plausible since nearly all his belongings at the hospital were packed, including $50 from a Social Security check. Paul had allegedly been bragging to a friend about a release from the hospital for months and, after a clean break from the hospital, went to see the friend who provided him with supplies and a ride out of town. However, after learning of the escape on Saturday, the friend called police, tipping them on the location of the last place he left Paul.

As of now, Phillip Arnold Paul is set to receive a checkup and then make a court appearance in Yakima County Superior Court on a sanction from Motley’s murder before being reinstated to the hospital.