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Washington state killer captured after field-trip escape

  • Story Highlights
  • Phillip Paul recaptured Sunday in Goldendale, Washington, authorities say
  • Paul duped someone into driving him 250 miles from escape site
  • Paul planned escape for at least several months, police say
  • Legally insane killer escaped Thursday during hospital field trip to fair
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(CNN) -- A legally insane killer who escaped in Washington state during a field trip to a fair was recaptured Sunday, the Spokane County Sheriff's Department said.

Phillip Paul, shown in court in 1987, believed his murder victim was a witch, according to court documents.

Authorities combed Washington state for Phillip Paul, a killer who escaped Thursday during a field trip.

Phillip Paul, who was on the run for three days, had been planning the break for "at least the last several months," Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said at a news conference.

Paul was recaptured at about 4 p.m. PT in Goldendale, Washington, sheriff's Sgt. Dave Reagan said. Goldendale is about 250 miles from the site of Paul's escape from a county fair in Spokane County, Washington.

Police received a tip Saturday afternoon that Paul was dropped off by a person he managed to dupe into giving him a ride to Goldendale, Knezovich said. Police spotted him hiding in a wooded area about 100 yards from the drop-off point Sunday and eventually arrested him while he was trying to hitch another ride, Knezovich said.

Sheriff's officials told CNN affiliate KREM-TV that Paul also escaped briefly in 1991 and assaulted a law enforcement officer. That same officer was involved in arresting Paul on Sunday, Reagan said.

Paul, 47, escaped at around noon Thursday.

Though Paul had been confined in a mental institution because of a murder confession, he was allowed to go on the trip to the county fair.

Paul had packed all his personal belongings in a large backpack before leaving on the trip, which the sheriff said should have been a sign that Paul was "about ready to do something this drastic."

Paul was committed to Eastern State Hospital after admitting he strangled and slit the throat of community activist Ruth Motley in 1987, KREM-TV reported. According to court documents obtained by KREM, Paul believed Motley was a witch and killed her in response to voices in his head.

He subsequently burned a deer carcass as a sacrifice, according to the documents.

Paul's escape Thursday prompted a massive manhunt and brought criticism from many, including state government officials and police.

"There was an extreme amount of anger throughout the law enforcement community that this event even took place," Knezovich said. "This is a situation, in my opinion, that should have never happened."

Knezovich also complained that hospital officials had not reported Paul's escape for two hours, which he said also hindered the investigation.

A review of the policy that allows patients to take trips has been launched, said Susan Dreyfus, secretary of the Washington's Department of Social and Health Services. Dreyfus said she was concerned about Paul's escape and another recent brief escape by a patient at a different local mental facility.

All About SpokanePsychotic DisordersMurder and Homicide

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