Home > criminal, news > The County Fair: A Great Place for Food, Rides…and Killers?

The County Fair: A Great Place for Food, Rides…and Killers?

According to a recent news article,  a criminally insane murderer escaped during a mental hospital field trip to a county fair near Spokane, Washington on Thursday, September 17th.

Phillip Arnold Paul was one of thirty-one patients who were taking a field trip with 11 other staff members of Eastern State Hospital.  Paul, age 47, had been committed to Eastern State Hospital after he was acquitted by reason of insanity in the 1987 slaying of an elderly woman. Knowing all of this, why would you want to bring someone like Paul to a fair?

In order to travel on group outings, all patients from Eastern State Hospital have to be cleared by a treatment team.  These patients wear normal, street clothing, and it is not mandatory that everyone stay together as long as staff members can keep each patient within eyesight at all times.

Paul spent almost three days on the run from authorities before he was picked up on Sunday, September 20, 2009 near Goldendale, WA.  He is currently locked down in a secure area of Eastern State Hospital under supervision.

So, what about the motive for why Paul attempted to escape? According to local authorities, Paul’s escape was meticulously planned.  One news report had the following to say:

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said Paul conned a friend into giving him a ride from Spokane to Goldendale, about 180 miles southwest, near the Oregon border. The friend believed Paul had been legally released. When the friend saw news reports of the escape, he contacted authorites and led them to the point where he had dropped off Paul.  The escape was apparently triggered when Paul’s request to move from the mental hospital to a residential facility in downtown Spokane was rejected by a judge earlier this month. The judge found that Paul represented “a threat to public safety.” [source]

Facing much criticism and outrage from the public, Eastern State Hospital has come under great scrutiny as local authorities try to figure out how something like this could have been allowed to happen.  State senator, Mike Carrell, is apparently in the middle of trying to draw up legislation to prevent this from happening again.  In the meantime, head of the state Department of Social and Health Services, Susan Dreyfus, has put a temporary stop on all field trips for those mental health patients who have been committed for treatment as a result of criminal proceedings.

One thing is for certain, however.  Someone with the criminal and mental history that Paul has may have been better off sitting this one out.

For more information about domestic surveillance, contact Cat’s Eye Private Investigations today at 919.878.9988 or submit a confidential request form here.

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