Cops Catch Insane Killer Who Fled Field Trip in Wash.

Phillip Paul sparked state manhunt
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2009 7:59 PM CDT
This image provided by the Spokane County Sheriff's Office shows 57-year-old Phillip Arnold Paul.   (AP Photo/Spokane County Sheriff's Office)

(Newser) – A schizophrenic killer who ducked out of a mental hospital field trip has been caught in south-central Washington, the Spokesman-Review reports. Phillip A. Paul, 47, slipped away at the Spokane County Interstate Fair on Thursday and triggered a police manhunt. A sherriff's deputy caught him today trying to hitch a ride in the Goldendale, Wash., area, the AP reports.

State officials have launched an investigation into why Paul was allowed on a field trip, and why his mental hospital didn't notify authorities for 2 hours. Paul was committed for the 1987 strangling and stabbing murder of 78-year-old Ruth Mottley. After killing her, Paul covered her in gasoline and buried her in her flower garden. He said disembodied voices had warned him Mottley was a witch.