He strangled and slashed the throat of an elderly Sunnyside woman and buried the gasoline-soaked remains in her own flower bed.
He escaped from a mental hospital and later shattered the shoulder of a sheriff’s deputy.
Now, his fog-brained keepers claim lunatic killer Phillip Arnold Paul, 32, is well enough to visit Spokane once a week – provided he is guarded at all times and takes his medication.
“I am so angry,” says Helen Mottley, whose 78-year-old mother, Ruth, was murdered by Paul in 1987. “Nobody should go through what my family had to go through.”
Ruth Mottley, a retired educator, was the matriarch of Sunnyside. She founded the town’s historical association and was recognized as one of Washington’s 100 most influential women of the last century.
But voices jabbering inside Paul’s skull told him Mottley was a witch. The powerfully built former wrestler entered the woman’s home on Emerald Road on April 25, 1987, and practically twisted her head off.
He sliced her neck with a pocketknife, soaked her in gasoline to throw search dogs from her scent and burned the body in a shallow grave.
Paul was found not guilty because of his insanity and was confined to Eastern State Hospital in Medical Lake. Paul needs biweekly injections of a drug to keep his demons at bay.
“He’s the only paranoid schizophrenic – I’ve seen hundreds, maybe thousands of them – that frightened me,” psychiatrist Frank Hardy testified during a 1988 deposition.
Yet on June 15, a Yakima Superior Court judge signed an order to let Paul attend an art class once a week in Spokane beginning Aug. 2.
Dr. Al Miller, Eastern State Hospital’s medical director, says Paul’s treatment puts him in better touch with reality. “Obviously, he’s not grossly psychotic at this time.”
When Paul ventures out, he will pay his private guards with Social Security disability money.
“The damn Social Security money oughta be going to the state of Washington for his care,” says Yakima County Prosecutor Jeff Sullivan.
There are a lot of things crazy about this.
For starters, Sullivan “very reluctantly” went along with Paul’s conditional release. He did so, he says, because of the restrictions placed upon Paul’s movements outside the hospital.
But Sullivan didn’t bother to notify Mottley family members that Paul’s release was being considered. Their objections at the hearing conceivably could have stopped the release.
“I apologize,” concedes the prosecutor. “That was my responsibility and I dropped the ball.”
That’s not the only time officials have dropped the ball where Paul is concerned.
In 1990, his keepers let him wander the hospital grounds unsupervised. Paul just walked away.
Spokane Sheriff’s Deputy Roger Knight caught Paul and found how vicious he can be. At the Spokane County Jail, Paul’s transformation from meek prisoner to lunatic was lightning quick.
“He suddenly punches me in the head, picks me up and smashes me into the floor,” says Knight, whose shoulder was reconstructed and will never be the same. Paul was pounding the officer’s head into the floor when jailers pulled him off.
“I hope whoever guards him has good life insurance and medical benefits,” adds the deputy.
No one is more upset by the system’s handling of Paul than Southern Idaho rancher Marx Hintze.
In the spring of 1987, Paul drove off in his truck. He made it to Mackay, Idaho, where Hintze happened upon him sitting dazed in the pickup in the middle of a highway.
Hintze called a deputy, who arrested Paul and found several loaded handguns and a sawed-off shotgun in the truck.
Paul was taken to a mental facility in Blackfoot, but Custer County wanted him discharged because of the cost.
Hintze pleaded with officials to not let him go. He mailed a registered letter to the institution, demanding Paul be kept because of the danger to society.
Instead, mental health workers gave Paul some drugs and released him to his mother, who took her sick son back to Sunnyside. Ten days later, Phillip Arnold Paul took care of that witch on Emerald Road.
No matter how strict the conditions, Hintze is incredulous that anyone would run the risk of putting Paul back into the community.