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Weighing in

A weekly look at reader comments and reactions to the news

The escape on Thursday of a mentally ill killer from a field trip at the Spokane County Fair elicited many comments. Phillip A. Paul, who killed a Yakima-area woman in 1987, slipped away from a group of Eastern State Hospital patients and was on the loose for three days before being caught near Goldendale, Wash., on Sunday. Full reaction to this and other coverage can be found at

nickgb: This guy must have been a model patient to have a leave like this. These doctors deal with excruciating decisions in treating the mentally ill, and the patients live in a hell we can’t imagine. Try a little sympathy, care for your fellow man, and start praying that this man finds his way to safety before he succumbs to his illness.

amn: Sorry, but I don’t have any empathy toward Paul. I understand he is mentally ill, but don’t forget, he tried burning the woman he killed in an attempt to cover up his crime. If that doesn’t show some knowledge of what he did and the nature of his acts, then I don’t know what does. I have no doubt that ESH is underfunded and understaffed. However, that does not change the fact that someone made the decision to approve a “field trip” at the fair where there are children and thousands of people.

NBryant: Out of all the disorders on the books I would never want schizophrenia. To not be in control of my life because of a chemical imbalance in my brain would be awful. We are not talking about a man with antisocial personality disorder. Paul can feel remorse and he has the capacity to understand what he did wrong. He is a sick man who needs help not condemnation. His health care providers obviously felt he was more than capable of handling a public outing, and until the facts are in I won’t judge those officials.

BR ng: This is criminal! Inexcusable … the supervisors should be held accountable. They are as guilty as he is, in my book.

piwacket5: Geez! The guy has a history of murder, prior escape, assault on a police officer and somebody thinks it’s a good idea to take him to the fair!!! Who’s insane here?

Steve McDonald: … I would hate to be the person/s that decided to let him be a part of this so called “field trip” if he does hurt someone else.

Scoutster: …Take a deep breath, everyone. There are lots of people out there who have done less time than 22 years for crimes as heinous as this man’s. They just aren’t mentally ill so they get out sooner. I’ll bet some of them were even at the fair yesterday.