MyNorthwest.com is reporting that Phillip Arnold Paul has escaped during a field trip to a county fair that he was on with other inmates from the mental hospital he was committed to.
Unfortunately, this is not a setup to a bad horror movie. Paul, a diagnosed schizophrenic, was found not guilty by reason of insanity in 1987 after he strangled an elderly woman, doused her body with gasoline, and buried her in her own flower garden.
Paul has had a history of escape attempts, including one in 1991 during another "field trip." He was convicted of second-degree assault and first-degree escape after attacking a sheriff's deputy. Paul's brother describes himself as a "tough guy," but stated that he would not take his brother on. Lucky for us, his medication should keep him "stable" for 14 days.
"He is in a bad mental state," his brother, Tom Paul, told The Associated Press. "Why would they load him on a bus and take him to a fair?"
Why is any mental institution taking any mental patients on field trips? Is this on the tax payers' dime? And, ignoring the sheer stupidity of taking convicted, insane murders on a "field trip," why a crowded fair?
Thirty-one patients from the mental hospital were on the trip with 11 staff members. Patients must be cleared by a treatment team before they can go on trips to stores, parks, ball games, fairs and other sites, said hospital spokesman Jim Stevenson. They wear street clothing and need not all stay together, but staff members are required to keep each patient within eyesight at all times.
I am absolutely shocked that this goes on. Government may not be motivated by profit, but it seems it certainly isn't motivated by the threat of lawsuits either. This, not the patients, is absolutely insane.