Head of mental hospital quits after escape

Sept. 24, 2009 at 7:45 PM

SPOKANE, Wash., Sept. 24 (UPI) -- The head of a Washington state mental hospital holding a criminally insane killer who walked away while on an outing has resigned.

Harold Wilson, who has been chief executive officer of Eastern State Hospital in Medical Lake near Spokane for 10 years, submitted his letter of resignation Wednesday, The Seattle Times reported.

"Hopefully, this move will help to signify that a change in leadership at the hospital is being taken, and that new vision and direction can be brought forth to lead the hospital," he said.

Phillip Arnold Paul, 47, escaped while on a field trip to a county fair last week. He surrendered after three days on the loose.

Paul was found not guilty by reason of insanity of killing a 78-year-old woman in 1987.

During his years in Eastern, Paul has had several intervals of working or living in the community, the newspaper said. In 2005, during a period in assisted living he fathered a child.

Paul was returned to Eastern every time when his condition grew worse, usually after a period of rejecting medication.

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