A homeless man believed killed in Parkland by a recently released Western State Hospital patient was identified Friday as 41-year-old Thomas Fite.
The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office said Fite was strangled.
Court Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered the man taken into custody in connection with the killing, 42-year-old Douglas Reid Murray, held without bail Friday for 72 hours, as prosecutors make a charging decision.
He’s expected to be arraigned Monday.
Another transient found Fite’s body about 9:40 a.m. Thursday next to the road at 107th Street South and Pacific Avenue South. He told sheriff’s deputies Fite had been seen with a man who was then at a nearby fast-food restaurant.
Deputies found the man inside the restaurant in a blood-soaked shirt with his pants down, rambling nonsense, sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said. Murray was taken into custody after a brief struggle with deputies.
A motive has not been released, but investigators said Murray possibly was harassing and confronting people in the area Wednesday night.
Murray had been released from Western State eight days earlier, after receiving treatment for his bipolar condition.
He was at the hospital for a 45-day competency evaluation and was found competent Sept. 7 to stand trial on charges from a previous incident. A judge released him on his own recognizance, on the condition that he stayed in contact with a Tacoma mental health care facility.
Murray has six previous felony convictions and 44 misdemeanor convictions, according to court records.
Anyone who saw someone acting erratic in that area was asked to call the Sheriff’s Department’s nonemergency line at 253-798-7530.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653