A Parkland man found dead Saturday was killed with a claw hammer or screwdriver by a transient who lived in a nearby homeless camp, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.
James Patrick Payne, 51, died of blunt and sharp force injuries of the head neck and extremities, the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office said Monday. His death was ruled a homicide.
Deputies arrested a 44-year-old man who allegedly made comments to people about killing the victim. Investigators found the man after speaking to people he tried to recruit to hide the body, sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said Monday.
When deputies responded to the 800 block of 97th Street South about 12:50 a.m. Saturday, they found the victim dead inside the detached garage he rented.
Never miss a local story.
“We think he’d been dead for a while,” Troyer said.
A claw hammer and screwdriver were recovered from the scene.
The two men apparently knew each other, and investigators believe a fight over money led to the attack. Troyer said it appears the men argued over a debt owed, but he wasn’t sure who owed whom what.
The suspect was being held in the Pierce County Jail while detectives continue their investigation. Prosecutors said he could be charged Wednesday.