Psychiatric patient arrested in Pierce County on murder charge

SPANAWAY, Wash. (AP) — A man recently released from a Washington state psychiatric hospital faces a murder charge after a transient was found dead in on a Pierce County road.

The News Tribune reports ( ) the slain transient, identified as 41-year-old Thomas Fite, was found by another transient Thursday. The person who found him told police Fite had been seen with a man who was in a nearby restaurant in Parkland.

When police found the man there, he wore a blood-soaked shirt and was talking nonsense, the sheriff's office said.

He wrestled with a deputy before his arrest.

The Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office says Fite was strangled.

The man arrested had been arrested previously for stealing a woman's gas can and dousing her with gasoline as she lit a cigarette. He was sent to Western State Hospital for a competency evaluation and was found competent to stand trial.

A psychologist said he wasn't a danger to himself or others.