Today the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office charged Douglas Reid Murray, 42, with second degree murder for the death of Thomas James Fite in Parkland.
“Increasingly we are seeing serious crimes among the growing homeless population,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “There needs to be both accountability and services to address this issue.”
On September 15, 2016 at 9:42 a.m., Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to 10656 Pacific Ave South regarding reports of a dead body.
Deputies found the victim lying on the ground near a green power box without any shoes or socks. The victim’s face was covered in what appeared to be dried dirt and blood. There was also blood on his feet, arms, and clothing. There was blood spatter on the power box near the body and blood on the ground near the victim’s body. Debris was strewn about the area, and it appeared that a significant altercation had occurred.
Deputies spoke with two witnesses who reported seeing the victim, who was transient, with another transient man the night before. Detectives later confirmed with witnesses that Murray was the same man witnesses had seen drinking beer with the victim the night before.
Witnesses reported seeing Murray wandering the area earlier in the morning, walking toward the Jack in the Box.
Deputies went into the Jack in the Box and contacted Murray. The deputies saw blood on his face, shirt, shoes, hat, and sweatshirt. Murray was holding a deck of cards, which he dropped as he resisted attempts by a sheriff’s deputy to gain compliance. When the cards were picked up, a sheriff’s deputy found a Washington ID card in the name of the victim.
Murray gave the deputies a false name, but was identified by one of the deputies who had previous contact with him. Murray’s identity was verified via Pierce County Jail booking photos.
According to detectives, the victim died from blunt force trauma and strangulation. He suffered a broken arm, a broken finger, a fractured sternum, and broken ribs.
Bail was set in the amount of $1,000,000.00.
Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.