Police: Suspect used screwdriver, hammer to kill Parkland man

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TACOMA — A Parkland man is slated to be arraigned on first-degree murder charges Wednesday for allegedly stabbing and bludgeoning a man to death with a screwdriver and a hammer.

On Saturday, Pierce County sheriff’s deputies were called to an apartment in the 800 block of 97th Street South with reports of a tenant, 51-year-old James Patrick Payne, being found dead. Once on scene, deputies were led to a nearby shed where they found an obviously dead Payne lying face down, deputies said.

Payne had cuts and bruises all over his body, documents show. A claw hammer and screw driver were found a short distance away.

Deputies gathered reports and learned the suspect, Richard Blair, and another man rented the shed. The other man allegedly told police that Blair woke him up on Saturday and said he killed “Jimmy” and needed help burying the body. The man called police.

The Pierce County Medical Examiner determined the victim died from more than 50 blows from a hammer, and cuts to his wrists and neck, likely from the screwdriver.

Authorities found and arrested Blair at a nearby homeless camp a short distance from the shed. According to deputies, Blair told investigators that he was sleeping near the Payne when Payne began to bludgeon him with a hammer. Blair claimed he choked the victim to death in self-defense.

Blair was arrested and being held in Pierce County Jail on suspicion of first-degree murder.

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4 comments

  • Joe

    Be aware homeless camps contain many criminal minds, murderers on the Lamb living off the grid without ID’s kinda like undocumented border crossing individuals with criminal intent, but the rats love open borders it bring more dependence on their welfare system that buys votes. You getting killed, raped, robbed is a price your dear leader is willing to pay upon your behalf. His family has gates and guards for life.

    • Kayla Dinkins

      just so everyone is aware since these reporters are obviously not smart enough to check their facts. James Patrick Payne was renting a detached garage from someone and let Richard Blair stay with him for a few nights so he didn’t have to stay on the streets in the cold. James did not attack Richard if he had Richard wouldn’t be being charged with first degree murder. Richard murdered my uncle in cold blood and shame on you for not contacting his family before posting this joke of an article.

  • Don

    I have twenty or thirty hammers and I am sure well over a hundred screwdrivers between home, shop, and several vehicles, many shapes and sizes, all capable of killing in the wrong hands. I suppose I will soon have to register them all and most likely pay a license fee to keep these “self defense tools”. Will there be a concealed carry card if I choose to put a screwdriver in my pocket, and perhaps a nice 2 pound compact semi-auto hammer in a concealed holster?