TACOMA, WA - Today, Douglas Reid Murray, 43, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the 2016 death of Thomas James Fite, a homeless man who lived in Parkland. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Deputy Prosecutor Sven Nelson handled the case. “This is an appropriate sentence, and it brings justice and closure to the family,” Nelson said.
On September 15, 2016, Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to reports of a dead body in South Tacoma.
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 dried dirt and blood. There was blood on his feet, arms, and clothing. Debris was strewn about the area, and it appeared a fight 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.
Deputies found Murray at a nearby Jack-in-the-Box. He had blood on his face and clothing, and deputies found the victim’s Washington State ID in Murray’s possession.
“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.”
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.
For more information, please contact James Lynch at (253) 798-6265, [email protected].