Police: Suspect used screwdriver, hammer to kill Parkland man

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.