Curtis Bagley, 38, had been out of prison for six days when he wedged himself behind a barrier outside a downtown Phoenix newspaper office.
“I see dead people, and they are going to kill me!” Bagley screamed, reported The Arizona Republic, where the incident took place at 10:30 p.m. March 23. Five Phoenix Police Department officers took Bagley into custody and took him to an urgent psychiatric care facility, spokesman Sgt. Jonathan Howard told the publication.
About 1 a.m. Saturday, eight days later, police say they found Bagley covered in blood on the front lawn of a home in central Phoenix with a bloody kitchen knife on the grass nearby, reported KSAZ. Inside, police found Joshua Fitzpatrick, 36, dying of stab wounds. Officers said Bagley laughed and sang a country song as they arrested him.
He had earlier poured gasoline on the outer security door of a different home and set it on fire, police told KNXV, and then broke into the house through the back door. The 24-year-old woman inside that home, who had just returned from work, called a neighbor for help.
“I just got out of bed and ran straight to her apartment,” neighbor Elias Dadboub told KNXV. “When I got there the front door was on fire and she was putting it out. My cousin came out with a metal pipe to go at him and he proceeded to jump the wall.”
Bagley apparently then moved on to Fitzpatrick’s home and confronted him in his bedroom as his wife hid beneath their bed, police told The Arizona Republic. Bagley demanded that Fitzpatrick reveal where his wife, whom Bagley had apparently seen in the neighborhood, was hiding before stabbing him, police said.
Court records show Bagley has a history of mental illness and has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, the publication reported. He has a long criminal history in Arizona and North Carolina, and had most recently been released from prison March 17 on a sentence for absconding from supervision on probation or parole.
He’s being held in Maricopa County Jail on $1 million bail on suspicion of murder, one count of attempted murder, two counts of aggravated assault, four counts of endangerment, one count of arson of an occupied structure and two felony counts of burglary, reported The Arizona Republic.
Neighbors told AzFamily.com that Fitzpatrick was an engineer who could often be found working on his yellow scooter in his driveway. His grief-stricken wife does not plan to return to their duplex, where they had lived for about a year, neighbors said. A GoFundMe page has been created by neighbors to assist the family with expenses. It had raised $16,000, with an original goal of $10,000, by Wednesday.