OMAK, Wash. - The suspect in a murder case out of Okanogan County told police he had stabbed the victim with a sword, hit him with a sledge hammer, then set the house on fire.
Jared Fudge, 27, faces murder and arson charges following the incident. Police initially had to search for him after responding to the victim’s home, 248 Omak River Road, for a fire and realizing there was a body inside the house.
The description from witnesses of the person who had set the house ablaze matched that of Fudge, according to court documents, who was wearing boots and a cowboy hat at the time of the incident.
Detectives also found the victim had known Fudge previously and taken out a restraining order against him in 2016 that expired this past July. According to court documents, Fudge had moved his trailer onto the victim’s property for a time, before the victim asked him to move. Detectives reported at the time of the restraining order, the relationship between the two had grown increasingly confrontational. At one point Fudge choked his own dog to death when he got angry, according to court documents.
Investigators tracked Fudge to a tent at Eastside Park, according to documents, where they found weapons and noticed “black burned stuff on his clothing.”
After the suspect was taken into custody, detectives said he admitted to killing the victim and burning down his house because he was a demon, according to police documents.
Fudge told investigators he had stabbed the victim with a sword (machete) before lighting a fire in front of a wood stove and letting it go, according to court documents.
Detectives said Fudge told them he went back upstairs and beat the victim with a sledge hammer, before going back to the victim’s truck and drinking a beer. Fudge said he had left the truck at the edge of the property because it was "too full of demons," according to court documents, and he had walked back to his camp, washed his clothes, and hung them out to dry by the river.
According to court documents, detectives found the clothes as Fudge had described them, along with weapons that appeared to match the inflicted injuries on the victim.
Fudge faces first degree murder and arson charges, as well as a charge for burglary in the first degree and a charge for theft of a motor vehicle. He made his first appearance in court on Monday.
Editor's note: The medical examiner has not yet publicly identified the victim, so the victim was not identified in this story.
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