Court documents: Alleged Deer Park killer’s DNA was on knife handle at crime scene

A judge kept the bond of a 37-year-old man accused of randomly attacking people in Spokane and killing an 83-year-old Deer Park man at his home last month at over $1.6 million Wednesday.

Gary B. Ault, dressed in a light green Spokane County Jail inmate jumpsuit, made his first court appearance Wednesday afternoon in Spokane County District Court for the murder and burglary charges.

Judge Jennifer Fassbender reviewed the probable cause finding with Ault, who identified himself and answered “yes” to Fassbender’s questions in a virtual court hearing.

Ault is charged with first-degree murder and first-degree burglary in the killing of Richard Purdy, who was found dead Dec. 26 at his home, 29410 N. Dalton Road, by his longtime girlfriend.

An autopsy conducted by the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled that Purdy sustained about 28 stab wounds to the front and back of his torso, and multiple stab wounds and blunt-force trauma to his head and face, according to a probable cause affidavit filed Tuesday in District Court. Purdy also sustained a brain hemorrhage.

The stab wounds and blunt-force trauma killed Purdy, the medical examiner’s office said in court documents.

Purdy’s girlfriend and family members said they knew of no friends of Purdy named “Gary,” and that Purdy was a private person who did not invite strangers into his home, according to documents.

Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Detective Scott Bonney in the affidavit noted evidence of forced entry into Purdy’s home, including a large broken window near the front door.

Bonney said the home was ransacked. Multiple firearms were removed from Purdy’s open gun safe and a separate rifle cabinet, and left in a hallway near Purdy’s office and in his pickup truck.

Purdy’s friends and families told investigators Purdy had many firearms stored inside the gun safe and cabinet, and some of those firearms are still missing.

Bonney said in the affidavit a folding pocketknife with a stained-yellow handle was discarded behind a TV stand in Purdy’s living room. The knife’s blade was partially open and appeared to have been accidentally or hurriedly discarded or dropped during an altercation.

A large fixed-blade knife protruded from the snow outside the home, Bonney wrote. Blood was on the blade of the knife, and the size and shape of the knife was consistent with the size and shape of Purdy’s stab wounds. Bonney wrote he is confident the fixed-blade knife was used to kill Purdy.

The Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory “presumptively determined” Ault’s DNA was on the knife’s handle.

Spokane police said Ault has 14 felony convictions, including burglary, theft and possession of stolen property.

Spokane police arrested Ault on Dec. 27 for the alleged Spokane attacks, including hitting a man with a hammer at a north Spokane Target. Spokane police investigators said Ault hid a pistol, ammunition and a pair of binoculars in the snow outside a north Spokane hotel. Bonney wrote he believed the pistol may have been stolen from Purdy’s home.

Ault remained in jail Wednesday night on a $1.675 million bond for the murder, burglary, assault and unlawful possession of a firearm charges.

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