Son with drug-abuse past held in double slaying
Seattle Times South Bureau
Eleven years ago, Joshua Forman Hoge was considered "a serious and clear danger to society" if his drug addiction was not treated.
Yesterday, with his mother and half-brother dead, Hoge appeared in King County Superior Court to listen to Judge Pro Tem Deborah Hanula order him held on $2 million bail. The judge said there was "probable cause" to think he was involved in their slaying.
Police found Pamela Kissinger, a 49-year-old travel agent, and her 19-year-old son, James "Zach" Kissinger, dead in their home in the Candlewood subdivision in the Renton area Wednesday night. Pamela's boyfriend, Walter Williams, 52, was found in front of the house, bleeding from a head wound.
Williams told police he came home about 6:15 p.m. and was walking through the hallway when someone struck him with an ax. In the struggle that followed, King County sheriff's spokesman John Urquhart said, Williams was able to grab the ax and a cell phone and run into the street to summon help from a neighbor. Williams was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center, were he remains in satisfactory condition.
According to the King County medical examiner, both mother and son died of stab wounds.
Urquhart said in addition to the ax found in the street outside the charcoal-gray home in the 15400 block of Southeast 176th Place, police found a knife inside the home.
Hoge, he said, fled on foot, running through the neighborhoods in bloody clothes and hiding in blackberry bushes near an apartment complex less than a mile away. A police dog found him. After being treated for dog bites, Hoge was arrested and taken to King County Jail.
Hoge's alleged involvement in the slayings came as no surprise to Jim Kissinger, Zach's father and Hoge's former stepfather.
He said he had tried to get mental-health care for Hoge and thought he needed to be "locked up so he couldn't hurt anyone," but he said he was told that wouldn't be possible.
King County Juvenile Court documents from 1988 show that after Hoge pleaded guilty to burglarizing three Bellevue businesses, he was ordered into drug and alcohol treatment at Ryther Child Center's Exodus program for two months.
The court documents indicate that if he was released without treatment, he would "pose a serious and clear danger to society beyond a reasonable doubt."
The rest of his 180-day sentence for the burglaries was spent in detention with the Division of Juvenile Rehabilitation.
But court records show, Hoge, now 28, had another run-in with the law in 1998. He was convicted of assaulting his younger brother, Justin Hoge, 25, choking him and holding him in a bathtub at gunpoint. He was sent to Western State Hospital for evaluation. After his discharge, he drifted between his father's home in Seaside, Ore., and his mother's home in Renton.
Frank Hoge attributes much of his son's illness to drug use, which began at age 14.
"He did everything: acid, coke, smack, pills, pot - tons of pot," he said. At 15, he said his son was diagnosed with schizophrenia but the drug use continued.
"I tried every approach there was," he said. "Nothing worked."
He said his son was supposed to take medication for his mental illness but didn't know if he did. He said he thought his son lived on the streets most of the time.
Justin Hoge, who lives in Oregon with his father, said his oldest brother was frequently violent.
He recalled his half-brother, Zach, more fondly.
"He had a really good job with Nintendo. He was a hard worker, really nice," he said.
Friends of Zach Kissinger said he had attended Maple Valley High School, an alternative school. He was a kick boxer and dreamed of kick boxing professionally. But they said the real love of his life was his dog, Kaiser, a Siberian husky.
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