LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A convicted killer who was out on parole is accused of shooting and critically wounding a northern Arkansas mayor who had written a letter in support of his release from prison.
Everton Mayor Bill Gerdes was in critical condition at a hospital in Springfield, Mo., after he was shot in the back and left hand Wednesday night.
Authorities arrested Justin Bates around midnight Wednesday after an hourslong standoff outside his father's home in Everton. Boone County Sheriff Danny Hickman said Bates, 35, faces a count of attempted capital murder and a firearms charge.
He's being held at the county jail on $1 million bond. He does not have an attorney yet, Hickman said.
Nearly five years ago, when Bates became eligible for parole in a second-degree murder case, Gerdes wrote to authorities on Bates' behalf.
"Having visited him during his incarceration from time to time I have noticed his progress and a change of atitude, espepecially the last 2 years," Gerdes wrote in an August 2006 letter obtained by The Associated Press. "I think him and his outlook on life have changed a lot for the better."
Bates was released on parole in September 2010 and had not encountered any problems until the alleged shooting, community correction spokeswoman Rhonda Sharp said. He and the mayor "had a good relationship," Hickman said.
Authorities say they do not let know what led to the Gerdes' shooting. Hickman said Bates was drunk when authorities took him into custody. No one administered a breathalyzer test.
"We're still investigating the motive," Hickman said.