BENTONVILLE — A Bentonville man pleaded not guilty Monday to a charge he killed a friend whose body was found in a hot tub.
James Andrew Bates is charged with first-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence. He pleaded not guilty to the charges during his arraignment before Circuit Judge Robing Green.
Bates was arrested Feb. 22.
Bates is accused of killing Victor Collins on Nov. 22. Bates also is accused of tampering with evidence by using a garden hose to wash away blood from his hot tub and patio area, according to court documents.
Bates is free on a $350,000 bond.
Collins, 47, of Centerton was found dead in a hot tub at Bates' home, according to court documents. Collins died from strangulation with drowning as a secondary cause, according to court documents.
Police and medics arrived and found Collins, who appeared to have a black eye, dead in the hot tub, according to the affidavit. The rim of the hot tub and concrete patio appeared to have been recently sprayed down, according to the affidavit.
Collins' body was taken to the state Crime Lab. The case was ruled a homicide Nov. 24, according to the affidavit.