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story.lead_photo.caption James Bates

9:27 a.m. update

Bond was set at $350,000 for James Andrew Bates.

Bates was in court Wednedsday morning for a bond hearing.

Circuit Judge Brad Karren set the bond at $350,000 and ordered Bates to surrender his passport if he had one.

Original Story

Water and phone records played a part in an investigation that led Bentonville police to arrest a man on a murder charge.

Victor Parris Collins

James Andrew Bates, 31, of 3502 S.W. Elm Manor Ave. was arrested Monday in connection with first-degree murder, according to jail records. Bates was being held Tuesday in the Benton County Jail with no bond set.

Collins Obituary

Victor Parris Collins, 47, was buried Dec. 10 in Canton, Ga., where he once worked for the police department, according to his obituary. Collins loved golf and University of Georgia football. He left behind a wife, five children, three siblings and his parents.

Source: Sosebee Funeral Home

Victor Parris Collins, 47, of Centerton was found dead in a hot tub at Bates' home when police arrived Nov. 22, according to a police news release. Collins died of strangulation with drowning as a secondary cause, according to a probable cause affidavit for Bates' arrest.

Police and medics arrived together 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 Arkansas State Crime Lab and the case was ruled a homicide Nov. 24, according to the affidavit.

Police found a broken prescription eyeglasses belonging to Collins, his wedding ring, a broken shot glass and several jet head covers when they drained the hot tub Nov. 25 while searching Bates' home, according to the affidavit.

Police photographed bruises and scratches on Bates' shoulder, back and belly at the office of his Rogers lawyer Nov. 30, according to the affidavit.

Bates was questioned several times by police.

Bates told police three men -- Collins, Owen McDonald and Sean Henry -- came to his house Nov. 21 to watch the Arkansas Razorbacks' football game against Mississippi State.

Henry left at 11 p.m., and the remaining three men moved to an outdoor hot tub where they drank beer and vodka, according to a police affidavit.

Bates initially told police he went to bed at 1 a.m. and called 911 at 9:30 a.m. when he found Collins' body, according to the affidavit. McDonald and Collins were in the tub when he left, Bates said, according to the affidavit.

McDonald told police he left at 12:30 a.m. to walk to his home a couple miles away but a person picked him up and gave him a ride, according to the affidavit. Dispatch records from that night showed a 911 call from a nurse who spotted a man near Southwest Cabernet and Southwest Elm Manor and because of the cold went back to pick him up.

A neighbor said he saw Bates arrive home with alcohol Nov. 21 and heard music until about 1 a.m. Sunday, according to the affidavit.

Detectives met with Bentonville Water Utilities officials Dec. 9 and reviewed water use at the house, according to the affidavit. A smart meter measures hourly use through the Bentonville system.

While four men didn't use more than 10 gallons of water an hour Nov. 21, there was 140 gallons of water used at the house between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. Nov. 22, according to the affidavit. Police noted the water use could have included spraying down the patio, according to the affidavit.

Bates' lawyer provided police with screen shots of Bates' text messages and phone calls that showed a pair of canceled calls just before 1 a.m., a series of short or canceled calls at 4 a.m. and a call to McDonald prior to a 9:35 a.m. 911 call. The calls were mistakes, his lawyer told police. Bates told police he texted a female friend, then went to bed and got up at 4 a.m. to turn off lights in the house, according to the affidavit. Bates also told police his phone was locked by a passcode or fingerprint identification, according to the affidavit.

Police called for Bates' arrest noting Collins and Bates had injuries consistent with a struggle, according to the affidavit, and Bates' phone and water records indicate he wasn't asleep at 1 a.m., it states.

NW News on 02/24/2016

Print Headline: Bentonville police arrest man after November murder

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