Ark. man charged in mayor shooting found unfit

June 15, 2012 - 8:55 AM

HARRISON, Ark. (AP) — A man charged in the shooting of an Arkansas mayor has been found mentally unfit to stand trial.

Circuit Judge Gordon Webb signed an order this week that found 36-year-old Justin Bates unfit to proceed with trial. Bates was charged in the June 2011 shooting of Everton Mayor Bill Gerdes (JUR'-dihs). The mayor survived the shooting.

The Harrison Daily Times reports (http://is.gd/GZUNDD ) that Bates was committed to the state Department of Human Services for detention, care and treatment. The judge's order says DHS must report back in 10 months to determine if Bates is fit to stand trial or if he presents a danger to himself or others.

Bates was convicted of second-degree murder in 2000 and was released from prison after Gerdes wrote a letter on his behalf.

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Information from: Harrison Daily Times, http://www.harrisondaily.com