BOONEVILLE - New details are emerging about the murder of a Wal-Mart associate who was gunned down in a Paris parking lot Friday. A judge set his bond at one million dollars at the Logan County Courthouse in Booneville Monday morning. 5NEWS investigates why authorities believe Robert Lee James pulled the trigger.
Police say the 60-year-old was estranged from his wife and believe the murderous act he's accused of may have been motivated by jealousy. With eyewitness testimony and Wal-Mart surveillance video, prosecutors say they have a strong case against the man they allege killed his wife's boyfriend.
Witnesses told police that Wal-Mart associate Tony Rice had just clocked out and walked his girlfriend and co-worker Heather James to her car. A report by Arkansas State Police states that James' husband Robert came up and began firing a handgun.
"Everybody came running up to us, saying, there's somebody just got shot, don't go out," Paris resident Angela Knight told 5NEWS Friday evening. "And I saw the terrible stuff, when I saw blood on some of the other workers."
Those on the scene told police that 41-year-old Tony Rice attempted to run away but fell to the ground. They say Robert James fired more shots before he fled the scene.
The report reveals the suspect later told police he and his wife had been separated for a month and that she had been dating the victim. He reportedly told them he had gone to the store to buy bread when he saw the couple walking together.
James allegedly admitted to killing Rice but said he couldn't remember everything that happened.
"Right now he's charged with first degree murder and that'll be the charge we're pursuing," prosecutor Tom Tatum told 5NEWS. "The range on that is 10 to 40 years or life in prison."
James told investigators that he drove to his house after the shooting and told his son what he had done. He then said he sat on the porch swing and waited for police to arrive.
Police recovered five shell casings from the shooting scene.
The defense has requested a mental evaluation of their client. The preliminary hearing will not happen until the suspect has undergone the test. A trial date has been set for December. But prosecutor Tom Tatum believes it will likely be next year before the trial takes place.