UPDATE: Death Details on Centerton Man's Murder

BENTONVILLE, Ark.-- - The details of Victor Collins death have been revealed.

According to the affidavit, Chief Medical Examiner with the Arkansas State Crime Lab ruled Collins death a homicide by strangulation with a contributing cause drowning.

In the affidavit, Bates said that on November 21, 2015 he, the victim and two other friends, Owen McDonald and Sean Henry, had been drinking beer and taken several shots of vodka while watching a football game.

After the football game, Henry left Bates' home and the the three remaining at the house decided to get into the hot tub and continue drinking. 

Bates states that he and his friends continued drinking until 1 a.m. when he decided to go to bed for the night. He claims that both the victim and McDonald were still in the hot tub. 

The next morning, before calling 9-1-1, Bates says he opened his back door and saw Collins floating face down in the hot tub. 

Detective Andy Oliver, Tom Boyle and Captain Justin Thompson arrived at the scene and, after getting consent from Bates to search his home, noticed the hot tub water was tinted a reddish color and appeared to contain bodily fluids and blood. 

Collins, the victim, was described by detectives as having a black eye, a cut on his eyelid, swollen and bruised lips and blood coming from his mouth and nose. Detectives also noticed that the rim of the hot tub and patio had been sprayed down with water. 

Splatters of blood were found on the east-side of the hot tub and detectives also found a considerable amount of blood splatter on east side of the brown vinyl hot tub cover. The blood splatter was later found out to belong to Collins by the Arkansas State Crime Lab. 

A broken Skyy Vodka bottle was also found on the scene. Investigators also found a broken pair of prescription glasses belonging to Collins, his wedding ring and several jet head covers at the bottom of the hot tub. 

After these observations, the detectives determined that the scene was suggestive of a struggle and clean-up.

According to the affidavit, Bates had made several phone calls to his mother, father and McDonald during the time that he said he was asleep. The calls were made between 12:53 a.m. and 4:22 a.m on November 22, 2015.

During the interview process, Bates allowed detectives to photograph his hands. Detectives noticed he had small cuts and scratches on his hands in which Bates claims they were from his cat or his Crossfit workouts.

The affidavit also gives insight into what time and how McDonald got home.

McDonald, who was in the hot tub with the suspect and victim that night, left Bates' house and began to walk to his home, which was less than two miles away. His wife confirmed he returned home at 12:30 a.m. Detectives determined that McDonald got a ride home from a concerned neighbor. McDonald did not have any noticeable injuries.

Further into the investigation, detectives met with the City of Bentonville Utilities Department and determined that water usage from Bates' house, which was 140 gallons between the hours of 1 a.m. and 3 a.m., was consistent with the spraying down of the back patio area. 

Bates is currently booked at the Benton County jail where he will wait until his bond hearing. 


Bentonville Police have arrested a suspect in the November 2015 death of a Centerton man.

James A. Bates, 31, was arrested for First-Degree Murder on Monday, Feb. 22 near his home by police after a judge signed the warrant for his arrest. 

Last November, police responded to the home of Bates were they found a deceased adult in the hot tub. The adult was later identified as Victor Parris Collins, 47, of Centerton. 

Upon speaking with police, Bates said that he invited friends over to his house, including Collins, to watch a sports event. He said he later went to sleep and woke up the next morning to find Collins unresponsive in the hot tub.

Collins' body was later sent to the Medical Examiner's Office where the cause of death was ruled as a homicide.

Bates is currently booked at the Benton County jail where he will wait until his bond hearing. 


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