Self-Defense Claimed in Weekend Murder - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro
Melissa Simas Reports

Self-Defense Claimed in Weekend Murder

Tommy Harris tells K8's Melissa Simas that he acted in self-defense. (KAIT/L.Gunter) Tommy Harris tells K8's Melissa Simas that he acted in self-defense. (KAIT/L.Gunter)
A black and white picture of Tommy Harris. (KAIT GFX/Jonesboro PD) A black and white picture of Tommy Harris. (KAIT GFX/Jonesboro PD)
The Harris home at 605 East Johnson, where Tommy Harris allegedly killed Thomas Marc Hodges. (KAIT/D.Westerhold) The Harris home at 605 East Johnson, where Tommy Harris allegedly killed Thomas Marc Hodges. (KAIT/D.Westerhold)

July 14, 2003 - Posted at: 4:29 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, Ark. -- A Jonesboro man accused in the beating death of a house visitor claimed self-defense prior to entering court for a probable-cause hearing.

"It was self-defense," said 34-year-old Tommy Harris while being ushered into the courtroom with his attorney, Dax Greer.

Harris is accused of killing his roommate, 46-year-old Thomas Marc Hodges with a baseball bat late Saturday night. Harris was taken into custody by police early Sunday. At the time of the arrest, according to police, Harris told them that he didn't mean to kill Hodges.

Judge Ray Spruel determined there was probable cause to transfer this case to Circuit Court, and set bond of $150,000.

According to police, both men got into an altercation, and Harris was pushed by the victim. Harris got up, went to the bedroom and retrieved a baseball bat, and came back into the living room area and struck Hodges with that bat to the head.

The fight occurred, according to investigators, because Harris and his girlfriend felt the victim had overstayed his welcome at the residence.

The investigation also reveals that the two men had been drinking mouthwash, which contains alcohol, that evening. At the time of his arrest, Harris told officials he performed CPR on Hodges and didn't mean to kill him.

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