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.