Comment Admissible in Case of Man Charged with Shooting Former Jonesboro Judge

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Arkansas Court of Appeals says an Arkansas man's remark that he "must be a bad shot" if his victim didn't die was legitimately used to help convict the Arkansan of attempted capital murder.  The remark was made by Allen C. Evans to a detective in a Florida hospital's emergency room following the shooting of Jonesboro attorney Bill Webster, a former municipal court judge in the city.

Yesterday, the appeals judges rejected Evans' argument that the comment he made about Webster's shooting should not have been allowed in court, and upheld Evans' conviction.

Webster was shot December 27, 2004, outside his Jonesboro office and Evans was arrested in the shooting two days later in Florida.  Shortly after his arrest, Evans collapsed due to high blood sugar and was taken to an emergency room.

At the hospital, Hernando County, Florida, Sheriff's Office Detective Tony Scarpati introduced himself to Evans and told him, everybody would be okay.  Evans responded, "That attorney did not die?  I must be a bad shot."

A Craighead County court ruled that Evans' remarks then and later at the hospital to Scarpati were admissible, and a jury found him guilty of criminal attempt to commit capital murder.  The appeals court ruled that the comment about being a "bad shot" was admissible because it was a spontaneous statement and not the result of questioning.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)