Two men charged in Anna church beating case - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Two men charged in Anna church beating case

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Willis E. Bates (Photo source Union County Sheriff's Dept.) Willis E. Bates (Photo source Union County Sheriff's Dept.)
Jared Lee Garver (Photo source Union County Sheriff's Dept.) Jared Lee Garver (Photo source Union County Sheriff's Dept.)
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By Arnold Wyrick & Heartland News - bio | email

UNION COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - Two men face charges in connection with the beating of two women at an Anna church.After a week of searching and following up on numerous leads of 45-year-old Willis E. Bates whereabouts, police finally caught up with him in a Marion motel room on Monday.  The keen eye and quick thinking of the night manager at Motel Marion led to Bates capture.

Shortly before 10 pm Sunday Bates and a female companion checked into room #42.  The night manager called police and they quickly surrounded the motel.  Then right after the noon hour on Monday they moved in and arrested Bates.

"There was three of them.  They came through this door behind me," said Mark Allen of Marion.  "Then some other officers fired a grenade through the windows on the other side. And it was all over pretty quick."

After more than two hours of questioning police finally announced they had the man who they say beat two women in Anna this past Monday.  That's when police say Bates entered into the Anna First Baptist Church and severely beat 76-year-old Leona Mount and 69-year-old Mary Shepard.

"In connection to the beating attack there at the First Baptist Church on September 28th Willis Bates is charged with four counts of attempted murder, one count of burglary and two counts of felony theft," said Union County State's Attorney Tyler Edmonds.

Shackled and handcuffed wearing an orange jail uniform, police surrounded Bates as they escorted him to a waiting Union County Sheriff's patrol car to take him to the Tri-County Detention Center on Monday night.

"I feel better," said Ruth Anne Keistler of Anna.  "For the past three days I've been worried something might happen here again.  I've known Leona and her mother my entire life.  And both ladies are just the nicest people.  And we thank the Lord this has come to past.

"Tonight I'm going to sleep.  And I hope this puts the fears and worries to rest here in this community," Anna Chief of Police Dale Foster said.

Willis E. Bates and Jared Lee Garver were in court for arraignment Tuesday morning.

Bates, 45, faces seven felony charges including four counts of attempted murder, one count of burglary, and two counts of theft.

Garver, 23, faces four felony charges including unlawful possession of weapons by felons, obstruction of justice, concealing a fugitive, and two counts fo obstructing justice.

Garver's bond has been set a $10,000 and Bates's bond is $1,000,000.

Garver is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on October 22 and Bates is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on October 27.

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