A Springdale man accused of shooting his mother in the back of the head and killing her had his initial court appearance on Monday (March 10) at the Washington County Detention Center.
At the routine hearing, a magistrate judge set Scott Rocha’s arraignment date on April 11. Rocha is being held without bond at the detention center.
Rocha killed his mother following an all-day drinking binge and then went to get more beer after being unable to load her into a car, according to court documents.
Rocha was taken into custody by Springdale police early Friday morning (March 7).
A friend of Scott Rocha’s, James Allen of California, called police after talking to Rocha on the phone late Thursday night, according to a court document released on Sunday (March 9).
According to the document, Allen said Scott told him over the phone that he wanted to “end it” and shoot himself.
Allen called Springdale police and told them he believed Rocha was suicidal and heavily intoxicated, the document states.
The document states that when responding officers arrived around 1 a.m., Rocha told police the shooting of his mother was an accident and said, “Mom and I got into an argument.”
Police discovered Rocha’s mother, Frances Rocha, 65, dead and inside the garage, according to the court document.
Scott told the officers that earlier in the night he threw the gun he shot his mother with over the White River bridge. Police later found a separate gun, a revolver, on a couch, along with an unknown number of bullets next to the revolver, the document states.
Police also said they found two cans of Keystone beer and a half empty bottle of whiskey in a back bedroom. Rocha told police he had been drinking all day, and when his mother came home, she expressed disappointment in him, the document states.
Investigators said Rocha told them he and his mother argued throughout the night, and hours later he waved a gun around while the two were inside the house and “accidentally” shot her in the back of the head.
Detectives also said Scott told them that he dragged her body to the garage and attempted to place her in a car and drive her to the nearest hospital.
However, he said he was physically unable to put her in the car and shortly thereafter decided to walk to Fiesta Liquors to get more beer, according to the document.
Rocha later told detectives that when he came back to the house, he was calling his friends on the phone and telling them he wanted to kill himself, but he only recalled speaking with his friend from California, who made the suicide alert call to police, the document states.
After hours of interviews, Rocha admitted to detectives that his intent was kill his mother and then himself, according to the document.
The 36-year old also said that he tried to dispose of his mother’s body, but couldn’t, the document states.
The unemployed man changed clothes during the night and at some point covered his mother with a towel and left her to die, according to investigators.
Soon after arriving at 3547 Loblolly Lane just after midnight on Friday (March 7), officers arrested Rocha, who threatened suicide and told officers he accidentally killed his mother. Rocha is being held on suspicion of capital murder and tampering with evidence, according to Springdale police.
Responding officers noticed large amounts of blood inside the home, after which Rocha stepped out of a bedroom and confronted police, according to the Springdale Police Department. Police said the suspect admitted to killing his mother accidentally. Frances Rocha, 65, was then found dead from a gunshot wound, police said.
Scott and Frances Rocha lived together at the home, police said. An investigation revealed the shooting was intentional, not accidental, said Lt. Derek Hudson, police department spokesman.
Rocha was booked into the Washington County Detention Center at 12:26 a.m. on Saturday (March 8).
5NEWS spoke with neighbors on Friday. They said this shooting is shocking to the neighborhood.
“It’s usually quiet. It’s a good old neighborhood,” said Michael Hogan.
Chris Johns said he and his girlfriend just moved to the neighborhood. They live across the street from the Rocha household.
“Around midnight, we heard some kind of noise, and we thought it might be our neighbors shutting a car door,” Johns said. “So we have security cameras and we turned them on and checked to see if anything was at our door or in our driveway.”
Johns said, “We just moved here Jan. 1, and it is supposed to be quiet. But it’s unsettling to know something like this could happen in your neighborhood.”