A Springdale man pleaded not guilty Friday to shooting his mother in the back of the head and killing her.
Scott Rocha, 36, was initially scheduled to enter a plea last Friday, but that court date was pushed back by a week. Following his not guilty plea in front of a magistrate judge in Washington County, Rocha’s trial was set for June 20, according to the Washington County Prosecutor’s Office.
Rocha is being held without bond at the Washington County Detention Center, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
Not guilty pleas are common at arraignments to allow the case to move forward through the legal system.
Rocha was arrested March 7 on suspicion of capital murder and tampering with evidence, Springdale police said.
According to court documents, 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.
A friend of Rocha’s, James Allen of California, called police after talking to Rocha on the phone late on the night of March 6, according to a court document.
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. on March 7, 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 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.
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.