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A Hot Springs man arrested last year for allegedly shooting at another man outside his neighbor's house was found not guilty Monday due to a mental disease or defect at the time of the shooting.

Bobby Eugene Barton, 41, who has remained in custody since his arrest Dec. 3, 2017, was acquitted of the felony charge of committing a terroristic act, punishable by up to 20 years in prison, after an Act 3 hearing in Garland County Circuit Court to determine his fitness to proceed with trial.

Garland County Public Defender Tim Beckham, who represented Barton, had filed a motion for a mental evaluation of his client on April 4, which was granted by Judge John Homer Wright and completed and received by the court on July 2.

"He was found fit to proceed but the mental evaluation determined he was not able to form the mental state for the charge," Beckham said Tuesday. "So he was found to not be criminally responsible and was acquitted of the charge."

Beckham noted Barton will be committed to the Arkansas State Hospital for treatment.

According to the probable cause affidavit, on Dec. 3, 2017, shortly before 5 p.m., Garland County sheriff's Deputy Joey Pate was dispatched to the 1500 block of Cedar Creek Road regarding a man at 536 Cedar Creek Road shooting at another person.

When he arrived, he spoke to the alleged victim, who stated that his brother, who lived at a residence next door to 536 Cedar Creek, was in the process of moving out and he had come there to pick up some of his brother's property and spray the house for bugs.

He stated Barton lived next door and had come out of his house after he pulled up to his brother's house. He said Barton yelled at him to "get out or I will start shooting." He noted Barton was holding a long rifle and then he fired into the air several times.

The victim got back into his car and began to back out of the driveway when Barton pointed the gun toward him and began shooting, with one bullet striking the front bumper on the driver's side, two bullets striking the hood and one bullet going through the windshield in front of him.

The victim said he sped away and drove to the 1500 block of Cedar Creek where he called 911. Pate and Sgt. David Martineau went to Barton's residence and were met by him outside near the road.

Barton reportedly told them he didn't recognize the victim's vehicle and admitted yelling and shooting at the vehicle as it was driving away. He then told them where to find his gun, a .22-caliber rifle, on the sofa inside the house and gave them permission to go inside and retrieve it.

Barton was taken into custody and initially charged with aggravated assault, punishable by up to six years in prison. The charge was later upgraded to committing a terrorist act and Barton pleaded not guilty to the charge on Jan. 29.

Local on 09/12/2018

Print Headline: Man acquitted of shooting; found not mentally culpable at time

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