The man suspected in the killing of a beloved Northern California priest was arraigned Monday, just hours after parishioners mourned the cleric's passing at a funeral Mass.
Gary Lee Bullock, 43, was charged with first-degree murder, auto theft and attempted arson in a Eureka courthouse late Monday afternoon, according to the Humboldt County district attorney's office.
Bullock also faces special allegations of burglary and intentional infliction of torture in the murder of the Rev. Eric Freed, who was found dead in a Eureka church rectory New Year's Day.
Bullock pleaded not guilty to all counts and remained in custody in lieu of $1.2-million bail, prosecutors said.
Parishioners discovered Freed's body inside the St. Bernard Church rectory after he failed to show up for a morning Mass.
The murder shocked the small Northern California community where he taught college courses on religion and often advocated on behalf of the homeless.
An autopsy showed the priest died of blunt force injuries to a "substantial part of his body," the county coroner said Monday.
Bullock was arrested Thursday afternoon about an hour away from the town. Eureka police said he was en route with a relative to turn himself in, and was cooperative and lucid at the time of his arrest. The priest's Nissan Altima was found nearby.
The day before, Eureka police said, Bullock had been arrested for public intoxication by Humboldt County sheriff's deputies and booked into the county jail, just a couple blocks from the church.
Sheriff's officials released him after midnight on New Year's Day, and Eureka police found Bullock near the church a couple hours later, authorities say.
Mills said Bullock was not intoxicated at that time and didn't qualify for an emergency psychological hold. Police instead referred him to an emergency shelter.
Parishioners found Freed's badly beaten body later that morning.