Man arrested, charged with murder in 2007 cold case

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INDIANAPOLIS (July 15, 2014) – An Indianapolis man was arrested for a second time in connection with a 2007 murder case.

The U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force Unit arrested James Bates, 29, in the death of Kenneth Beeler Sr. Bates had been arrested in the case after it happened, but problems with the evidence led prosecutors to drop the charges.

The case later went to detectives in the Cold Case Unit, who interviewed additional witnesses and brought new charges against Bates. An arrest warrant was issued on July 2. He was taken into custody without incident last week on charges of murder and carrying a handgun without a license.

Beeler was killed on Dec. 28, 2007 in front of his teenage sons, who were 14 and 15 years old at the time. His girlfriend was also in the house. According to investigators, Beeler heard a knock at the front door of the home in the 3900 block of Erickson Drive.

When Beeler asked who it was, the voice answered, “James.” The same person then let out an expletive and shot at Beeler four or five times, witnesses said. Beeler told his family “James just shot me” before falling to the floor. He died from a gunshot wound to the back.

Whoever shot him then left, witnesses said. Beeler’s girlfriend told investigators she recognized the voice as James Bates’ and identified him in a photo lineup.

Accounts of the shooting from Beeler’s teenage sons were similar, court documents show.

Bates was in custody and charged with murder. He stayed behind bars for 18 months before the case fell apart.

When Beeler’s killing was reopened, cold case investigators talked to three confidential informants who said Bates had bragged about the shooting. Bates told one of the informants that he’d had a problem with Beeler over “drugs and money,” court documents said.