A $1 million bond was upheld Monday during a first appearance hearing for a Hot Springs man who is accused in a fatal shooting that occurred last week at a local sports bar and grill.
Eric Morrison, 28, appeared before Judge Jack Barker in 35th Judicial District Court on a charge of first-degree murder.
Morrison was arrested on Oct. 26 after he was identified as a suspect in the death of 30-year-old Corey D. Goodwin of Smackover.
The men reportedly met for the first time on the night the incident occurred at Hotshots Sports Bar and Grill, 601 S. Timberlane.
El Dorado police responded at 9:23 p.m. to a report of shots fired at Hotshots.
Upon arrival, they saw a man “with blood on his body” lying in the parking lot just south of the business.
The injured man was identified as Goodwin.
He was transported by ambulance to Medical Center of South Arkansas and later transferred to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, where he succumbed to his injuries.
Police are awaiting the results of a preliminary autopsy report from the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, also in Little Rock, to confirm the manner and cause of death.
Goodwin and Morrison were involved in a dispute that moved outside Hotshots at some point, police said. Witnesses reported hearing several gunshots shortly after the men went outside.
Capt. Kevin Holt, public information officer for the El Dorado Police Department, said investigators are working to determine the cause of the dispute.
“Hopefully, here in the next few days, we hope to narrow down some things and get down to the bottom of the incident,” Holt said. “We do not want to release anything until we can confirm or deny it.”
Holt described the men as “acquaintances” who may have first met at Hotshots on the night of the shooting.
Goodwin’s uncle, Derrick Goodwin, affirmed that the night of Oct. 26 was the first time his nephew had ever come into contact with Morrison.
“Mr. Corey Goodwin did not know, nor had ever met the accused until that night,” Derrick Goodwin wrote in an email to the News-Times. “Corey did not know this gentleman and had no acquaintances with him.”
Holt said police are still looking into the circumstances under which the pair encountered each other.
Morrison was initially charged with first-degree battery.
His first appearance hearing had been set for Oct. 27, but it was postponed after the charge was upgraded following Morrison’s death.
While appearing in district court Monday, Morrison told Barker that he plans to hire his own attorney.
Barker upheld the $1 million bond, cash or corporate surety, that had been recommended by the 13th Judicial Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Should Morrison be released from the Union County Jail in lieu of bond, he is to have no contact with Corey Goodwin’s family.
He is banned from Hotshots in El Dorado and prohibited from leaving the state.
Morrison must also abide by a daily curfew of 5 p.m. until 7 a.m., and he must wear GPS monitoring device.
First-degree murder is a Class Y felony. If convicted, Morrison could be sentenced to 10 to 40 years or life in prison.
Tia Lyons may be contacted at 870-862-6611 or by email at tlyons@ eldoradonews.com.