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A man has been charged after an investigation revealed he fatally shot an elderly man.

Photo by Baxter County Sheriff's Office
Johnnie Carl Baker, 47.

Johnnie Carl Baker, 47, of Salesville, is charged with the shooting death of Dennis Franklin Chapman, 65, also of Salesville, after investigators discovered Baker had purposely shot Chapman in the face, according to a release from the Baxter County sheriff's department. Baker had initially claimed the shooting was accidental.

An investigation showed that Baker loaded the weapon, a Marlin 30/30 lever-action rifle, the day before the shooting occurred. Baker told authorities he had thrown a soda bottle at Chapman and told him he would shoot the bottle. Chapman was holding the bottle in his hand when the rifle discharged, but Baker said he had no recollection of having his finger on the trigger and claimed the rifle discharged accidentally.

Research into the rifle revealed it had to be manually discharged due to its lever and hammer capabilities. The fact that Baker knew the weapon was loaded, loaded it himself and pointed it at another individual demonstrated an "extreme indifference to the value of a human life," the department said in the release.

The prosecuting attorney has filed second-degree felony murder charges after a bench warrant was issued for Baker's arrest. Baker was taken into custody Thursday afternoon and held on $100,000 bond at the Baxter County jail. His hearing is scheduled for Dec. 13 in Baxter County Circuit Court.

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