Police chief: Bates confessed to Anna church beating

| October 5, 2009

ANNA, IL (KFVS) – Willis E. Bates has confessed to assaulting two women inside Anna First Baptist Church last Monday, said Anna Police Chief Dale Foster.

Bates faces two counts of attempted murder, according to Illinois State Police. He was taken to the Williamson County Jail. Bond has not been set.

Bates was taken into custody just after noon Monday inside room 142 at the Motel Marion, where Bates and a female companion had checked into Sunday night, according to ISP. The hotel manager recognized Bates and alerted authorities, who then set up surveillance at the motel, state police said.

Police will hold a press conference in Union County at 7 p.m. Heartland News will be there and bring you the latest developments.

Mary Shepard, 69, and Leona Mount, 76, were brutally beaten inside the First Baptist Church of Anna on Monday.

"Everyone’s just scared in town," Foster said last week. "They just can’t believe something like this would happen."

Mount was taken to a St. Louis hospital to be treated for her injuries. Shepard is being treated in Cape Girardeau.

Police found Shepard, the church secretary, in a church office and Mount, a cleaning woman, in a classroom.

Pastor Tony Foeller says new security measures have already been put into place at the church. He says services will continue as scheduled.

Both women were listed in stable condition. Authorities say their injuries are not considered life-threatening.

Tony Foeller says the motives behind the attack aren’t clear. He notes that nothing was taken.

This message was posted on the Anna First web site at 7 p.m. Friday. "The news just keeps getting better! I’ve already used the word "miracle" to describe these ladies and their respective recoveries. But no other word will do! When you hear words from the family like "it’s been the most encouraging day yet", what word would you use? Please pray for the law enforcement agencies that they will get the breaks they so desperately need to break this case wide open. They are working so hard and such long hours. Lord, help them find the one(s) responsible. We are collecting gasoline and restaurant gift cards to give to the families of the victims as they have already been doing a lot of traveling and will continue to do so. Please contact the church office to see how you can participate in this practical ministry to Mary’s and Leona’s family. "



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Category: Church Security

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