EUREKA- The man allegedly responsible for killing St. Bernard Priest Eric Freed made his first court appearance Monday afternoon. Gary Bullock, 43, is the man police believe forced entry through Reverend Freed’s window in the early morning hours of New Years Day and killed him. The defense requested media not be allowed to film or take photos during the arraignment but judge John Feeney overruled the request.
Bullock pled not guilty and is being charged with three felonies, one count homicide, one count vehicle theft, and one count attempted arson. The prosecution is also charging him with two special allegation charges of burglary to a residence and alleging the murder was intentional with torture. Eureka Police allege on New Years Eve Bullock was arrested for public intoxication and transported to the Humboldt County Jail. Less than nine hours after he booked into jail, he was released shortly before 1 a.m. New Years Day due to his own recognizance.
Bullock was spotted less than two hours after that roaming around St. Bernard’s Catholic Church where officers contacted him and said he was neither intoxicated nor qualified for a psychological hold, and let him go. Bullock was referred to a shelter for the night but at some point a security guard patrolling the church saw bullock, contacted him and told him to leave. It was not until later that morning around 9 a.m. when Rev. Freed failed to show up to mass when church staff discovered his body inside of the rectory.
Officers said a wooden stake found at the crime scene appears to be one of the weapons used against reverend freed. Officers would not comment on the other weapons involved but are calling it a violent crime. Police said there is no motive yet and are calling it a crime of opportunity.
An autopsy performed Saturday revealed blunt force trauma to Rev. Freed’s body. Bullock will be back in court Jan. 16 for his preliminary hearing.