California Priest Autopsy Reveals Killer Bludgeoned Victim With Wooden Stake, Metal Pipe

An autopsy revealed the Northern California priest who was murdered last week was killed by a wooden stake and metal pipe. The alleged suspect used them to mercilessly beat his victim.

Humboldt County Coroner Dave Parris stated that investigators do not want to release more details at this time concerning how Rev. Eric Freed was killed citing the ongoing investigation.

Police arrested Gary Lee Bullock, 44, of Humboldt County, and during his arraignment was charged with murder with a special allegation of torture. He was also charged with burglary, arson and auto theft. Bullock pleaded not guilty and his bail was set at $1.2 million, according to court records.

Bullock was arrested Thursday by sheriff's deputies outside Garberville. Deputies said his stepfather was driving him to Garberville to turn himself in.

Rev. Eric Freed of St. Bernard Church was found dead in the rectory on the church's property in the city of Eureka just after 9 a.m. on Wednesday, according to a Times-Standard report.

Eureka City Mayor Frank Jager called the slain priest a "friend" and insisted that if any time would be for prayer this would that time.

"Everybody knows it's Father Eric. Father Eric was a friend of mine. A tremendous person in this community. He's been here about three years. Involved with the Japanese community … this is absolutely a tremendous loss, not only for St. Bernard's parish, but for the community in general. I'll just say this: for those of us who believe in prayer, this is the time for that, and I hope we can find out who did this," he said.

Police still do not have a clear motive in the killing.

"I don't think we have a clear motive we are willing to speak about at this point," Police Chief Andrew Mills said in a statement. "There was significant evidence at the scene to suggest he tried to set the house on fire."