Suspect calls victim 'best friend' in Shingletown homicide

SHINGLETOWN, Calif. - The Sheriff's report regarding the alleged homicide of 47-year-old James Arnel discusses the moments around his death.

The man charged with his murder, Michael Ackley, 55, claims to be Arnel's best friend but according to detectives Ackley acted recklessly.

Ackley, now sits in the Shasta County Jail after a night of drinking last Tuesday went wrong. In a report detectives said they received a call of shots fired early Tuesday off Black Butte Road in Shingletown. 

When they arrived around 2:26 a.m. they found a woman in the road needing help. That woman has been identified as Ida Arnel, the mother of James.

Deputies said Arnel and his mother had been drinking with Ackley on his property off Pine Hollow Drive when they left.

Ackley went into his trailer. But a little later James and his mother came back because James forgot his boot. Ackley told deputies he thought intruders were on his property and that he'd been a victim of burglary and assaults before.

One deputy wrote, "Ackley told me he was in fear for his safety because he is disabled so he fired warning shots to scare off the burglars."

Deputies said he fired 10 rounds with an AR 15, ultimately fatally striking James.

Ackley told detectives he had no intention of shooting anyone, especially his friend. Another deputy wrote that when he arrived on scene he found Ackley holding James and once he had placed him in his patrol vehicle, "he asked me if James was OK, telling me he was his best friend."

Ackley told detectives he was aware of the importance of firearm safety and identifying targets before shooting.

Ackley's preliminary hearing is set for July 17.

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