Kevin Lee Thomas

Circuit Judge Sam Pope set a $250,000 bond and ordered a mental evaluation of Kevin Lee Thomas, the 31-year-old Desha County man suspected in the January 17 murder of his mother, Bonnie Thomas.

Bonnie Thomas’ traumatized body was found on the floor of her home on Cooks Ramp Road near Kelso Friday night after she failed to show up for her 7 p.m. shift at the McGehee Hospital.

The 57-year-old woman was deceased when authorities arrived to check on her. Bonnie Thomas and her son lived on the same property but not in the same dwelling.

During the investigation, officers found a fire containing physical evidence outside Thomas’ home.

Tenth Judicial District Prosecutor Thomas Deen charged Kevin Thomas with first-degree murder and evidence tampering. First-degree murder is a Class Y felony punishable by 10 to 40 years or life in prison. Evidence tampering is a Class D felony punishable by a maximum 6-year prison sentence.

At Kevin Thomas’ first appearance hearing on Tuesday, Judge Pope set the $250,000 bond, ordered the mental evaluation and appointed the public defender’s office to represent Thomas.