AR Man Charged with Threatening to Cut CNN Journalist “Into Small Pieces”

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BAXTER COUNTY, Ark. (KARK) –  A Mountain Home man is in custody after investigators say he threatened the life of a CNN journalist. 

Investigators from Atlanta say Benjamin Craig Matthews, 39, called CNN more than 40 times from a cell phone. 

In the calls, he is alleged to have said he would like to “kick the [expletive] out of DL.”

Don Lemon is the anchor of CNN Tonight.

In subsequent calls, investigators say Matthews asked CNN’s operator “Could I be directed to DL’s dead body hanging from a tree?” In another call, made on Nov. 1, he asks “Is DL dead yet? Can you help me kill that [redacted]?”

The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) states that Matthews called CNN more than 40 times between October 31 and November 2, and included general harassment, threat of bodily injury, and threatening the journalist’s life. 

Atlanta Police’s Homeland Security Department contacted BCSO deputies when they learned where the calls originated,  and audio recording were made. Investigators say someone with “personal knowledge” of Matthews identified his voice. 

Further investigation found that Matthews had contacted another television network, as well as to various public officials and organizations.

Matthews was taken into custody on November 6. He is being held at the Baxter County Detention Center facing the following charges: five felony counts of First Degree Terroristic Threatening, four misdemeanor counts of Second Degree Terroristic Threatening, nine misdemeanor counts of Harassing Communications. 

Matthews remains in custody with a $15,000 bond and is set to appear before the Baxter County Circuit Court on Thursday.

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