Man arrested for making over 40 threatening calls to CNN

MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. – A Northeast Arkansas man was arrested for making over 40 threatening phone calls to CNN, a sheriff’s office press release said.

The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office arrested a rural Mountain Home man, 39 year old Benjamin Craig Matthews on charges of Terroristic Threatening and Harassing Communications based upon a complaint received by the Atlanta, Georgia Police Department, a press release said.

On November 2nd, the Sheriff’s Office was contacted by an Investigator with the Atlanta Police Department who is assigned to the Homeland Security Investigation Unit.  The Investigator stated they had taken a complaint report from the CNN Headquarters in Atlanta that telephone calls had been received at CNN Headquarters making threats against CNN staff between October 31st  and November 2nd.  The content of these calls ranged from general harassment, threat of bodily injury, and calls threatening the life of a CNN journalist.

More than 40 such calls had been received by CNN from the same person.

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Information obtained by the Atlanta PD Investigator indicated that all of these calls had been made from a cell phone belonging to Matthews.  Audio recordings of the calls indicated they were all made by the same person.  Someone who has personal knowledge of Matthews listened to the recordings and confirmed it was his voice.

It wasn’t just CNN, either. Additional investigation found that Matthews had made other recent phone calls to another television network, as well as to various public officials and organizations.

Based upon this evidence, Baxter County Sheriff’s Investigators obtained a bench warrant for the arrest of Matthews on election day – Tuesday, Nov. 6. Matthews was taken into custody and transported to the Baxter County Detention Center where he was booked yesterday afternoon on charges of:

Terroristic Threatening in the First Degree (5 counts) – Felonies
Terroristic Threatening in the Second Degree (4 counts) – Misdemeanors
Harassing Communications (9 counts) – Misdemeanors

Matthews remains in custody with a bond set of $15,000, and he is scheduled to appear before the Baxter County Circuit Court for a probable cause hearing on November 8th.

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