Baxter County, Ark. man charged for making threatening calls to CNN in 2018 pleads guilty

Published: Sep. 12, 2021 at 12:53 PM CDT
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BAXTER COUNTY, Ark. (KY3) - A Baxter County, Arkansas, man accused of making terroristic threats to CNN reporters in 2018 has pleaded guilty to criminal charges.

Benjamin Matthews, 42, pleaded guilty to 18 charges, including nine felony counts of making a terroristic threat and several misdemeanor counts for harassment. He was also sentenced Thursday in the case, per Arkansas court records.

Investigators say the threats against the CNN staff happened between Oct. 31 and Nov. 2, 2018, according to a previous KY3 report. 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.

An additional investigation found Matthews had made other recent phone calls to another television network, as well as to various public officials and organizations. The Baxter County Sheriff’s Office worked with the Atlanta Police Department to trace calls to a cell phone registered to Matthews.

There were several delays in the trial ahead of Matthews’ recent plea, including orders for a continuance in July 2019 and a mental evaluation in Feb. 2020.

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