MOUNTAIN HOME, AR (KAIT) - In the days leading up to the midterm elections, police say a Mountain Home man made more than 40 phone calls to CNN, threatening to do bodily harm to one of its journalists.
On Tuesday, Nov. 6, as many voters headed to the polls to cast their ballots, 39-year-old Benjamin Craig Matthews was headed to the Baxter County Detention Center.
Matthews’ arrest came after a judge found probable cause to charge him with terroristic threatening and harassing communications.
According to the affidavit, between Oct. 31 and Nov. 2, Matthews made in excess of 40 calls to the CNN headquarters in Atlanta, GA.
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 following day, Nov. 2, investigators say Matthews made 6 more calls of a threatening nature including one in which he asked to have his call directed to “pipe bombs for DL.”
“The third call references the offender wanting to kick DL’s teeth down his throat,” the affidavit said. “The call placed at 6:13 p.m. speaks of bloody pictures of DL cut up in small pieces like the movie ‘Saw’.”
An investigator with the Atlanta Police Department contacted a detective with Mountain Home police after cell phone data revealed that Matthews lives in the Baxter County town.
According to the court documents, a person who “has personal knowledge of Benjamin Matthews” agreed to listen to the phone calls and “positively identified” his voice.
Further investigation revealed that Matthews made phone calls to MSNBC, U.S. Representative Maxine Waters, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, Attorney Michael Avenatti, the Washington Speakers Bureau, and Planned Parenthood.
Matthews is being held in the BCDC on $15,000 bond on five felony counts of first-degree terroristic threatening, nine misdemeanor counts of harassing communications, and four misdemeanor counts of second-degree terroristic threatening.
He is expected to appear in circuit court on Thursday, Nov. 8, to answer the charges.