Tag Archives: illegal narcotics

Paul Dexter Williams died from asphyxiation police said

The Democrat-Gazette reported this morning:

Man in Maumelle tub asphyxiated, police say

By Sean Beherec

LITTLE ROCK — The state Crime Laboratory determined a 24-year-old man found dead in a bathtub with a Little Rock meteorologist in a Maumelle home died from asphyxiation, police said Thursday.

The manner of death of Paul Dexter Williams of Mountain Pine was officially listed as undetermined after an autopsy by Associate Medical Examiner Frank Peretti. There were also “significant findings of acute combined methamphetamine and amphetamine intoxication,” according to a statement released by Maumelle police Thursday.

On the morning of Sept. 5, Maumelle officers were called to the home of ChristopherBarbour at 16 Village Way.

Barbour, 36, told police that he had invited Little Rock meteorologist Brett Cummins, 33, to his house the previous night and Cummins arrived with Williams around 8 p.m., a police report said.

The men began to drink and use illegal narcotics, Barbour told police. He said he wasn’t sure what the drugs were, but said “they were snorting them.”

Barbour said that around 10 p.m., Cummins and Williams entered the tub and Barbour later joined them. Barbour said he left the other two men around 11 p.m. and went to sleep on the couch inthe living room.

The next morning, Barbour found the men in the tub, which had no water in it. Barbour woke Cummins and the men realized Williams was not conscious and his face was a “different color.”

Cummins, a meteorologist on KARK-TV, Channel 4, at the time of the death, resigned from the station Sept. 9.

The Police Department will turn the case over to the Pulaski County prosecuting attorney’s office, which will determine whether charges will be filed. A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office said the case file had not been received.

This article was published today at 4:04 a.m.Arkansas, Pages 10 on 09/23/2011

Arkansas 10

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KARK answers question: Is Brett Cummins story censored?

In today’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Linda Caillouet wrote:

LITTLE ROCK — When news broke of the death of Dexter Williams over the Labor Day weekend at a Maumelle home visited by then-KARK meteorologist Brett Cummins, most local news media reported details from the police report.

This newspaper, KATV and KTHV reported that police said the body of Williams, a guest with Cummins at Christopher Barbour’s home, was found in a bathroom hot tub with no water Monday morning. Williams was wearing a silver chain “consistent” with a dog collar, the police report said. Police said Barbour found Cummins, 33, asleep in the tub next to the body.

Stories by KTHV and this newspaper said Barbour told police that Cummins and Williams arrived Sunday night and, the police report said, “they then began to drink and use illegal narcotics.”

No charges were filed and no foul play is suspected, but the investigation is ongoing.

How did KARK report it?

“Maumelle Police are investigating a holiday weekend death. It happened early Monday morning at a home at 16 Village Way.

“Police say 24-year-old Dexter Williams was found dead in a hot tub. Police are investigating whether drugs and alcohol played a role.

As of right now, no criminal charges have been filed.

“Our Meteorologist Brett Cummins was at the home at the time of the death and we felt we should share this with our viewers.

“Brett will not be on the air as he is mourning the loss of his friend.

Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of Dexter Williams.”

Quite a different picture than that painted elsewhere, leaving viewers to wonder what was happening before Williams’ death. A holiday barbecue, football-watching party, family reunion?

“Why the sketchy report?” I asked KARK news director Rob Heverling.

“I’m very limited in what I can say. As far as Brett is concerned, this is a personnel matter. We must follow our companyNexstar’s policy,” he said.

“But we felt like it was important to, at the very least, acknowledge that Brett is an employee of ours. It is a story. We know it is a story. And it was important for us to at least cover the story.”

“But did you cover the story?” I asked Heverling.

“Because of our policy, this is all we can say,” he replied after a long pause.

“That is the only way I can answer that question.”

On Friday, Cummins’ attorney told The Associated Press that his client resigned from KARK. Contact Linda Caillouet at (501) 399-3636 or at lcaillouet @arkansasonline.com.

Why won’t KARK cover Brett Cummins story better?

I have mentioned before that I thought it was sad that KARK ignored the fact that Brett Cummins was snorting coke with the young man, Dexter Williams, on Sunday night and that Williams died as a result.

Now at least the other stations in the Little Rock Market have been covering the story.

Rival Stations Cover KARK Meteorologist’s Role in Bathtub Death of 24-Year-Old

By Andrew Gauthier on September 7, 2011 1:51 PM

On Tuesday evening, every news station in Little Rock covered the untimely death of a 24-year-old man who was found dead in a bathtub alongside KARK meteorologist Brett Cummins.

While KARK, an NBC-affiliate, disclosed on-air that its longtime weathercaster was connected to the death, rival stations provided more in-depth coverage of the incident, even though not all of them mentioned Cummins by name.

ABC-affiliate KATV led its 6 p.m. newscast with the story, starting with the line “A man is found dead in a bath tub and a local television personality is a witness.”  The station’s coverage–which also ran during the 10 p.m. newscast–featured an interview with a police lieutenant and reporting from Stephanie Simoni, who said that Cummins was found in the bathtub with the dead body.

In covering the story, KATV contacted KARK and news director Rob Heverling stated that Cummins remains employed with the station.

CBS-affiliate KTHV covered the death and the ongoing police investigation at the beginning of its 6 o’clock newscast, mentioning that one of the two witnesses was “KARK chief meteorologist Brett Cummins.”

Like KATV, KTHV interviewed Lt. Jim Hansard and reported that Cummins was found in the bathtub alongside the body.  KTHV also relayed the other witness’s claim that Cummins had been snorting illegal narcotics with the man hours before he died.

At the end of its coverage, KTHV read a statement that KARK had posted to its website about the matter.  The statement is the same as what KARK anchor Bob Clausen read during the station’s 5, 6, and 10 p.m. newscasts on Tuesday.

While Fox-affiliate KLRT covered the incident during its 5, 9, and 10 p.m. newscasts, the station did not mention Cummins’s name or his job with KARK.

“Since Maumelle police do not know if foul play is involved and because no one has been charged with a crime,” KLRT anchor Kevin Kelly said during the 10 p.m. newscast, “Fox 16 news is not reporting the names of the two witnesses at this time.”

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