Brandon joined 5NEWS as an assignment editor in March 2017. He is an Arkansas native and a proud graduate of the University of Arkansas. Have a story idea, tip or just want to get in touch? Email him at Brandon.Howard@kfsm.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @5NEWSBrandon.


Recent Articles
  • Injunction Sought Against Arizona Attorney In Marshallese Adoption Scheme

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KFSM) — A Rogers attorney is asking for an injunction to keep Paul Petersen from acting on pending adoption cases in Washington County after Petersen was charged in federal court with running a sprawling adoption scheme involving Marshallese women. Josh Bryant filed the lawsuit Thursday (Oct. 10) in Washington County Circuit Court on behalf of 13 families who wish to remain anonymous. They are listed as John and Jane Does in court documents. The lawsuit also seeks to […]

  • Feds: Harrison Man Chatted Online About Harming Young Boys

    FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — A Harrison man who allegedly chatted online with multiple people about sexually abusing young boys has pleaded not guilty to federal child pornography charges. Jon Clayton English, 46, was arraigned Monday (Oct. 7) in U.S. District Court on three counts of receiving child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography. Agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) said English used several social media accounts between July and August to exchange child pornography and share his […]

  • Washington Co. Sheriff’s Deputy Named Arkansas Officer Of The Year

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KFSM) — A Washington County sheriff’s deputy who survived a shootout during a traffic stop and later helped apprehend the suspect has been named Arkansas Officer of the Year. “We already knew (Cpl. Brett Thompson) was a hero,” said Sheriff Tim Helder. “Glad Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and the rest of the state agree.” Thompson was among a record 672 officers nominated for this year’s award, which was given out Tuesday (Oct. 1) by Rutledge during the 2019 […]

  • Fayetteville Firefighter Arrested For Online Enticement Of Minor

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KFSM) — A Fayetteville firefighter is accused of trying to meet who he thought was a 14-year-old girl for sex. Scott Royal, 37, of Springdale was arrested Tuesday (Sept. 24) by agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in connection with attempted online enticement of a minor. Royal was caught in a joint operation between HSI and Arkansas State Police targeting online predators during the Bikes, Blues and BBQ motorcycle rally. Royal responded earlier this month to a Craiglist […]

  • Former River Valley CEO Pleads Guilty In Tax Fraud Scheme

    FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — The former CEO of White Dairy, Inc., one of the oldest businesses in Van Buren, has pleaded guilty to falsifying his corporate and personal tax records in 2013. Donald Tankersley, 76, waived indictment Thursday (Sept. 19) in U.S. District Court on two counts of making and subscribing a false tax return. Tankersley faces up to six years in prison and a $200,000 fine. He’s free on a $50,000 bond. A sentencing hearing hasn’t been set. […]

  • Barling Doctor Linked To ‘Pill Mill’ Pleads Guilty To Federal Drug Charge

    FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — One of two River Valley doctors accused of running a “pill mill” has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of distributing a controlled substance. Dr. Donald E. Hinderliter pleaded guilty Tuesday (Sept. 10) in U.S. District Court. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency have accused Dr. Hinderliter and Dr. Cecil W. Gaby of prescribing an excessive amount of opioids to patients regardless […]

  • Bethel Heights Avoids Criminal Charge Over Wastewater Issues — For Now

    BETHEL HEIGHTS, Ark. (KFSM) — The Benton County prosecutor has, for now, declined to pursue criminal charges against the city of Bethel Heights regarding its ongoing issue with wastewater disposal. Nathan Smith added that his office reserves the right to pursue a criminal case if the city “doesn’t follow through with an approved solution.” “The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality has informed my office that the City of Bethel Heights has begun taking initial steps to rectify its wastewater issue,” […]

  • Farmington Foster Parents Arrested After Boy Found Frail, Malnourished

    FARMINGTON, Ark. (KFSM) — Police have arrested two foster parents accused of leaving a 7-year-old boy extremely malnourished and denying him doctor’s visits for nearly a year. Brien Reed Hall, 40, and Veronica Lynn Hall, 39, were arrested Tuesday (Aug. 27) in connection with first-degree endangering the welfare of a minor — a Class D felony. The boy was removed from the home last week after an adoption care specialist said he looked like he was “from a third world […]

  • Fayetteville Woman Ordered To Repay More Than $400,000 Stolen From Springdale Church

    FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) — A Fayetteville woman was ordered Friday (Aug. 23) to repay more than $400,000 she embezzled from a Springdale church. Andra Smith, 41, pleaded guilty in Washington County Circuit Court to theft of property after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors. Smith, who also received 20 years probation, must pay $50,000 upfront while the remaining $363,000 will be paid out in monthly installments. Smith must remain on good behavior and faces up to 20 years in prison if […]

  • NWA Orthodontist Indicted In Fraud, Bribery Scheme Involving Former State Senator

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KFSM) — A former Northwest Arkansas orthodontist is accused of bribing former state Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson to influence legislation beneficial to his business. Dr. Benjamin Gray Burris, 47, was charged Monday (Aug. 19) in U.S. District Court with 14 counts of honest services wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud. Starting in February 2014, Burris paid Hutchinson “to take official action as an Arkansas legislator to benefit Burris and his orthodontic companies,” […]

  • Crews Working To Remove Semi-Truck From Petit Jean River In Yell County

    OLA, Ark. (KFSM) — Crews are working to remove a semi-truck that’s been submerged in the Petit Jean River since February, when the driver tried to cross a historic bridge and destroyed the nearly 90-year-old structure. Jeff Gilkey, the emergency manager of Yell County, has asked residents to stay away from Dale Bend Road, which spans the river just north of Ola, so crews have space to use a crane and lift the 40-ton truck from the water. Officials with […]

  • Benton Co. Sheriff Fires Jail Lieutenant After Sexual Harassment Accusations

    BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KFSM) — The Benton County Sheriff’s Office has fired a detention supervisor following several complaints of sexual harassment from female employees, many of whom felt their allegations “went nowhere.” According to an internal investigation obtained by 5NEWS, the sheriff’s office fired the lieutenant on July 16 after it “lost confidence” in him as an employee. “(His) actions of assaulting two female co-workers/employees will not be tolerated within this organization,” Major Kenneth Paul wrote in his internal affairs investigation […]

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