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Weatherman innocent in tub death, attorney says

By Jeannie Nuss, The Associated Press

This article was originally published September 8, 2011 at 7:58 p.m. Updated September 8, 2011 at 9:47 p.m.

An attorney for an Arkansas meteorologist found sleeping in a hot tub with a dead man said Thursday that no foul play was involved.

Authorities have said a Maumelle man found Little Rock weatherman Brett Cummins and the body of 24-year-old Dexter Williams in an unfilled hot tub on Monday. Williams was wearing a chain around his neck that looked like a dog collar and police found blood, but no water, in the tub.

Police have interviewed Cummins, a meteorologist with KARK-TV, along with his friend Christopher Barbour, who lives at the home in Maumelle. But no charges had been filed as of Thursday night, Lt. Jim Hansard said.

“Mr. Cummins continues to cooperate fully with authorities investigating the circumstances surrounding Mr. Williams’ passing and like them, looks forward to a conclusion of the inquiry, secure in his own innocence and confident that no foul play was involved,” Cummins’ attorney, Mark Hampton, wrote in a statement.

Cummins last appeared on air Monday after he was found with Williams’ body.

“It’s a rough time,” Cummins told The Associated Press on Thursday evening before referring all further comment to his attorney.

Hampton declined to discuss the case beyond his prepared statement in which he described Cummins’ reaction to Williams’ death.

“Brett Cummins is devastated by the tragic death of his friend Dexter Williams and extends his sincere condolences to Dexter’s family,” Hampton wrote. He added that Cummins “deeply regrets the grief this incident has caused those who know him, especially his co-workers and family members.”

Neither Barbour nor Mike Vaughn, the general manager at KARK, returned phone calls to the AP for comment.

Police have not yet released the preliminary results from Williams’ autopsy.

Williams’ relatives say they’re disturbed by the circumstances surrounding his death. They described him as someone who was easily swayed.

“Dex had a very loving but trusting heart,” the family members said in a statement released by their attorney, Randy Hall. “Anyone who knew him would agree that he was easily influenced.”

A police report said Barbour, who lives at the home in Maumelle, allegedly invited his friend Cummins over on Sunday night. Cummins showed up with Williams and they started drinking and doing drugs, Barbour told authorities.

“Mr. Barbour stated that he was not sure of the drugs that they were using but that they were snorting them,” Maumelle police officer Gregory Roussie wrote in the report.

At some point, the three men got into a hot tub and continued drinking, according to the report. Barbour later went to sleep on his couch and woke up Monday morning to Cummins’ snores.

He walked into the bathroom and found Cummins next to Williams in the tub, which was not filled with water, police said.

When Cummins awoke and found Williams unconscious, with his face discolored, Cummins screamed and became sick to his stomach, Barbour told police.

Cummins left the home, but later returned and spoke with authorities, according to the report.

Comments on: Weatherman innocent in tub death, attorney says

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Thelby says... September 8, 2011 at 11:34 p.m.

Whether he is guilty or not of Wrongful Death remains to be proven and I am sure the Police are investigating all angles, but fact is he is a doper by eye witness testimony and should not be allowed back on air in this market.

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THECITYKING says... September 8, 2011 at 11:44 p.m.

Just cause someone says they seen him doing dope don't make it so. To say the fact is he's a doper Thelby is just wrong and you should be ashamed. Remember it was the "eyewitness" that owned the house where the poor guy died and he also is being investigated and may be prone to say anything to not go to jail.

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MYBUDDYTMIL says... September 8, 2011 at 11:46 p.m.

Wierd story. Must have been some party.

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NewRules1 says... September 9, 2011 at 12:17 a.m.

Headline says "weatherman innocent in tub death, attoney says". If the attorney said that, why does the article not quote him on that. To my knowledge no one has accused him of doing any harm to the deceased. Poor reporting! This headline makes one think he was accused. And he hasn't been. Not yet at least.

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revetda says... September 9, 2011 at 2:30 a.m.

What is done in the dark surely comes to light but i feel sad for all involved........

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imdanth_yahoo.com says... September 9, 2011 at 3:01 a.m.

My heart goes out to Dexter Williams' family. As for Brett Cummins, what is there to say? What a terrible story.

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whocaresboutit says... September 9, 2011 at 4:46 a.m.

Weatherman is innocent remains to be seen.....whoever had the drug that was snorted is the responsible one.....If Barbour is Cummin's friend, why did he write down Cummin's license plate number.( in case he did not return to talk to police)? Plus Barbour had a history of domestic abuse.Sounds like Barbour should be questioned throughly....

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Testingonetwothree says... September 9, 2011 at 7:37 a.m.

arf arf arf.....bow wow.......grrrrrrrrrrrrrr

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Mondays says... September 9, 2011 at 9:19 a.m.

Such a sad and strange story. What I haven't understood is, was there water in the hot tub at any time? I never heard if it was there the night before and if they fell asleep with water in it. It probably seems irrelavant, but it could be important if there is a chance that he passed out and drowned, but then the water was let out some time before the police arrived. Regardless, my heart goes out to all involved.

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