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Friday 9 December 2016

Killer sacked by TV companies over anger and threats

Profile

Vester Lee Flanagan
Vester Lee Flanagan

Vester Lee Flanagan held grudges against both of his victims, former colleagues Alison Parker and Adam Ward, and had a long history of threatening his co-workers, it has emerged.

He was sacked as a reporter by WDBJ7 TV in 2013 after his "anger" became a problem, the station's manager said, and had made wild claims about racism.

He claimed Miss Parker had "made racist comments" and Mr Ward had made a complaint to the station's HR department after working with him.

Flanagan (41) was born in Oakland, California, where his mother worked as a teacher for 37 years. He was raised as a Jehovah's Witness and claimed to have worked as a model as well as a 'high paid companion'.

He took a degree in broadcast journalism at San Francisco State University and began his media career as a news intern at KPIX-TV in the same city in 1993.

By 1997 he was working as an on-air reporter and anchor for WTWC television in Florida, using the professional name Bryce Williams.

But his television career came to an abrupt halt in 2000, when he was fired by WTWC for "bizarre behaviour and threatening employees", according to one source.

He sued WTWC, claiming he had suffered racial prejudice and he also sought more than $75,000 in damages.

He also said he had suffered discrimination for being gay. His claim was settled out of court in 2001.

By 2002 he had found a way back into broadcasting as a reporter and producer for WNCT-TV in North Carolina, leaving in 2004.

His final job in television began in 2012 when he was taken on by WDBJ7 as a multimedia journalist but, less than a year later, he was fired.

WDBJ7's station manager, Jeffrey Marks (left), said Flanagan was escorted from the building when he was fired because of his "anger".

Unhappy

He said: "Vester was an unhappy man. We employed him as a reporter, and he had some talent in that respect and some experience, although he'd been out of the business for a while. He quickly gathered a reputation as someone who was difficult to work with.

"Eventually, after many incidents of his anger coming to the fore, we dismissed him. He did not take that well, we had to call the police to escort him from the building."

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