C.J. LeMaster

C.J. LeMaster

Chief Investigative Reporter

Jackson, MS

C.J. LeMaster has served as WLBT’s Chief Investigative Reporter since April 2016.

Since then, he’s exposed problems with the Hinds County criminal justice system, highlighted potential secrecy regarding unethical conduct among Mississippi educators, revealed a prison extortion scheme that stretched across the state and investigated municipalities which violated state law by keeping documents from the public.

In one case, the Mississippi Ethics Commission ruled the city of Jackson violated the state's public records act by denying WLBT settlement agreements executed by the city as part of a 3 On Your Side investigation into the spending of taxpayer dollars.

Most recently, exclusive information uncovered during a 3 On Your Side investigation into recent deadly officer-involved shootings and a lack of transparency by the Jackson Police Department helped lead to a reversal in a decades-old city policy that once prevented the release of the names of officers responsible in those shootings.

You can check out C.J.'s latest investigative pieces here.

Before coming to the Capital City as a reporter and weekend anchor in December 2013, C.J. worked at WTVA/WLOV in Tupelo, Mississippi, for nearly a decade in several roles, some of that while pursuing a broadcast journalism degree from Mississippi State.

After graduation, he got hired as a reporter there and then went on to anchor some of the station’s top-rated newscasts.

C.J. was raised in Booneville, where he began his journalism career at Northeast Mississippi Community College. He worked in both print and television during his time in college.

Over the years, C.J. has received more than a dozen Mississippi Associated Press awards ranging from photography to public affairs reporting and achievement. In 2018, C.J.'s investigative piece, 3 On Your Side Investigates: Access Denied won Best Investigative Report in the Southeast Regional Emmy's Excellence in my Market Awards, where journalists from television markets across five states compete. That same year, judges with the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences recognized his investigative work on that story with an Emmy nomination.

In addition, several of C.J.’s stories warranted national coverage: among them, the active shooter situation at Delta State University, the historic April 2011 tornado outbreak and a 2013 ricin investigation that implicated a Mississippi man in a plot to poison President Barack Obama.

When he’s not working, C.J. enjoys finding new restaurants in central Mississippi and exploring the area with a camera to support his photography habit.

If you have something you want C.J. to look into, call the 3 On Your Side Investigates Line at 769-2300-TIP.

Awards:

  • 2018 Emmy Nomination, Best Investigative Report
  • 2018 Excellence in my Market Award, Best Investigative Report
  • 2017 AP Award, Best Investigative Report (Third Place)
  • 2014 AP Award, Best Spot News
  • 2013 AP Award, Best Feature Photography
  • 2013 AP Award, Achievement
  • 2013 AP Award, Franchise Reporting
  • 2012 AP Award, Achievement
  • 2012 AP Award, Franchise Reporting
  • 2012 AP Award, Best News Photography
  • 2012 AP Award, Best News Photography
  • 2012 AP Award, Spot News Story
  • 2011 AP Award, Best Feature Photography
  • 2010 AP Award, Best Feature Story
  • 2004 Emmy Nomination, First Down on FOX – WLOV-TV

Education:

  • Mississippi State University, Broadcasting/Public Relations

Recent Articles by C.J.

  Councilman: Less excuses, more solutions needed from city to address violent crime in Jackson

  Exclusive: Metrocenter Mall owner addresses allegations that she owes former associates $175K

  Daily average COVID-19 cases declining in several Mississippi counties

  Health care workers remember Natchez nurse who died from COVID-19 complications

In just hours, 20,000 Mississippians sign up for coronavirus vaccine

  Jackson homicides surge, gun violence drops in first two weeks of new year

  Thousands of vaccine doses intended for state’s most vulnerable still waiting to be administered

  Dozens of staff, residents at Yazoo City long-term care facility get COVID-19 vaccine

  Debate intensifies over free speech rights of conservatives on social media

  Mississippi’s Capitol Police chief calls mayhem in D.C. ‘appalling,’ vows to step up patrols

  Council members call unauthorized I-55 shutdown ‘brazen’ and ‘lawless’

  Legal expert: First-degree murder charge against teen not excessive

  Deputies release teenager from jail amid growing concerns murder charge was excessive

Jackson closes out 2020 with the most homicides in city history, and a higher rate of killings than New Orleans, Memphis

Walter Lee Hawkins, 33

Cedric Mosley, 45

  Post-Thanksgiving surge in patients, COVID-19 tests push local clinics to their limits

  Neighbor’s video shows events leading up to Rankin County shooting Monday

Lawrence Hill, 66

  Inspirational words, Christmas decorations greet drivers in west Jackson

  JPD: Real-Time Command Center a time-saver, valuable resource in fighting crime

  Pandemic pushes long wait times even higher for some ambulances transferring patients in Mississippi

Carlos Crockett, 49

  Dobbs: COVID-19 vaccine timeline hard to determine due to uncertainty of supply

Shamar Griffin, 15

  Council committee addresses JPD recruiting efforts, stops short of pay specifics for senior officers

  Audit requested by MDOC commissioner finds hundreds of thousands in misspent funds by previous administration

  Few citations issued in Mississippi’s largest city for violating COVID-19 executive orders

  Conspiracy theories about COVID-19 vaccine gain traction among Mississippians on social media

  Rep. Palazzo: Election fraud fight not over despite SCOTUS rejecting Texas lawsuit he supported