Cameron Stark was drinking at Bear’s Den Pizza, a bar University of Central Arkansas professors and students frequent, when he pulled aside one of his former associate professors to say he’d made a mistake and was worried he had ruined his future. He wanted to know how to get into another college, professor George Bratton said.
Stark — a top student at UCA for years — had been kicked out of the university after UCA police arrested him for having grand master and master keys used in break-ins earlier that year. UCA records show Stark attended the university part time in summer 2012. He was a senior.
Then, he was no longer a student and had not earned a degree, according to records the Log Cabin Democrat received under the Freedom of Information Act.
The university would not release records or speak about Stark’s possible punishment for stealing exams. Disciplinary records are not open under the Freedom of Information Act under a federal law, UCA spokeswoman Fredricka Sharkey wrote in email.
But Bratton said Stark told him he was booted from UCA after police arrested him at his home in June. An investigation into a rash of break-ins at administrative buildings earlier last year lead to Stark when Andrew Linn, assistant director in the Financial Aid Department, identified Stark in a video. Stark and Linn had worked together.
When police went to Stark’s home, they discovered former Chief of Staff Jack Gillean’s keys to UCA in his front pocket.
"Jack gave them to me," Stark told police.
On June 15, less than a week after the most recent break-ins were reported by Linn, Gillean resigned suddenly from his position after serving at UCA for 16 years. In October, prosecutor Cody Hiland charged Gillean with four felonies, including three commercial burglaries, and a misdemeanor.
Stark, who was granted immunity for his testimony, is his key witness, Hiland said.
Stark and his attorney, Angela Byrd, did not return multiple phone calls. Stark did not respond to messages sent via Twitter and Facebook.
A Stark glimpse
Stark, 24, signed up to be a Marine on his birthday, July 17, 2006, according to his military record.
On Twitter and Facebook, online social networking sites, Stark shows pride in the Marines, displaying photos of him on duty and going by the Twitter name that includes @StarkUSMC. On his upper right arm, Stark has a tattoo that include USMC with a Bullet Cross.
Stark is listed as a rifleman in his military records. His obligation as a member of the Selected Marine Corps Reserve ends Aug. 16.
While at UCA, Stark was on the Dean’s List in fall 2008, spring 2009, fall 2009, Spring 2010 and fall 2010, UCA records show.
Bratton said Stark was punctual, clean-shaven and an "active learner."
Stark, a biology major, was disciplined in class and said "yes, sir" or "no, sir." He came to the survey statistics course, sat in one of the front three rows and nodded his head or mouthed answers during class, Bratton said.
The professor is sure Stark didn’t steal exams to cheat because Bratton doesn’t keep tests in his office. Bratton said he generally makes the tests and prints them the day of the tests. Stark did well because he was attentive, Bratton said.
"He didn’t have ear buds in his ears when he came to class," he said.
Stark became friends with Gillean when they lived at an apartment complex together, according to an email from Gillean’s attorney Samuel Perroni. Stark and Gillean hung out. Gillean took Stark to a December 2010 Centennial Events Center social event, according to an email from UCA police spokesman Arch Jones last month. At that event, Stark posed for a photograph with UCA Police Chief Larry James while Gillean snapped the photo.
A Stark future
But Stark has been in trouble with UCA and Conway police departments for years, UCA and Conway police records show.
In April 2011, Stark got into a fight with a customer at Michelangelo’s. Mike Kraft later found a unloaded rifle outside "behind a trash can next to the building," according to the Conway police incident report.
"Kraft had heard that, during the argument, Stark went to his vehicle and pulled the rifle out. Stark’s friends supposedly took the gun from him, threw it on the ground, forced him back into the car and then drove off," the officer wrote.
During a party in November that same year, an intoxicated Stark drew a gun on a man who refused to leave, an incident report shows. In an interview with an officer, stark said "he decided to pull out the pistol and tell him to leave again. When the man did not, he turned on the laser and started from the ground up and walked it up his body pointing it at his face and told him to leave again."
Stark was arrested at least three times for public intoxication. He was arrested for domestic battery and had a no contact order issued against him in November 2011, Faulkner County District Court records show. That order was dropped the next month.
Stark’s wife filed for divorce Jan. 4.
Attempts to reach out to several of Stark’s friends failed. None returned messages left through social media, and two had numbers that were disconnected. Stark’s wife and attorney also did not return repeated phone messages.
Stark has moved to Oklahoma, according to divorce records.