Beth Bridges: (7:00) "Because of who it was and how it happened and knowing there's a lot of other girls around here that could be put in that same situation anytime, that put themselves in harms way and have no fear. Lots of times, bad things happen. I tried to tell her that. She said no, not me."
A PULASKI COUNTY FAMILY GRAPPLES WITH THE LOSS OF 18-YEAR-OLD ASHTON BARTLETT.
THEY SAY THE MAN CHARGED WITH HER MURDER IS A FORMER BOYFRIEND.
HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.
I'M LORRA LYNCH JONES
AND I'M LEAH JOHNSON.
FRANK MALLOY.... HAS THE NIGHT OFF.
THE 18-YEAR OLD GIRL DIED IN A SATURDAY MORNING SHOOTING.
TODD LOWERY WITH THE EASTMAN G-B-I OFFICE SAYS...
33-YEAR-OLD BIRAGO BLACKSHEAR IS CHARGED WITH THE MURDER OF ASHTON BARTLETT.
HER FAMILY SAYS THEY TRIED TO WARN HER ABOUT SIGNS OF TROUBLE.
<<nats- looking at pictures
MICHELLE BARTLETT SAYS THE PICTURES SHOW HER DAUGHTER'S BEAUTY... BUT NOT HER WHOLE STORY.
Michelle Bartlett (10:30) "She was planning on going to school. She was supposed to go take her test this morning."
THE TEST WOULD LET HER STUDY TO BE A RADIOLOGIST. ASHTON ALSO LOVED ANIMALS.... AND LIKE MOST TEENS... GOING OUT WITH FRIENDS.
3:58 "She was always giggly and happy and trying to get into something all the time."
HER GRANDMOTHER.... BETH BRIDGES WHO ASHTON LIVED WITH... TRIED TO STEER HER AWAY FROM TROUBLE.
Beth Bridges: (5:48) "I worried always, when she wasn't here because of some of the company she kept."
BRIDGES WASN'T FOND OF HER GRANDDAUGHTER'S FORMER BOYFRIEND... BIRAGO BLACKSHEAR.... WHO WAS 15 YEAR'S OLDER.
NEITHER WAS HER FATHER.
(13:35) "I didn't appreciate the age gap."
BUT THEY COULDN'T STOP THE 18-YEAR-OLD FROM MAKING HER OWN CHOICES... THEY DIDN'T SUSPECT TROUBLE WHEN SHE LEFT WITH FRIENDS FRIDAY NIGHT.
Lorra Lynch Jones "According to the family, Ashton came to McDuffie Street in the early hours of Saturday morning with a male friend. They say she specifically came here to talk with her former boyfriend, Birago Blackshear. They say when Blackshear saw her arrive with another male friend, he became upset."
Beth Bridges: (8:24) "He was just overcome with jealousy I think, was the the main thing. (cover-8:30) "She was trying to run from him and he just caught up with her and shot her, I guess."
BARTLETT DIED AT THE HOSPITAL... ONE GUNSHOT IN THE BACK... ACCORDING TO A PULASKI COUNTY SHERIFF'S INVESTIGATOR.
Michelle Bartlett: I just hope if nothing else good comes out of this, that it might save somebody else's life that's in the same situation she was in."
AND SAVE ANOTHER FAMILY'S GRIEF.
Jahn Bartlett (12:15) "She was always Daddy's girl."
VISITATION FOR ASHTON BARTLETT IS TOMORROW FROM SIX UNTIL 8 P-M AT THE CLARKE FUNERAL HOME IN HAWKINSVILLE.
THE FUNERAL IS AT THE SAME LOCATION... WEDNESDAY AT 2 P-M.
BLACKSHEAR IS IN THE PULASKI COUNTY JAIL.
TODAY.. FAMILIES WERE TOLD THEY COULD NOT GET BACK INSIDE THEIR HOMES YET....AFTER FIRE GUTTED A BUILDING AT THE NORTHWOOD APARTMENTS.
LAUREN DISPIRITO IS HERE WITH MORE ON LAST NIGHT'S FIRE...
LORRA...THE ROOF ON BUILDING 1500 IS GONE.
ON THE TOP FLOOR... JUST CHARRED WOOD AND DEBRIS REMAIN.
SOME PEOPLE LOOKED AT THE DAMAGE FROM OUTSIDE CAUTION TAPE.
MACON-BIBB FIRE CHIEF MARVIN RIGGINS SAYS FLAMES RIPPED THROUGH THE BUILDING'S ATTIC..
IT'S NOW UNSAFE FOR PEOPLE TO GO INSIDE.
RIGGINS SAYS LIGHTNING SPARKED THE BLAZE... AROUND EIGHT LAST NIGHT.
PEOPLE WERE INSIDE AT THE TIME.. BUT NONE WERE HURT.
CREWS BATTLED THE FIRE FOR HOURS.
TWO FIREFIGHTERS WERE HURT... WHEN PART OF THE SECOND FLOOR GAVE WAY... AND THEY FELL THROUGH TO THE FIRST LEVEL.
ABOUT A HALF HOUR LATER...LIGHTNING SPARKED ANOTHER FIRE ... AT A HOME ON WAVERLY PLACE... OFF BASS ROAD IN NORTH BIBB.
RIGGINS SAYS FIRE LIEUTENANT BRADLEY BEASLEY.. SUFFERED A CONCUSION WHILE RESPONDING TO THAT FIRE.
ALL THREE FIREFIGHTERS SPENT THE DAY RECOVERING AND ARE EXPECTED TO RETURN TO WORK SOON.
BETWEEN POWER OUTAGES... AND LIGHTNING STRIKES... RIGGINS SAYS HIS DEPARTMENT HANDLED 22 EMERGENCY CALLS DURING LAST NIGHT'S STORMS.
Chief Marvin Riggins, Macon-Bibb Fire Department: "It was pretty aggressive just from our estimation, it started about eight o'clock and progressed on probably a couple of hours later still having pretty violent lightning strikes in this area where we were observing them out here last night it did cause a couple of house fires"
RIGGINS SAYS ABOUT 80 PERCENT OF HIS PEOPLE AND EQUIPMENT WERE BUSY DURING THOSE EMERGENCY CALLS LAST NIGHT.
CHIEF METEOROLOGIST BEN JONES JOINS US NOW...
BEN WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT LAST NIGHT'S LIGHTNING STRIKES?
Ben talks about lightning strikes and lightning safety tips
THE RED CROSS HELPED FIND SHELTER FOR 7 DISPLACED FAMILIES.
THE OTHERS WERE ABLE TO FIND HOUSING ON THEIR OWN.
A WARNER ROBINS MAN WILL SERVE AT LEAST 30 YEARS IN PRISON AFTER PLEADING GUILTY TO KILLING AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHER IN A WRECK.
THE HOUSTON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE SAYS....
42-YEAR-OLD MARIO GUTIERREZ-GONZALEZ PLEADED GUILTY TODAY TO VEHICULAR HOMICIDE WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE.... AND OTHER CHARGES.
LAST SEPTEMBER...THE HOUSTON COUNTY'S SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAID GUTIERREZ-GONZALES CAUSED A THREE-CAR WRECK ON MOODY ROAD.
THE ACCIDENT KILLED AMY VANHOOSE.... WHO TAUGHT AT RUSSELL ELEMENTARY.
AT THE TIME OF THE ACCIDENT... THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAID HE WAS UNLICENSED...AND UNINSURED.
A FEDERAL JUDGE GRANTED A REQUEST TO BLOCK PARTS OF GEORGIA'S NEW IMMIGRATION LAW FROM TAKING EFFECT UNTIL A LEGAL CHALLENGE IS RESOLVED.
JUDGE THOMAS THRASH TODAY BLOCKED PARTS OF THE LAW THAT PENALIZE PEOPLE WHO TRANSPORT OR HARBOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS.
HE ALSO BLOCKED PROVISIONS THAT AUTHORIZE OFFICERS TO VERIFY THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF SOMEONE WHO CAN'T PROVIDE PROPER I-D.
MOST PARTS OF THE LAW ARE SCHEDULED TO TAKE EFFECT JULY FIRST.
GEORGIA SENATOR SAXBY CHAMBLISS MADE A STOP IN BIBB COUNTY TODAY WHERE HE SPOKE TO THE MACON ROTARY CLUB.
HE TALKED ABOUT ISSUES IN THE U-S SENATE DURING A LUNCHEON AT FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH ON MULBERRY STREET.
THE SENATOR TOOK QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS DURING THE LUNCH.
HE ALSO SPOKE ABOUT HOMELAND SECURITY... NATIONAL DEBT... AND THE POSSIBLITY OF RAISING OUR COUNTRY'S DEBT CEILING.
SENATOR CHAMBLISS SAYS THERE ARE THREE STEPS THAT WOULD HELP THE OUR ECONOMIC SITUATION.
Senator Saxby Chambliss (R): "We've got to reduce government spending. We've been spending way too much tax payer money in Washington from a discretionary spending stand point so it needs to be reduced. Secondly you need to reform entitlements that's where the real big money is and we need to reduce spending in those areas but you need to reform those programs in a way that doesn't impact people's lives and don't change the programs so those are very complicated issues right there and thirdly we need to look at increasing revenues without increasing taxes."
THE DEADLINE FOR CONGRESS TO DECIDE WHETHER TO RAISE THE N NATION'S BORROWING CAP OR DEFAULT ON ITS DEBT.... IS AUGUST SECOND.
adlib toss to weather
FOR YOUR FORECAST FIRST... 3 DAY FORECAST WE JOIN CHIEF METEOROLOGIST BEN JONES IN THE WEATHER CENTER.
ben gives three day forecast
THANKS BEN.. WE'LL TALK WITH YOU AGAIN IN JUST A FEW MINUTES.
EARLY VOTING OFFICIALLY STARTS TOMORROW... BUT THAT DIDN'T STOP SOME VOTERS... FROM CASTING BALLOTS A DAY EARLY.
AS AMY AUBERT SHOWS YOU... SOME WHO HIT THE POLLS... SAY IT BEATS WAITING AROUND.
<<Eva Cofer, Macon: "The last time we came it was a heavy crowd, and we stood in the long line a long time."
Juliet Power, Macon: "I don't like to stand in long lines, and I like to go ahead and do it and get it over with."
Chuzzlevit Redding, Macon: "I just felt like I had to come out early because I hate standing in long lines."
FOR VOTERS HITTING THE POLLS EARLY... IT WAS THE SAME STORY...
Chuzzlevit Redding, Macon: "You just gotta sit there and be patient and be sweating, the line just seems like it never be moving and some points, omsetimes."
FOR SOME... IT'S THEIR FIRST TIME...
Janice Moore, Macon: "I think it's great, it's fantastic to get out and vote early, and do not have to wait in long lines."
OTHERS... HAVE BEEN GETTING THEIR VOTE IN AHEAD OF TIME... FOR YEARS.
Juliet Power, Macon: "It gives you time to think about what you're doing, you're not confused about what other people are doing or saying, and it's just easier."
Nat pop, clicking mouse
SECRETARY FOR THE BIBB COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS... JEANETTA WATSON... SAYS THEY SPENT A WEEK SETTING UP... SO VOTING COULD START... A DAY AHEAD OF SCHEDULE.
Jeanetta Watson, Secretary: "They can come in, they can take their time, they can look at the ballot, they can see all the candidates names on the list, it'll give them time to go and research a candidate to see which one best suits what they're looking for."
Amy Aubert, Eyewitness News: "Watson says where the lines are empty now, she's expecting them to be filled in just a couple weeks."
SHE SAYS... WHEN IT COMES TO VOTING... THE EARLIER... THE BETTER.
AMY AUBERT... 13 WMAZ... EYEWITNESS NEWS.>>
WATSON SAYS... AS OF 5 O'CLOCK TODAY... 107 PEOPLE CAST VOTES TODAY.
EARLY VOTING ENDS JULY 15TH.
THIS MORNING DURING OUR MORNIN' GRIND SEGMENT.. WE TALKED ABOUT USING SPECIAL INGREDIENTS TO ENHANCE YOUR COFFEE.
AND ON OUR 13WMAZ DOT COM FACEBOOK PAGE WE WANTED TO KNOW WHAT YOU USE TO SPICE UP YOUR DRINK.
ONE USER SAYS SHE USES HONEY INSTEAD OF SUGAR.
THIS USER SAYS VANILLA ALMOND MILK... SO YUMMY!
ANOTHER USER SAYS A DASH OF SALT GIVES IT A NICE SMOOTH TASTE.
AND THIS PERSON SAYS MIX EQUAL PARTS GROUND COFFEE BEANS AND CAYANNE PEPPER POWDER.
IF YOU MISSED TODAY'S MORNIN' GRIND SEGMENT... VISIT OUR WEBSITE.. 13WMAZ DOT COM AND LOOK FOR IT ON THE VIDEO PAGE.