HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US. I'M FRANK MALLOY..THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX.
IT'S BEEN FOUR WEEKS SINCE MACON POLICE FOUND PART OF LAUREN GIDDINGS' DISMEMBERED BODY OUTSIDE HER DOWNTOWN MACON HOME.
IN THAT TIME... POLICE HAVE NOT NAMED ANY SUSPECTS... OR MADE ANY ARRESTS IN HER KILLING.
LAUREN DISPIRITO SPOKE TO GIDDINGS' SISTER... KAITLYN WHEELER... BY PHONE TODAY... ABOUT THE INVESTIGATION INTO HER SISTER'S UNSOLVED HOMICIDE.
<<Lauren DiSpirito, Eyewitness News: "Describe how do you feel about the police investigation at the point?"
Kaitlyn Wheeler, Laurel, Maryland: "I think I've mentioned before that we are impatient because we want all the answers we can find, but we are not in a rush. We are very confident in the police, the FBI, the GBI and we want them to do the best job they can and if that takes time then that's what it takes."
Lauren DiSpirito, Eyewitness News: "Do you feel like they're doing the best they can right now?"
Kaitlyn Wheeler, Laurel, Maryland: "I do I think they have on the forensic side over 2 hundred pieces of evidence I've heard from I don't even know random people that like every test the FBI runs 24 hours or something like that and they run it at least 3 times per piece of evidence who knows if that's true or not but if you think of it like that it definitely is time consuming. We want this to be 100 percent sure we don't want well it might have been this or it may have been this person, so we're willing to wait."
Lauren DiSpirito, Eyewitness News: "What have police told you about who they think killed Lauren?"
Kaitlyn Wheeler, Laurel, Maryland: "They haven't. They've said there are several people of interest, that was on Saturday when Chief Burns was on FOX and that's the last I've heard."
Lauren DiSpirito, Eyewitness News: "To the media they've identified Stephen McDaniel, Lauren's neighbor, as a person of interest, have they said they're leaning towards him in the investigation?"
Kaitlyn Wheeler, Laurel, Maryland: "They have not said that."
Lauren DiSpirito, Eyewitness News: "You know, are you frustrated that police haven't been able to tell you more about who they think did this?"
Kaitlyn Wheeler, Laurel, Maryland: "Yeah frustrated but I understand why they can't and I don't want them to compromise the case in any way. Obviously I think they can trust us to tell us stuff that we won't repeat but it's hard when you have a family and one thing leads to another you can't remember what you've been told and what the media has said and there's so many rumors going around it's just safer for the investigation to keep it tight lipped.">>
THE ONLY PERSON OF INTEREST NAMED IN GIDDINGS' DEATH IS HER NEIGHBOR....
HE'S BEEN IN JAIL FOR ALMOST A MONTH ON TWO BURGLARY CHARGES. POLICE SAY THE CHARGES ARE NOT RELATED TO THE GIDDINGS CASE.
HE WAS ARRESTED A DAY AFTER GIDDINGS BODY WAS FOUND.
SOME VIEWERS HAVE ASKED WHY MCDANIEL HAS NOT BEEN GRANTED BAIL ON THE BURGLARY CHARGES.
POLICE SAY THEY ARRESTED HIM FOR STEALING A CONDOM FROM A NEIGHBOR .... SOMETIME IN 2008 OR 2009.
BOND WAS SET AT 8 THOUSAND 4 HUNDRED AND 50 DOLLARS..
BUT BEFORE HE COULD MAKE BOND, POLICE ADDED A SECOND BURGLARY CHARGE A FEW HOURS LATER.
HE WENT BEFORE A MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
THE JUDGE SAID THAT BECAUSE MCDANIEL NOW FACED TWO FELONY CHARGES...NOT JUST ONE..... BOND COULD ONLY BE SET BY A SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE.
MCDANIEL'S ATTORNEY... FLOYD BUFORD... THEN REQUESTED BOND IN SUPERIOR COURT.
BUT HE WITHDREW THE REQUEST.
INSTEAD HE ASKED A JUDGE TO DECIDE WHETHER BIBB COUNTY PROSECUTORS HAD A CONFLICT OF INTEREST BECAUSE MCDANIEL INTERNED IN THEIR OFFICE AS A CLERK.
SO MCDANIEL CONTINUED TO REMAIN IN JAIL.
THIS WEEK.. A JUDGE RULED THERE WAS NO CONFLICT OF INTEREST.
...AND MCDANIEL'S ATTORNEY FILED A NEW REQUEST FOR BOND
BECAUSE OF THE COURT CALENDAR.... THAT BOND HEARING WON'T BE HELD UNTIL AUGUST FOURTH.
DISTRICT ATTORNEY GREG WINTERS WOULD NOT COMMENT ON WHETHER HE'LL OPPOSE BOND FOR MCDANIEL AT THAT HEARING.
THE MACON TRANSIT AUTHORITY SAYS MAYORAL CANDIDATE C-JACK ELLIS AND A SUPPORTER WERE OUT OF LINE.
ELLIS SAYS THE CITY BUS LINE...IS TRYING TO INFRINGE ON HIS RIGHTS.
ELEANOR LISSITZYN EXPLAINS.
C JACK ELLIS SAYS HE HAS THE RIGHT TO CAMPAIGN IN AND OUTSIDE TERMINAL STATION, AND HE'LL CONTINUE TO DO SO.
THATS AFTER THE MACON TRANSIT AUTHORITY LOOKED AT CREATING A POLICY THAT WOULD KEEP CANDIDATES FROM CAMPAIGNING INSIDE THE BUS STATION.
Jack Ellis: "Anytime that you can knock down barriers to voting, such as offering people a free ride to the polls, then we ought to do it.
TRANSIT AUTHORITY GENERAL MANAGER RICK JONES SAYS AN ARGUEMENT THAT TOOK PLACE INSIDE TERMINAL STATION ON ELECTION DAY IS AN EXAMPLE OF WHY THEY WANT TO CREATE THE POLICY.
IN THIS SURVEILLANCE VIDEO YOU CAN SEE A CAMPAIGN SUPPORTER IN AN ELLIS TEE SHIRT AND JONES INVOLVED IN WHAT HE CALLED AN AGRUEMENT.
JONES SAYS THE VOLUNTEER WAS AGGRESSIVE... AND THREATED TO HAVE HIM FIRED IF HE DIDN'T SUPPORT ELLIS.
"Let me say that that's not the tone of my campaign. We do not condone that type of behavior."
ACCORDING TO MATT CARROTHERS OF THE GEORGIA SECRETARAY OF STATE'S OFFICE, THERE IS NO LAW THAT MAKES IT ILLEGAL FOR CANDIDATES TO CAMPAIGN INSIDE THIS BUS STATION
BUT WHAT ABOUT A CANDIDATE COMPENSATING A VOTER FOR A BUS TICKET?
THIS VIDEO TAKEN ON ELECTION DAY ALLEGEDLY SHOWS ELLIS PULLING OUT HIS WALLET WHILE CAMPAIGNING IN THE BUS STATION.
ELLIS SAYS HE HELPS PEOPLE OUT WITH BUS FARE ALL THE TIME.
I ASKED HIM IF HE GAVE ANY VOTERS BUS FARE IN EXCHANGE FOR LETTING HIM DRIVE THEM TO THE POLLS.
HERE'S WHAT HE HAD TO SAY.
"Let me tell you one thing. And I want to make sure this is loud and clear. For you to even ask that question. President Obama says we're in the 'silly season' of politics. To even ask such a question is an insult to think that as hard as African Americans had to work to get the right to vote, that we would sell our vote for a dollars and quarter, or that I would stoop so low to think someone would be stupid enough to to sell their vote for a dollar and a quarter. Shame on you."
CARROTHERS SAYS THERE IS NOTHING ILLEGAL ABOUT CANDIDATE'S COMPENSATING PEOPLE FOR BUS TICKETS.
HE SAYS IT WOULD ONLY BE ILLEGAL IF A CANDIDATE OFFERED SOMEBODY MONEY IN DIRECT EXHANGE FOR THEIR VOTE... WHCIH ELLIS SAYS NEVER HAPPENED.
ACCORDING TO MATT CARROTHERS OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE.... GEORGIA LAW SAYS YOU CAN'T CAMPAIGN WITHIN 150 FEET OF A POLLING PLACE WHEN VOTING'S UNDER WAY...AND CAN'T PUT UP SIGNS ON PUBLIC PROPERTY.
BUT NOTHING SAYS YOU CAN'T CAMPAIGN OR HAND OUT FLIERS IN A PUBLIC BUILDING.
ELLIS AND MAYOR ROBERT REICHERT FACE OFF IN AN AUGUST 16TH RUNOFF.
GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL SPENT THE DAY IN CENTRAL GEORGIA..
HIS AGENDA INCLUDED JOBS....ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT...AND A VISIT TO THE STATE'S LARGEST EMPLOYER....ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE.
RANDALL SAVAGE INTERVIEWED THE GOVERNOR AT A COUPLE OF HIS STOPS.
<<GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL INCLUDED ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE ON HIS FIVE-STOP VISIT TO THE MIDSTATE.
AND AIR LOGISTICS CENTER COMMANDER MAJOR GENERAL ROBERT MCMAHON DISCUSSED BASE OPERATIONS WITH THE GOVERNOR BEFORE TAKING HIM ON A BUS TOUR.
AFTERWARDS.. DEAL CALLED THE BASE AN ECONOMIC ASSET THAT WOULD BE READY IF THERE'S ANOTHER ROUND OF BASE CLOSINGS.
Nathan Deal, Governor: "One of the important ingredients that the commission looks at is does the community support what's going on here and that's one of the places where Georgia ranks very high and certainly the Warner Robins area ranks very high in that regard."
LATER DEAL ATTENDED AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE AT MACON STATE COLLEGE.. DEAL SAYS HE SUPPORTS A REGIONAL ONE-CENT SALES TAX TO PAY FOR LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS.
Nathan Deal, Governor: This is an opportunity for people in local communities to have a sayso in the selection process of what roads will be improved. What new roads will be built. What bridges will be built, etc.
MACON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PRESIDENT CHIP CHERRY LIKED DEAL'S SUPPORT OF TECHNICAL COLLEGES.
Chip Cherry, Chamber President: "I think what he was alluding to was the role that the technical colleges play in helping reeducate our workforce so they're ready for the jobs that are available now."
AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT HEAD PAT TOPPING EMBRACED THE GOVERNOR'S COMMENTS ON REGIONS WORKING TOGETHER TO HELP EACH OTHER.
Pat Topping, Economic Development: "I think that at the economic development community level that we understand regionalism and understand the benefits of how it can all help us do a better job."
RANDALL SAVAGE.. 13 WMAZ.. EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>>WHILE IN THE MIDSTATE.. DEAL ALSO TOURED THE BOEING PLANT IN SOUTH MACON.. AND MET WITH STATE REPRESENTATIVE NIKKI RANDALL.. A MACON DEMOCRAT.. AND SENIOR MEMBER OF THE BIBB LEGISLATIVE DELEGATION.
TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL ASKS... DO YOU APPROVE OF THE JOB GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL HAS DONE SO FAR?
SO FAR 61 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YES... YOU DO.
39 PERCENT OF YOU SAY YOU DON'T.
YOU HAVE UNTIL MIDNIGHT TO VOTE... LOOK FOR THE QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE HOMEPAGE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.
THE SOUTHEAST REGION LITTLE LEAGUE COMPETITION KICKED OFF TODAY WITH EIGHT TEAMS JOCKEYING FOR A TRIP TO OREGON.
SUZANNE LAWLER IS JOINING US TO LET US KNOW HOW THINGS WENT FOR TEAM GEORGIA..
FRANK GEORGIA HIT THE FIELD TODAY AGAINST TENNESSEE IN THE FIRST OF THREE POOL GAMES ...
THE GEORGIA CHAMPS ARE FROM CARTERSVILLE IN BARTOW COUNTY.
EARLY ON ALIZA BAKER HAD A HARD GO OF IT.
TOP OF THE FIRST WITH ONE RUN WALKED IN AND ANOTHER COMING IN OFF A WILD PITCH CHRISTINA BELVINS CONNECTS AND BRINGS IN ABBY HARRISON... ITS 3-0 TENNESSEE.
SAME INNING FIRST BASEMAN RHETTA PERSINGER BLASTS ONE TO RIGHT FIELD... ANOTHER RUN SCORES AND WE'RE AT 4-0
TOP OF THE SECOND ABBY HARRISON WITH A MONSTER HIT ... THEY'VE GOT TO RUN FOR THAT ONE IN THE OUTFIELD... SHE ROUND THE BASES AND SHE'S GONNA GO FOR HOME.
SHE'S GOT THE TIME BUT THE UMPIRE CALLS HER OUT AT THE PLATE BECAUSE SHE SLID HEAD FIRST... THAT'S AGAINST LITTLE LEAGUE RULES.
TENNESSEE TAKES IT 13-4..AND NOW THE GEORGIA KIDS WILL HAVE TO REBOUND.
EARLIER TODAY FLORIDA BEAT WEST VIRGINIA 10-NOTHING AND THE GAME ENDED IN THE MERCY RULE.
FLORIDA'S TAITE POWELL PITCHED A ONE HITTER.
HERE'S A CLARIFICATION TO OUR STORY ON THE MAYOR'S RACE.
THERE WILL BE A NOVEMBER VOTE FOR MAYOR.
THE MAYORAL ELECTION IS NOT FINAL...UNTIL AFTER THAT VOTE.
IN A LITTLE LESS THAN A WEEK... KIDS IN MILLEDGEVILLE WILL HEAD BACK TO SCHOOL.
BUT NOT EVERYONE... CAN AFFORD THE SUPPLIES... NEEDED TO FILL THEIR BACKPACKS.
COMMUNITIES IN SCHOOLS IN MILLEDGEVILLE AND BALDWIN COUNTY... IS STEPPING IN...
IT'S A STORY THAT COMES STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART.
THEY'RE HOLDING A SECOND ANNUAL BACK TO SCHOOL DRIVE... AND THIS YEAR... THEY'RE TEAMING UP WITH WAL-MART AND GEORGIA COLLEGE.
IT'S CALLED STUFF THE BUS... AND THEY PLAN TO FILL THE BIG YELLOW... WITH EVERYTHING KIDS NEED... BEFORE HITTING THE BOOKS.
THE DRIVE RUNS THROUGH AUGUST 8TH... AND IS HELD AT THE WAL-MART ON NORTH COLUMBIA STREET IN MILLEDGEVILLE.
THANKS FOR JOINING US.... WE'LL BE BACK TONIGHT AT 11.
BUT REMEMBER...THE NEWS IS ALWAYS ON AT 13WMAZ.COM !
THE EVENING NEWS IS UP NEXT.
HAVE A SAFE NIGHT EVERYONE.