Tuesday, October 18, Eyewitness News at 11

6:58 PM, Oct 17, 2011   |    comments
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GOOD EVENING AND THANKS FOR JOINING US..
I'M FRANK MALLOY..
AND I'M LEAH JOHNSON..THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT 11.

THE ATTORNEY FOR WARNER ROBINS CITY COUNCILMAN JOHN WILLIAMS SAYS HE'S CONFIDENT HIS CLIENT WILL BEAT FEDERAL EXTORTION CHARGES.
A FEDERAL GRAND JURY LAST WEEK INDICTED WILLIAMS ON THREE COUNTS...
AND THIS AFTERNOON ...WILLIAMS PLEADED NOT GUILTY TO ALL THREE.
AFTER THAT HEARING...WE TRIED TO SPEAK TO WILLIAMS AS HE AND HIS WIFE LEFT THE FEDERAL COURTHOUSE IN DOWNTOWN MACON.
THE FEDERAL INDICTMENT SAYS IT ALL CAME ABOUT.... DURING THE PURCHASE OF A TRUCK BY THE CITY... FOR THE POLICE DEPARTMENT.
THE COURT DOCUMENT SAYS WILLIAMS EXTORTED A 17 HUNDRED 20 DOLLAR COMMISSION ON THAT CAR SALE.
THAT'S THE FIRST CHARGE AGAINST HIM... EXTORTION UNDER COLOR OF OFFICIAL RIGHT.
THEN... HE ALLEGEDLY LIED TO F-B-I AGENTS INVESTIGATING THE SALE.
THAT'S THE SECOND COUNT.... FALSE STATEMENTS TO A FEDERAL AGENCY.
FINALLY...WILLIAMS ALLEGEDLY TRIED TO CONVINCE ANOTHER PERSON NOT TO COOPERATE FULLY WITH AUTHORITIES.
THAT COUNT IS "TAMPERING WITH A WITNESS".
AFTER TODAY'S HEARING...WILLIAMS WAS RELEASED ON A 10-THOUSAND DOLLARS UNSECURED BOND.
HE FACES UP TO 20 YEARS IN PRISON ON COUNTS ONE AND THREE... FIVE YEARS ON THE SECOND COUNT....AND A POSSIBLE QUARTER OF A MILLION DOLLAR FINE ON ALL THREE.
HIS LAWYER...CHARLES COX...SAYS HE AND WILLIAMS BOTH BELIEVE HE'LL BE FOUND INNOCENT.
"He has entered a not guilty plea and he believes at the end of this process he will still be not guilty"
WILLIAMS STILL FACES CRIMINAL CHARGES FOR ALLEGEDLY LYING TO WARNER ROBINS POLICE...ABOUT A STOLEN CITY CELL PHONE LAST YEAR.
THE LAURENS COUNTY D-A'S OFFICE SAYS HIS JURY TRIAL...ON A CHARGE OF MAKING FALSE STATEMENTS TO POLICE...IS SCHEDULED FOR NOVEMBER 7TH.

MAYOR CHUCK SHAHEEN SAID HE LEARNED ABOUT THE INDICTMENT AGAINST WILLIAMS EARLY THIS AFTERNOON.
LORRA LYNCH JONES SPOKE WITH HIM BY PHONE.
<< MAYOR CHUCK SHAHEEN SAID BY PHONE THAT HE'S SURPRISED ANY OF THIS WOULD HAPPEN... AND THAT IT'S A BAD DAY FOR THE CITY OF WARNER ROBINS.
SHAHEEN SAID WILLIAMS WIFE.. ELENOR.... CALLED HIS SECRETARY... FAYE COULTER... AROUND TWO THIS AFTERNOON.
HE SAID SHE HYSTERICAL.... AND THOUGHT THE CALL WAS ABOUT WILLIAMS SUFFERING A SECOND HEART ATTACK.
SHAHEEN SAID HE AND COULTER DROVE TO THE WILLIAMS HOME ON MCARTHUR BOULEVARD... WHERE THEY FOUND AN F-B-I AGENT TALKING TO WILLIAMS AND HIS WIFE... AND THEN... HEARD THE CHARGES AGAINST HIM.
SHAHEEN SAYS COULTER DROVE MRS. WILLIAMS TO THE FEDERAL COURTHOUSE IN MACON.. AND HE FOLLOWED BEHIND THEM IN HIS OWN CAR.
HE SAID HE WOULD'VD DONE THAT FOR ANY COUCNILMAN... BUT HE DID NOT STAY FOR THE COURT HEARING.
SHAHEEN SAID HE FELT VERY BAD FOR THE WILLIAMS... BECAUSE IT WAS THEIR 52ND WEDDING ANNIVERSARY.
HE SAID HE DOESN'T KNOW THE FACTS OF THE CASE... ONLY WHAT HE HEARD ON THE NEWS.
SHAHEEN WOULD NOT ANSWER A QUESTION ABOUT WHETHER HE HAD TALKED TO F-B-I INVESTIGATORS HIMSELF.
HE ADDED THAT THIS IS THE CITY COUNCIL THE PEOPLE ELECTED... AND THAT HE'S TRYING TO MAKE THE BEST OF THE SITUATION... WITH THE HAND HE'S BEEN DEALT.
STD>>

CITY ATTORNEY JIM ELLIOTT SAID THIS INDICTMENT WOULD NOT AFFECT WILLIAM'S STANDING ON COUNCIL.
HE SAID TO BE REMOVED... A PANEL APPOINTED BY THE GOVERNOR WOULD HAVE TO DECIDE THAT THE CHARGE AFFECTS WILLIAM'S DUTIES IN OFFICE.
ELLIOTT SAID HE'S NOT SUBJECT TO RECALL BY THE VOTERS... BECAUSE HIS TERM ENDS NEXT MONTH.
WILLIAMS IS SEEKING RE-ELECTION AND FACES TWO CHALLENGERS IN THIS YEAR'S ELECTION.

SPONSORS OF A LAW THAT WOULD BAN SMOKING IN MACON'S BARS AND RESTAURANTS.... DID NOT BRING IT BACK UP BEFORE FULL COUNCIL TONIGHT... AND THEY SAY EFFORTS TO GET IT PASSED MAY BE OVER.
EARLIER IN THE WEEK.... COUNCIL SPONSORS OF THE LAW SAID THEY PLANNED TO ASK COUNCIL TO VOTE ON THE ISSUE... DESPITE THE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE VOTING IT DOWN.
BUT WITH TWO COUNCIL MEMBERS ABSENT... CO-SPONSOR OF THE LAW NANCY WHITE SAYS SHE DIDN'T BRING THE ISSUE UP... FOR FEAR THEY WOULDN'T HAVE THE EIGHT VOTES NECCESSARY TO DISAGREE WITH THE COMMITTEE.
NOW SHE SAYS...SHE'S UNSURE IF SPONSORS WILL CONTINUE EFFORTS TO PASS THE LAW.

WARREN COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL'S FOOTBALL COACH RETURNED TO THE HOSPITAL TODAY AFTER HE WAS REPORTEDLY BEATEN WITH A FOOTBALL HELMET AFTER FRIDAY NIGHT'S GAME IN HANCOCK COUNTY.
WARREN SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT CAROL JEAN CAREY SAID MONDAY THAT HEAD COACH DAVE DANIEL WAS BEATEN BY A HANCOCK COUNTY PLAYER FRIDAY NIGHT.
SHE SAID SHE PLANS TO ASK THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE TO INVESTIGATE.
CAREY SAYS A HANCOCK CENTRAL PLAYER HIT COACH DAVE DANIEL IN THE FACE WITH A HELMET.
SHE SAYS DANIEL UNDERWENT SURGERY AND WAS RELEASED FROM THE HOSPITAL... BUT RETURNED TODAY FOR EVALUATION.
GEORGIA HIGH SCHOOL ASSOCIATION DIRECTOR... RALPH SWEARINGEN SAYS THEY ARE INVESTIGATING THE FIGHT BUT SAYS IT'S TOO EARLY TO SAY WHAT ACTION IF ANY THEY WILL TAKE.
BUT SWEARINGEN SAYS THERE NO ROOM FOR THAT TYPE OF VIOLENCE.... IN SPORTS.
We'll it's sickening, in here we get upset when we have two kids fight on the field during a gameThose are unsportsman like behaviors that we don't like. So, obviously, something of this magnitude escalates our concern and so, yes, it's very bothersome to us.
HANCOCK COUNTYS CHOOL SUPERINTENDENT GWENDOLYN REEVES READ A STATEMENT TODAY BUT WOULD NOT ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED FRIDAY NIGHT.

DURING NEXT YEAR'S PRIMARY ELECTIONS... VOTERS IN 11 CENTRAL GEORGIA COUNTIES WILL DECIDE WHETHER TO APPROVE A ONE-CENT REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION SALES TAX.
BIBB COUNTY COMMISSION CHAIRMAN SAM HART SAYS THE TAX WOULD BRING IN ABOUT A BILLION DOLLARS OVER TEN YEARS... AND THAT EACH COUNTY WOULD GET MONEY FOR ROAD PROJECTS.
IN BIBB COUNTY... HART SAID THOSE PROJECTS INCLUDE WIDENING BASS ROAD BETWEEN ZEBULON ROAD AND RIVERSIDE DRIVE... AND IMPROVING THE INTERCHANGE AT I-16 AND I-75.
Sam Hart, Bibb Commission Chairman:So this things are regional projects so I think if we are able to put these things in place would have a tremendous impact economic impact on the region"
HART SAYS THE TAX WILL PASS OR FAIL BY A MAJORITY VOTE FOR THE ENTIRE AREA... AND THAT MANY OF THE PROJECTS ON THE LIST WOULDN'T BE DONE WITHOUT THAT TAX.
BIBB... CRAWFORD... HOUSTON... JONES... PUTNAM AND TWIGGS COUNTIES ARE INCLUDED IN THOSE 11 COUNTIES.

BIBB COUNTY SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT ROMAIN DALLEMAND MEET WITH COUNTY COMMISSIONERS TODAY TO DISCUSS A STRATEGIC PLAN FOR THE SCHOOL DISTRICT.
Dr. Romain Dallemand, School Superintendent "We're going to talk about the system as a whole and how we can work collaboratively to improve the system and to ensure that each and everyone of our students receive the education neccessary in order to be successful in the 21st century multi-ethnical economy"
DALLEMAND SAYS THE SCHOOL DISTRICT... COUNTY AND OTHER AGENCIES WILL NEED TO WORK TOGETHER TO IMPROVE EDUCATIONAL CONCERNS IN THE COMMUNITY.

IN TECH HEADLINES THIS WEEK... APPLE WILL CLOSE ITS RETAIL STORES FOR SEVERAL HOURS TOMORROW... SO WORKERS CAN WATCH A WEBCAST OF A MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR EMPLOYEES TO CELEBRATE THE LIFE OF CO-FOUNDER STEVE JOBS.
THE MEMORIAL WILL BE HELD AT
10 A-M AT APPLE'S CUPERTINO HEADQUARTERS... AND THE COMPANY SAYS IT'S A PRIVATE EVENT.
APPLE DOESN'T PLAN TO HOLD ANY PUBLIC SERVICES FOR JOBS... WHO DIED EARLIER THIS MONTH.
MOTOROLA PLANS TO BRING BACK THE "RAZ-R" NAME... ONCE ATTACHED TO THE BEST-SELLING PHONE IN THE WORLD.
THE NEWEST RAZ-R WILL BE A THIN SMARTPHONE... THAT WILL RUN GOOGLE'S ANDROID SOFTWARE.
THE PHONE WILL RUN ON VERIZON'S 4-G NETWORK.
PREORDERS START NEXT THURSDAY.
THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION IS WORKING TO CONTROL SO-CALLED "BILL SHOCK" FOR WIRELESS USERS.
AS PART OF THAT... MANY MAJOR CELL PHONE COMPANIES HAVE PLEDGED TO WARN CUSTOMERS BEFORE THEY GO OVER MONTHLY LIMITS FOR MINUTES... MESSAGES AND DATA.
THE COMPANIES SAY THE WARNINGS WILL COME AS TEXT MESSAGES... AND THEY PLAN TO HAVE THE SYSTEM IN PLACE WITHIN TWO YEARS.
FOR MORE OF YOUR TECH HEADLINES... JUST CHECK OUT THE GEEK 13 PAGE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM... YOU'LL FIND THE LINK ON THE SCENE 13 PAGE.

TONIGHT'S FACEBOOK FAN OF THE DAY IS HEATHER HOLTON KENNEDY.
HEATHER... YOU'LL NEED TO EMAIL FAN OF THE DAY AT 13WMAZ DOT COM TO CLAIM YOUR COFFEE MUG.
EVERYDAY... THE BOY SAT BY THE MAILBOX.
AND EVERY DAY... THE MAILMAN ASKED... "WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?"
"MY FAN OF THE DAY MUG," SAID THE BOY.
"WELL, DID YOU GO TO FACEBOOK DOT COM SLASH 13WMAZ?" ASKED THE MAILMAN.
"SURE I DID!" SAID THE BOY.
"DID YOU CLICK THE LIKE BUTTON?"
"OF COURSE!" THE LITTLE BOY REPLIED.
"AND DID YOU JOIN THE CONVERSATIONS?" THE WISE OLD MAILMAN ASKED.
"WELL... NO."
THE MAILMAN SMILED. "THEN SON, YOU'RE NOT QUITE THERE YET."

IT'S TIME TO TAKE A LOOK AT WHERE YOU LIVE.
IT'S A FEATURE ON OUR 13 WMAZ DOT COM HOMEPAGE THAT SHOWCASES NEWS AND EVENTS SPECIFIC TO YOUR COMMUNITY.
TODAY WE'RE TAKING A LOOK AT THE DUBLIN PAGE....STUDENTS AND PARENTS AT DUBLIN CITY SCHOOLS CAN NOW CHECK GRADES ON A FREE I-PHONE APP.
DUBLIN CITY PARENTS CAN SEARCH ...INFINITE CAMPUS MOBILE PORTAL...IN THEIR APP STORE.
TO GET MORE NEWS AND EVENTS IN YOUR COMMUNITY..HEAD OVER TO OUR "WHERE YOU LIVE" FEATURE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.

THANKS FOR JOINING US.... FIRST MORNIN COMES YOUR WAY AT 5 A-M.
THE NEWS IS ALWAYS ON AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.
HAVE A SAFE NIGHT EVERYONE.

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