Eyewitness News at 6, 8-23-12

6:17 PM, Aug 23, 2012   |    comments
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It was day four in the James "eddy" Clements trial...and this afternoon, the accused gunman took the stand.

Richard Sybert testified to killing Joni Clements in February of 2011.

Austin Lewis was there for his testimony...and has more.

< Richard Sybert said Eddy Clements gave him a key to the couple's home...

and he says he used that key to walk right in.

Richard Sybert said inside...he told Joni Clements...he had a key...from her husband.

He told jurors that he did that to keep Joni calm...but once she saw the gun she said Oh my god don't shoot me. ...And offered him money.

He said that he told her to go up the stairs...where she once again begged for her life...he told jurors that I couldn't listen to that one more time so I shot her four times.

But he also clearly implicated Clements...for hiring him.

He said, "that's why all three of us are here cause I confessed. I'm a man. That's a coward right there", gesturing to Clements.

At the end of Richard Sybert's testimony...Houston County District Attorney George Hartwig showed him what investigators say was the murder weapon.

He told Sybert to look at the gun...and Sybert was visibly upset...and said he didn't want to see it.

Then the defense got their chance to talk to cross-examine Richard Sybert.

Franklin Hogue asked Sybert about inconsistencies between today's testimony....and earlier interviews with law enforcement.

One of those inconsistencies....Sybert reporteldy told a Florida Detective that he killed Joni Clements because Eddy Clements and his father threatened to kill his younger brother Jonathan Sybert.

Sybert did not mention that when he testified for the prosecution today.

But when Hogue questioned....Richard Sybert said yes...that was one reason he killed Joni.

` I'll have more on this at 11 pm. >

Bibb County has two finalists to run its troubled animal shelter... But the controversy about shelter leadership isn't over.

Records show one of the contenders...left his job under less than ideal circumstances.

Richard Rice is a former vice president of the Atlanta Humane Society.

He left his job this spring after Fox 5 in Atlanta reported that the society failed to report hundreds of parvo cases.

A statement posted on the humane society web site in May says....quote....

"The internal investigation that focused on the Department of Agriculture not receiving contagious disease reports from Atlanta Humane Society is complete. Richard Rice is no longer an Atlanta Humane Society active employee."

Bibb County search committee chairman Lonzy Edwards would not comment on Rice as a candidate.

The other finalist is Sarah Tenon...Supervisor of the Mobile, Alabama County Animal Shelter..

County commissioners say they'll be ready to name a new director next month.

Meanwhile, the Bibb County Animal Shelter is open again...after its own parvo problems.

A parvo case forced shelter workers to euthanize a dog...and close the shelter for cleanup yesterday.

But the shelter says a state inspector cleared them to reopen this afternoon.

This weekend, friends of Houston teen Kyle Hillock, who was killed in an accident this week, will release balloons in his memory.

The ceremony will take place at noon Saturday...at the student parking lot at Veterans High School.

Anyone who wants to take part...can decorate their own balloons with a personal message written on them.

The 17 year old Hillock was killed Monday in a crash with a tractor trailer at Thompson Mill Road and Highway 96 in Houston County.

Tropical storm Isaac isn't just threatening land with high winds and heavy rain...


It's also threatening the Republicans'....big election-year party.

<five days from now we kick off the convention.>

Preparations are underway in Tampa, Florida, for the Republican National Convention next week.

But while scaffolds go up, chairs are placed, and banners hung...many planners' attention is on the weather.

The RNC says.. It has contingency plans in place... In case Isaac shows up as an univited guest... But wouldn't say what those plans are.

Now with the Republican convention approaching...and the Democratic National Committee convening next month...we asked on 13WMAZ today... How much will you watch from the events?

Nine percent of you say... A lot... 34 percent say... A little...but 57 percent of you say, none at all.

To vote now... Visit 13WMAZ.com.

Look for the question on the right side of the homepage. The Bronze Star Medal is the U-S military's fourth highest combat award.

Now one Central Georgia Airman has earned the medal...for acts of valor.

Brittiny Barber has more.

<I'm here to tell you that this may be the first and the last time that you guys see such an award. The reason is because it's rare.>

Master Sergeant Gene Jameson was given the Bronze Star with Valor... But to find out how he got here.. You'd have to walk in his boots on August 20, 2011

< I was stationed in Afghanistan and we got attacked by insurgents >

< We had rocket fire coming in to the compound and on the particular night the smoke plumes looked like they would touch the heavens. >

< I had my guys start knocking buildings down, creating a fire break. As we were doing that, I stumbled, literally tripped over two crates of shoulder launch rockets anti-tank rocket. >

< He knew if that wasn't dealt with the 50 airmen, soldiers, sailors, marines, cost guardsmen and allies that were involved in dealing with this inferno.. They were being put in harms way. >

That's when Jameson and another Airman went to work.

< We had about a 150 yard long by about 6 foot wide area that we could get through. We picked up the crates we laded them up to a pallet jack that we found in some burning rubble and pushed it out. >

Fellow serviceman Master Sergeant Milo Gibson was stationed on the compound. He says without Jameson's bravery... Things could have been drastically different that night.

< We'd Have lost Bagram Air Field was had already lost 5 acres.. Who knows how may night would have ended if he wouldn't have done what he did>

Their hair was burned off of his arms. His uniformed was charred.

The description of the man honored as a true American hero.

Brittiny Barber 13wmaz eyewitness news

Jameson says the 5-acre fire destroyed 80 to 90 buildings...but only minor injuries were reported.

Jameson's wife Jessica attended today's ceremony.

They have two sons and have lived in Central Georgia since 2010.

Not many people like walking down a dark alley.

But Macon's downtown development authority won an award for showing that bright alleys...can lead to some fun spots.

Tom George has more.

It's somewhat of a hidden world ... Right in downtown Macon

<the contemporary arts exchange .. Michael's on Mulberry .. 2nd Street's over here..>

The city is working step by step to revitalize its network of alley ways from this ... To This .

<we have this great historic grid that our historic buildings line and we kind of turned our back on the fact that these alleys can be great asset to the liveability and walkability of our community >

That grabbed the attention of the Georgia Downtown Association, which awarded the city its Best Design Improvement Award.

<now a lot of people think walking down the middle of alleyway, especially a long one like this isnt exactly safe, but the city says with new faving, new light fixtures and a better ambience, this area will be better for businesses and pedestrians. >

<I like lighting design .. I like the light fixtures that they chose ... I think they look really classic and they really suit the alleys>

<I think more people would come as long as it looks appealing and people feel safe. >

As of now, just a few restaurants actually have entrances on alley ways ... Like Tokyo Alley and Ninja Japanese Restaurant. ... Although business is good, they say some people think they're hard to find.


<it's out of the way a little bit .. It's kind of hidden so it's fun when they find it. >

Once the project is complete, restaurants will have added space and people in the community will be able to gather...

And while some locals are put off by the idea of walking through alleys, Jim Brimer says his fellow Maconites should give it a try.

<it's not the easiest place to get to, but a lot of the best places when you travel are hard to get to and making it more lit and a more pleasant place to be in, I think it's a great idea. >

In Macon, Tom George, 13WMAZ Eyewitness News.

The downtown development authority has more plans for sprucing up some of the city's alleys...like building small fences around dumpsters...to make them less visible.

Bobby Gale...is the Republican candidate for State Senate District 26....

He will meet David Lucas this November...after Lucas beat incumbent Miriam Paris in Tuesday's primary run-off.

Mr. Gale, thank you for joining us.

1. Why are you running?

2. What would be your first priority if you were elected?

3. What did Senator Paris do right? What would you have done differently?


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