Eyewitness News at 11, 8-29-12

10:51 PM, Aug 29, 2012   |    comments
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<I think this court ought to give this defendant the exact same thing that he gave Joni Clements.>

George Hartwig...Houston County's District attorney...asking the court to give James Eddy Clements a life sentence with-out parole today.

Clements is the Warner Robins man convicted of hiring two men to shoot his wife to death back in February of 2011.

Hello everyone. I'm Frank Malloy.

 

And I'm Leah Johnson.

Thanks for joining us.

Our top story tonight..., James *eddy* Clements will spend the rest of his life in jail without the possibility of parole.

That's what Judge Edward Lukemire ruled this afternoon...

Clements was convicted of hiring a father and son to kill his wife.

Richard Sybert...the man who admitted to shooting Joni Clements...also was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

Sybert's father, Robert, who admitted to driving his son in the getaway car....was sentenced to 30 years.

Austin Lewis was in court and has more on today's developments.

Before Judge Edward Lukemire made his decision on the sentence for James *eddy* Clements ... he heard statements from Joni Clements' sister.

Felicia Richardson...a crime victim advocate...read remarks from Tomi Roeske...who asked the judge to consider giving Clements life without parole.

<Felicia: her murder has tainted memories of the past and memories are all that I have left. >

Then Judge Lukemire heard from defense attorney...Laura Hogue...

<Laura Hogue: You spent a week hearing only about this event >

Hogue asked the judge to consider life with the possibility of parole. She says she presented letters to Judge Lukemire that show that Clements has been a source of strength and support for his family....and argued that he has no criminal history.

<Laura Hogue: To know that Mr. Clements sits here in his mid-50s never ever having been conflicted of any sort of offense. >

The prosecution told Judge Lukemire that they would be asking for life without parole, asking the court to think of what Joni Clements went through...when she faced Richard Sybert's gun.

During the trial, Sybert testified, Joni begged for her life in the moments before he shot her...saying he couldn't listen to her anymore.

<Hartwig: There were certainly some moments where she knew she had no hope to escape that situation and she was in fact going to die and I think this court ought to give this defendant the exact same thing that he gave Joni Clements. >

<Judge Lukemire: The evidence indicates that what you did was calculated and cold blooded, because of that as to count one I will sentence you to life without the possibility of parole.

That report was from 13WMAZ's Austin Lewis...who has been covering the story through-out the trial.

Tonight, she also spoke to Tomi Roeske...Joni's sister, who said that she believe the sentences for James *Eddy* Clements and Robert and Richard Sybert were all fair.

She says she's glad that there was justice for her sister...but wishes that Clements would take it a step further.

<tomi Roeske: I really wish that Mr. Clements could show the same level of courage and humanity that the Syberts did by admitting his guilt. I understand they have a plea agreement but they still admitted what they did wrong and Mr. Clements has not done that. >

She also says that she feels for Eddy's mother and sister.

She added that she thinks Warner Robins Police and the District Attorney's office did a great job with her sister's case.

Our other story tonight...the track of what is now Tropical Storm Isaac... Downgraded this afternoon...but still creating headaches for much of the gulf coast.

In a moment, we'll bring you an update from New Orleans.

But first, let's check in with Chief Meteorologist Ben Jones in the 13WMAZ weather center for a look at conditions now.

Isaac may have been downgraded, but heavy rains may continue for days.

The threat now: rising waters.

As Drew Levinson tells us, all eyes are on New Orleans...just like they were seven years ago.

Isaac has been downgraded to a Tropical Storm - but it's still packing a punch along the Gulf Coast.

Evacuations were ordered in troubled areas of Louisiana.. And damage could top one and a half billion dollars.

Drew Levinson has more from New Orleans.

PKG:

((nats-flag flapping))

<

((NARR-1)) Gulfport, Mississippi

THE WIND WHIPPED A TATTERED AMERICAN FLAG AS ISAAC BATTERED GULFPORT, MISSISSIPPI.

THE LARGE, SLOW-MOVING STORM IS CRAWLING ALONG THE GULF COAST DUMPING AS MUCH AS AN INCH OF RAIN PER HOUR.

(nats rain) (WFAA VIDEO NO ACCESS KTVT)

RESCUE TEAMS IN BOATS PLUCKED STRANDED RESIDENTS FROM RISING WATERS, AFTER THE STORM PUSHED WATER OVER THE TOP OF A LEVEE IN PLAQUEMINES (PLACK'-uh-minz) PARISH, SOUTH OF NEW ORLEANS

((SOT)) Carol Hicks/Resident

"this ain't never never happened to us."

 

((NARR-2)) (WFAA VIDEO NO ACCESS KTVT)

FLOODWATERS REACHED 14 FEET DEEP IN SOME PARTS OF THE PARISH. AS MANY AS 800 HOMES COULD HAVE SIGNIFICANT WATER DAMAGE.

 

((SOT)) Billy Nungesser/President of Plaquemines Parish

"we'll be able to rest a little easier knowing all the people are out of harm's way, safely."

 

((NARR-3)) (WFAA VIDEO NO ACCESS KTVT)

70 YEAR OLD FRED LESLIE CRIED WHEN HE GOT TO LAND.

FIREFIGHTERS USED AN AXE TO BREAK OPEN HIS ROOF - RESCUING LESLIE AND HIS DOGS.

THIS IS THE SECOND TIME HE HAS LOST HIS HOME - THE FIRST TIME WAS DURING KATRINA EXACTLY SEVEN YEARS AGO

((sot)) Fred Leslie/Resident (TOO QUICK TO FONT)

"Enough's enough. It's time to go."

((STANDUP BRIDGE)) Drew Levinson, CBS News, New Orleans

HERE IN NEW ORLEANS, THE STREETS ARE MOSTLY EMPTY. YOU MIGHT SEE A FEW STRAGGLERS HERE AND THERE FOR THE MOST PART PEOPLE ARE ABIDING BY THE DUSK TO DAWN CURFEW. IT WAS PUT IN EFFECT TO HELP PREVENT LOOTING.

((NARR-4))

NEW ORLEANS' 14-POINT-6 BILLION DOLLAR LEVEE SYSTEM IS WORKING SO FAR. FLOODING IS MINOR... AND POWER LOSS IS MOSTLY DUE TO WIND - NOT RAIN.

OFFICIALS ARE URGING RESIDENTS IN HARD-HIT OUTLYING AREAS TO REMAIN VIGILANT.

((SOT)) W. Craig Fugate/FEMA

"if you're somewhere safe, stay inside, stay off the roads. This is not over."

((NARR-5))

ISAAC IS EXPECTED TO LINGER INTO FRIDAY.

The first death attributed to Isaac in Louisiana occurred in Vermilon Parish.

Officials say a man fell from a tree trying to help friends prepare for the storm.

Republican National Convention delegates approved a party platform yesterday.

It calls for a complete ban on abortions and a repeal of President Barack Obama's healthcare legislation.

So what is a platform anyway? That's the document that outlines a party's stance on issues., and they're used to encourage like-minded voters to support their candidates.

But they're not binding on the party's candidates... even those who run for the nation's highest office...

And opposing parties can use the party's platform against them.

It's called "the American Dream Platform" and it attacks abortion on several fronts.. It begins by calling for a complete ban.

That differs from the views of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.... who would allow abortion in the event of rape, incest and if the mother's life is threatened.

The abortion plank says Republicans oppose using public money to promote or perform abortions..

It also opposes earmarking public money to any organization that performs abortions or advocates them.

On another issue....Republicans opposed President Obama's healthcare proposal from the start through congressional debates and after the President signed it into law.

In their platform... Republicans call for the repeal of what they call "Obamacare" as soon the next Congress takes office in January. Of course...that can only happen if they win enough seats in the November election.

And if Romney wins the presidency, Republicans want him to use the presidential waiver authority to stop implementation of "Obamacare".... until Congress can repeal it.

Republicans are scheduled to wrap up their national convention in Tampa Thursday night after Romney delivers his acceptance speech.... And when he and vice presidential running mate Paul Ryan parade before delegates.

Democrats are scheduled to hold their convention in Charlotte next week.

President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are expected to be renominated for their respective offices.

You gotta start somewhere.

That's the mantra of Warner Robins city leaders when it comes to changing the face of downtown.

Lorra Lynch Jones explains why they hope one building... Becomes a catalyst for redevelopment.

It may be just a car rental center to some... But to Warner Robins redevelopment director Gary Lee it's the beginning of something big.

<it's the first phase of our redevelopment plan for this entire area here.>

He's talking about the stretch from Commercial Circle to Robins Air Force Base... Formerly known as "jody Town."

<It was Jody because of the airmen and this was their town. Bars and clubs and all that was a part of the atmosphere here.>

<in recent years, some businesses have stayed in the area, many more have moved out, leaving vacant shells, rotting buildings and a less than attractive entrance to Robins Air Force Base>

Geena Dubose... A shop owner on Commercial Circle... did her part for the area's appeal.. Installing a new store front this summer.

<were trying to show the life, show the personality, show that were growing out here and draw attention to the area.>

She says every improvement adds shine.. Toward a polishing this area into a gem.

<we needed to take that first step>

Lee says this building and the new law enforcement center a block away... Set the standard for what's to come.

<we want to create and bring the private sector back down here and create new zoning aspects down here, mixed use development, loft type homes, retail on bottom, lofts on top.>

He evisions a future here that's better than its past... And a vast improvement over the present.

In Warner Robins, Lorra Lynch Jones, 13WMAZ, Eyewitness News.

The city paid for the construction of the car rental center with a price tag of 144-thousand dollars.

Lee says the business is now leasing from the city.

And Here's little background... The city agreed to pay to relocate Thrifty car rental from its Watson Boulevard location... When the space became prime real estate for the new law enforcement center.

This is amateur video from Gulfport, Mississippi ..From crews with our Knoxville sister station, WBIR.

A crew member also heard a roar...and reported seeing swirling debris.

The gusts actually moved the house you saw in that video.

This video was shot...during a National Weather Service tornado warning in Harrison County Mississippi.

Tonight ..time to reveal our Facebook Fan of the Day .. Kenyatta Rumph.

Email fan of the day at 13wmaz dot com to claim your coffee mug.

If you want to be fan of the day... Just visit facebook dot com slash 13WMAZ... Become a fan and join the conversations.

We pick the fan of the day randomly.

 

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