Eyewitness News at 11, 11-13-12

11:58 PM, Nov 13, 2012   |    comments
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<my only sibling had been shot and did not make it. The pain I felt was intense, like someone was ripping my heart out through the soles of my feet. >

That's the sister of Joseph Whitehead...speaking in court on the day the man who admitted to killing her brother...pleaded guilty.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Frank Malloy.

The conclusion of the Damon Jolly trial is our top story tonight.

 

 

In just a moment...Leah Johnson will walk us through exactly what happened in the courtroom today...

as Jolly pleaded guilty and apologized...not only to Whitehead's family...

 

That's the deputy's mother you see there...holding an image of her son's badge..

 

but Jolly also apologized to his own mother, who died within the past month.

We'll get to all that and hear reaction from the courtroom.

First though.... some background on the case.

The fatal shooting happened on March 23, 2006.

That's when Whitehead was part of a Bibb County Drug Task Force Raid on a house on Atherton Street, with Jolly and several others inside. Bullets were fired when the officers entered on a no-knock warrant, and gunfire killed Whitehead.

In the six years since then...one other person was sentenced to life in connection with the case...and other legal proceedings have surrounded three more people at the house.

Jolly was supposed to go to trial later this month...until his lawyer indicated he might be ready to enter a guilty plea.

That takes us to today's proceedings. We go to Leah now for more from the courtroom.

Frank, Damon Jolly is on his way to a facility in Jackson Georgia, before moving to a state prison where he could spend the rest of his life.

Today's guilty plea was entered in exchange for his life--- he had been facing the death penalty.

Jolly took the opportunity to apologize to the Whitehead family as well as his own.

<I wanted to reach out to you all a long time ago, but I didn't know how to go about doing that. I knew you all would need some time before you would even want to hear from me, if you even wanted to hear from me at all which is understandable. But I didn't know how you would react or what your feeling was at the moment, but I don't want you to think that because you hadn't heard from me, that I haven't had no remorse for your husband's death, because I have, So i just want to say to you all again that I am truly sorry for the death of officer whitehead,>

Deputy Whitehead's widow, mother, sister, and other friends and relatives sat in the front row listening to Jolly's apology, then they took the stand to respond.

<I hold you responsible. You are the only person in this room that I hold responsible for taking away our family's pride and our family's joy. This is not about you today, it's about giving honor to my brother. This is the memory that we have to live by. Etchings of his name in stone. Pictures and badges. You can't take away the memories that we have of him the 36 years that he was here. I know that you said you were sorry, today I don't think I can still accept that. There is still so much pain in my heart, and yes it was very cowardly of you to not want to face the death penalty because you know as well as I know that your actions march 23 2006, you deserve to die.>

Jolly's attorney Jeff Grube says his client will be eligible for parole after serving 14 years.

He gets credit for the 6 years already served.

In other news tonight, some water repairs in Jeffersonville might require some residents to prepare for water shortages.

13WMAZ has learned there have been problems with fire hydrant leaks...and the water department has enough money to fix the problem.

Water service will be disrupted between five to seven hours in five locations on different days.

We can help you find out if you might be affected.

For more information on the locations..check out our web story at 13-wmaz-dot-com.

After winning the right to keep their homes, some Twiggs County residents scored another victory in court.

 

 

 

Judge Jon Helton ruled that Allan Evans, the Colorado man who sued more than 40 property owners for more than 400 acres of their land, will now have to pay their lawyer's fees.

Judge Helton ruled that Evans will have to pay a total of more than $100,000 for lawyers representing the land owners, as well as companies who owned some of the land and were also sued.

The ruling came as a win for the residents who have had to spend time and money fighting the case for months.

< People have been under tremendous stress and anxiety. A lot of them have spent all of their adult life paying for their properties and paying on their properties, and then out of the blue comes a bogus claim. >

< A lot of us live day to day,this was unncessary, we didn't need this, and he brought this on, so we feel like, since he brought it on, and he started it , that he needs to be responsible for the finances. >

Evans filed an appeal in the case last Friday .. We tried to reach him for comment in Colorado, but he did not returned our calls.

The scandal surrounding the resignation of CIA director David Petraeus has interrupted another general's climb up the military ranks.

 

<((Jay Carney/ White House Spokesman))

"AT THE REQUEST OF THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE THE PRESIDENT HAS PUT ON HOLD, GENERAL ALLEN'S NOMINATION AS SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER EUROPE. PENDING THE INVESTIGATION."

John Allen..the top U.S. Commander in Afghanistan, has found himself the subject of a second investigation.

Now his possible promotion to lead forces is Europe...is frozen.

That's after the FBI gave the Pentagon more than 20-thousand pages of e-mail communications between General Allen and Tampa socialite Jill Kelley.

The new batch of emails...between Allen and Kelley...are described as flirtatious.

Allen says...he did nothing wrong.

Now, Jill Kelly is the woman who went to the FBI with anonymous threatening emails.

Agents traced those to Paula Broadwell and uncovered her affair with Petraus.

Now on 13WMAZ today...we asked you to weigh in on the whole situation...and tell us if you thought Petraeus's resignation was necessary.

 

 

 

 

Most of you... 58 percent, said no.

42 percent said yes.

Thank you for your votes in our webpoll.

Two members of the Bibb legislative delegation want to change the way you vote...and the way candidates run...in Bibb County.

They want to push for local nonpartisan elections.

Senator Cecil Staton and Representative Allen Peake say they're already working on legislation that includes races for the school board and next year's races for the consolidated government.

They say they'll introduce their bill when the Georgia General Assembly convenes in January

<We've heard a lot from the public about non-partisan elections. That was something we didn't include in the charter, and we're going to take a good, hard look at it next session. Every other consolidated government in the entire state has non-partisan elections. It doesn't matter if you're Republican or Democrat in a local election, it matters who's the best, most qualified person.>

But others... Like Representative James Beverly... Say voters should know a candidate's party affiliation before they go to the polls.

<You get a very quick snapshot of what a person stands for, how they think about government, how historically they think about government as they move forward. I think it's one of those identifiers that we should have at this particular point at this particular time because it gives people another data point to make a selection about who will govern their area.>

Beverly wasn't alone in his hesitation.

State Representative Nikki Randall says she thinks nonpartisan elections would cast a shadow on next year's races for the consolidated government.

She thinks voters knew what they were doing when they agreed to restructure Macon and Bibb...and partisanship was still on the table when consolidation was decided.

< I think it will appear that some of the folks that may have supported consolidation because it did not contain the non-partisan piece, I think they may feel like they were deceived, kind of like the delegation showed them what they needed to see to support it and now they're going back on it.>

Back to the flipside though...as finances play into the argument.

City council member Nancy White says Macon is the only Georgia city with partisan races.... And thinks getting rid of party politics would save local taxpayers time and money.

<I have served on city council since 2006 and I cannot remember one vote that has gone down along party lines and based on that practicality, why should the taxpayers have to fund a separate partisan primary?>

Other elected officials are on the fence... like Bibb Commissioner Lonzy Edwards... who supports nonpartisan races for seats like sheriff and district attorney.... But not for mayor or county chairman.

City council member Tom Ellington agrees, saying he could support non-partisan race for some posts.

Staton says he plans to drop his legislation the first day of the General Assembly in January.

Leah?

We just had to show you this mess.

No, this is NOT a dirt road.

This is downtown Dale City, California.

And all of this dirty sludge started with a break from an 80 year old water pipe after heavy rains and stormwater run-off.

It caused a gusher of about 45 thousand gallons of water... Causing evacuations...and sinking these cars

Still lots of houses there without water....which means no tap water...no way to wash clothes...and no showers.

Before we move on to our regular sportscast, we're highlighting another competition.

 

 

 

 

It seems two Houston County schools walked away with a state championship... In the *same* sport... This weekend.

 

 

 

 

That's right...Veterans High cheerleaders took the title in Quad A... And Houston County High captured the trophy in five -A.

Jennifer Moulliet visited both teams today... to see just what they've got to shout about.

<last november we went to state and and our pyramid fell it did not turn out the way we had hoped>

<they decided last year that they would never be in that position again and they vowed they were going to come back and win.and everything hit it was amazing >

<just being on the mat with the people you've been with since april, you're family it takes hard work and dedication to get a state title and we did it>

<i think my second day of practice I came home and I told my mom we could win this year I know we can we're going to get first >

<well in warm ups our stunts didn't hit and people were getting extremely nervous especially the freshman we just left it all out on the floor>

<i was so overwhelmed that my legs just gave out we were going crazy>

<we scored a 293 so seven points shy of a perfect score >

<we scored a 294, a 294 is really awesome score it was actually the highest score out of the whole state from all the divisions>

That's the first state title for Veterans.

And both teams say they want to do it again next year.

 

 

 

 

Finally...Tonight's fan of the day is Colleen Miller.

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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