Eyewitness News at 6, 11-19-12

6:59 PM, Nov 19, 2012   |    comments
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Hello and thanks for joining us...

I'm Frank Malloy.

And I'm Leah Johnson.

Our top story tonight at Six, A Crawford County murder case comes to a close.... but friends and family of Trey Byers say justice was not served.

He died nearly two years ago...from a blow to the head. His body was found weeks later...buried in the woods.

And last week...murder suspect Cody Jackson pleaded guilty...to manslaughter.

Tom George went to Roberta for reaction.

Friends and family of Trey Byers planned on wearing black bracelets in his memory to his killer's trial.

<you know we all thought we were ready for it .. And then, bam, they just said that they didn't think that the jury would side with this. >

21-year old Cody Jackson had been charged with murder ... But last week, lawyers and prosecutors instead reached a plea deal where Jackson would serve 20 years for voluntary manslaughter, plus 10 years probation for concealing Byers' body in the woods.

< But instead, he just always gets a little slap on the wrist, and that's what basically we think this is, was another slap on the wrist, because he'll be out in twenty .. You know, will Trey .. Will we see Trey again, no!">

It all began in December 2010, when Byers first went missing ... His body was found in woods two months later ... Byers was killed after getting into an argument with Jackson over selling Xanax pills ... Byers' family says they felt the plea deal was sudden, and didn't give them enough time to give their opinion.

<totally blindsided. Totally blindsided ... You know I'm pretty sure neither one of them knew, you know, like I said if they had given us a heads up that this is what's in the works or this is what's going on, you know we might have been better prepared to make the decision. >

But prosecutor Cliff Woody says given the evidence in the case, the plea deal was the best way to guarantee a maximum sentence on voluntary manslaughter in case a jury did not agree to the murder charge ... But whether murder or manslaughter ... Byer's family still has a missing piece...

<it's not right ... That these kids have to grow up .. I mean their mom does such a great job, she's wonderful but it's not ever gonna change to fact that they don't have their dad now, and it's just completely unacceptable. >

In Roberta, Tom George ,13WMAZ Eyewitness News.

We also spoke with Byers' fiance, Lisa Humphreys....mother of his two children.

She says the plea deal was not enough, and that had it gone to trial, she had hoped Jackson would have gotten life without parole.

Heating your home during the winter months can be expensive...and potentially dangerous.

Especially for older people.

Research shows... they're more likely to get hurt... or worse in a home heating accident.

Judy Le has tips on how to fire-proof your home and keep your loved ones safe.

When the temperature outside dips...most people look for warmth inside...

<That's when we're most busy, when it gets real real cold. When you expect it to get to the teens or below that>

It's that time of the year to dust off portable space heaters for a quick warm-up....

<You get so close your legs will change color, you get dark. When you got warm in the front and then turned around to the back to get warm>

Heating is the second leading cause of all home-fires. That's according to the U.S Fire Administration. The risk of death is doubled for seniors between the age of 65 and 74.

<Their tolerance to cold is not very well so they use supplementary heating as well as the heating at home to keep themselves warm>

There are some safety guidelines to follow to minimize the risk of danger. First off...don't do this...

<Sometimes you can be so sleepy, it's on, but you go to bed>

Keep an eye on space heaters and put them 3 feet away from curtains, walls or furniture. And make sure to smoke detectors are working

<I had two little pieces of chicken in the toaster oven and it started burning. Maybe I put it up a little too high, I don't know, but I was so glad the smoke detector was working>

With regular household maintenance...the risk of fire is greatly reduced.

Judy Le 13wmaz Eyewitness news

If you use space heaters... make sure they're U-L or underwriters laboratory -- approved.

For more tips... Look for this webstory at 13-wmaz-dot-com.

Eight percent like it toasty...

Thirty-one percent like it cool.

And sixty-one percent... find a balance in between.

You can vote in our webpoll... Go to our homepage, 13WMAZ-dot-com...and look for the poll on the right hand side of our homepage.

Macon's only Miss America passed away over the weekend after a long battle with cancer.

Neva Fickling... Miss America 1953 and a gifted pianist... Was 79 years old.

Lorra Lynch Jones shows you a glimpse of her life... And her experiences in Neva Fickling's own words.

Tonight on Eyewitness News at 11... Hear from renowned musician Robert McDuffie on Fickling's musical talents.


Plus... President of Wesleyan College Ruth Knox talks about Fickling's contributions to the college and the community.

Remembering Neva Fickling... tonight on Eyewitness News at eleven.

Macon city council plans to research the growing number of abandoned houses and how the banks handle them.

Economic and community development members say they can't trace the owners for many of the vacant houses in the city....

Which means they can't demolish or clean up the properties.

Councilman Tom Ellington also says part of the problem stems from banks not communicating well with those homeowners.

Ellington called for an investigation earlier this month... and tonight a committee is discussing how to move forward.

13WMAZ's Katelyn Heck will have more on their plans tonight on Eyewitness News at 11.

More than 10 thousand illegal immigrants in Georgia requested temporary protection from deportation under a plan established by President Barack Obama.

Georgia ranks ninth nationally in the number of people who have applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program... Which began taking applications in August.

To be eligible, applicants have to prove they arrived in the U.S. before they turned 16 and are under 30 years old.

They must be high school graduates or in school, or have served in the military,

and they cannot have a serious criminal record.

The new policy does not provide legal status, and protection from deportation and work authorization is only for two years.

Weeks after superstorm Sandy devastated parts of the northeast... donations are still pouring in at the American Red Cross.

The relief agency has raised 145-million dollars in donations at the close of business Friday.

The Red Cross is using the money it receives to operate shelters and provide food, water and other relief supplies to storm victims.

The agency has set up 472 shelters in more than 10 states since Sandy hit.

It has delivered more than six-million meals and handed out more than two-million relief items, including hygiene kits, clean-up kits, shovels and rakes.

Stores and shoppers are gearing up for official kickoff to the holiday shopping season.. Black Friday...

It's become a traditional part of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend... and this year.. some retailers are trotting out their Black Friday deals on Thursday..

Researchers at Georgia Southern University found that consumer confidence is higher..... but the majority of shoppers aren't breaking the bank..

53 percent of those surveyed say they plan to spend the same amount on gifts this year as they did last year.

25 percent say they're spending less than they did in 2011.

On average.... shoppers will spend a total of 970 dollars on all gifts.

The average cost per family member is 113 dollars.. with most planning to buy gifts for about 10 people.

More than half plan to do most of their holiday shopping between Black Friday and December 15th...

22 percent say they plan to finish shopping on or before Black Friday.

When consumers plan to shop is directly related to their gender... men tend to shop later in the year than women.

The survey also showed that 46 percent plan to do all of their shopping in person... compared to 32 percent who say they will do more than a quarter of their shopping online.

According to researchers... job growth is the reason that people are feeling more optimistic this holiday season.

Tonight on Eyewitness News at Eleven...

We continue our look back at the life of Georgia's only Miss America...Neva Fickling...with the memories of those who knew her well.

And.. .Macon City Council slated to review records on dozens of abandoned homes in Macon.

We'll explain why so many houses can't be traced to an owner.

Plus the city of Warner Robins grew tonight.

The city council approved annexing 16 new areas to the city.

But they omitted five properties opposed by residents...four on briarmoor drive...and one on Wexford Circle.

Jennifer Moulliet will have more on the annexation..and what it means....on eyewitness news at 11.


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