Eyewitness News at 6, 12-5-12

7:03 PM, Dec 5, 2012   |    comments
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This is the man charged with shooting a woman at an east Macon Gas station in broad daylight yesterday.



And today... the accused made his first appearance in court....

Good evening...

I'm Leah Johnson.

And I'm Frank Malloy.

Thanks for joining us tonight.

A day after Linda Hunnicutt died... her accused killer faced a judge for the first time today.

Tom George was there... and he also spoke to some Frank Reeves' neighbors.

We tried to contact the family of his alleged victim.... Linda Hunnicut... but could not reach them for comment.

But some of Reeves' neighbors say they're surprised by the charges against him.

Wednesday... 73-year-old Frank Reeves sat calmly .. facing a Magistrate Court as the judge told him he was charged with felony murder.

Just one day earlier... At least one witness said....Reeves had the same quiet demeanor...as he sat in his wheelchair outside an east Macon gas station.

That's where he allegedly shot 65-year old Linda Hunnicutt.

<I can't tell you why he did it .. I can tell you that he wouldn't have unless, he , at that moment was afraid. >

Reeves, a Vietnam veteran who is confined to a wheelchair, lives in an apartment complex just a few hundred yards from the Murphy's Gas station on Gray Highway.

Neighbors say they know him as a good friend.

< Frank's one of the quietest, kindest, sweetest people I've ever met in my life. He never complains to or about anybody, he never creates any problem for anybody, he keeps to himself, but he's friendly. >

Neighbors say Reeves would frequently use his wheelchair to go to the shopping center near the gas station.

They weren't aware he carried a gun.

But they say that's understandable...for an elderly person living in a high-crime area..

On Monday, police say his wheelchair collided with Hunnicutt's car.

Witnesses say she got out....and the two argued.

They say...that's when he fired the deadly shot.

One witness told police...he said he shot Hunnicut because she nearly hit him.

A police report says he used a 38-caliber revolver...and police found one bullet casing.

Hunnicutt died less than a hour later at the Medical Center of Central Georgia.

Wednesday....officers wheeled him into court

Magistrate Judge Jane Reeves said because he's charged with felony murder ... She could not issue bond.

She scheduled a commitment hearing for December 19th.

In Macon, Tom George, 13WMAZ Eyewitness News.

This afternoon.... Hart's Mortuary in Macon said funeral arrangements for Linda Hunnicut are not yet scheduled.

Macon police are looking for several people who were in the parking lot when the shooting happened, or just afterwards.

They've released surveillance-camera images of those people.

For more information, and to see those photos, look for this story on our home page, 13wmaz-dot.com.

Peach County High School is mourning the death of a 17 year old ROTC student.

He's Thomas "Bobby" Harbin, according to a news release from the school.

Peach County coroner Kerry Rooks said Harbin committed suicide Tuesday.

Now.. two events are planned to remember the teen...

The first... a community prayer service at Fort Valley United Methodist Church at 7 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall.

And a memorial service is scheduled for tomorrow at 6 p.m. in the chapel of McCullough Funeral Home in Warner Robins.

In the news release, Principal Bruce Mackey remembered Harbin as a well liked young man and solid student.

He also added that Bobby was an organ donor... and his heart saved the life of a 14-year old girl.

An east Bibb County man died after he drove into two parked cars this morning.

That's according to the Bibb County Sheriff's Department.

Bibb coroner Leon Jones identified the victim as 71-year-old Billy Fain.

They say it happened around 7-30....on Ocmulgee East Blvd...near Riggins Mill Road.

The sheriff's department says the accident is still under investigation.

A Macon Council committee will discuss a plan that would give pensions to long-term city council members... with added benefits for each year served.

Katelyn Heck joins us in the newsroom.

Katelyn...we received some information on this ordinance last night from co-sponsor Henry Ficklin.... But not all of it was correct.

What have you found out today?

I picked up a copy of the ordinance proposed by Lonnie Miley and Ficklin...

It suggests a 25 dollar monthly rate... For each year on the council.

But that only applies to members who serve at least a decade.

I caught up with Council member Elaine Lucas at a demolition at Fort Hawkins today... She would qualify for the pension payments with her 26 years on council.

She told me she supported similar proposals in the past... But those did not make it out of committee.

<I think the opposition was, first of all, that city council members were part-time and that they didn't deserve a pension. That was the main thing I heard. The other thing was it's going to cost a lot of money, which it will not>

I also spoke with Beverly Olson... Who joined council in 2011... she told me she's furious about the proposal for those same reasons.

She says council members already get paid enough.... And serving is a choice.

Lucas and five other members... Including the sponsors Miley and Ficklin.... Would qualify.

Ed Defore... With 41 years of service.... James Timley and Charles Jones... Each with 14 years make up the other three.

Those six would cost the city over 46-thousand dollars a year in pension payments.

DeFore... would take in more than 12-thousand of that.

That's more than the 10-thousand dollar council salary.

Bibb County adopted a pension plan for veteran commissioners in 1968... But got rid of it in 2007.


Thanks, Katelyn.

A city council committee will discuss Miley and Ficklin's proposal... And if it passes.... Full council will vote on the ordinance during their next meeting December 18th.

So on our webpage today... We asked:

Should part-time city council members qualify for a pension?

92 percent of you said, no, they should not.

Only about 8 percent said yes.

To vote now in our webpoll now... Visit 13WMAZ.com.

Look for the question on the right side of the homepage.

For several weeks, we've been talking about the fiscal cliff.

That's a slew of budget cuts...and tax hikes...that could happen January first...if Congress and the White House don't reach a deal on limiting the nation's debt.

And not even charities will get away unscathed.

Judy Le talked to one Macon non-profit about what it could mean for the future of giving.


At the Middle Georgia Community Food Bank...donations come by the truckloads

But the fiscal cliff might threaten the flow of goods. Congress is considering caps or cuts to charitable deductions. That could mean less support for organizations like this food bank.

<(julia wood) nearly 80 percent of people who file their taxes are eligible to claim those charitable deductions. And that's a direct incentive for people to support our community and non-profits>

<(ronald raleigh Exec Dir Middle Ga Community Food Bank) Individuals that are willing to help folks, I still that that end of it will still be there. Larger donations, maybe not>

Though public and private funding might be slashed...the demand is persistent. Dorothy Woodford...who's a part of Volunteer Macon at the Dempsey Apartments...stops by the food bank for resources. Without the help...she's on her own.

<We get together and we pool our monies together and we do what we can. Because every other wednesday we fix food for them and we still serve them a hot meal after classes are over>

To help aid non-profits...Georgia Gives Day on Thursday is a 24-hour fundraiser for Central Georgia charities.

Type in GAGIVESDAY-dot-ORG -- click make a tribute -- choose an organization and donate

Judy le 13wmaz eyewitness

Non profits say a dollar will go a long way on tomorrow's giving day.

That's because several companies and groups are offering matching grants.

For instance...The Community Foundation and the Knight Foundation will award a 25-hundred dollar grant to a non-profit based out of Macon and Milledgeville that receives the most donations Thursday.

Now to follow the latest news on fiscal cliff negotiations... You can check out our homepage.

Start at 13WMAZ-dot-com...then look for the Check it out box on the right side of the page.

In our Fiscal Cliff web feature... You'll find a countdown clock...the latest videos and news...and yes, you can even tell congress what you think.

That's all there for you at 13WMAZ-dot-com.

Construction on a new multi-million dollar Warner Robins water treatment plant began today... With a groundbreaking.

Jennifer Moulliet explains how the upgraded facility will help water flow into Central Georgia communities more efficiently.

<your water and sewer are the lifeline of your city>

Mayor Chuck Shaheen says the upgrades to the Sandy Run Creek facility... Which also serves... Centerville... Byron... Bonaire... Houston and Peach counties.... Will provide for growth.

If you look at these they're very old technology they're approximately thirty years old.

It's been over twenty years since the last plant expansion.... And council agreed to support a twenty-seven million dollar project... That would increase amout of water they can treat a day from seven million gallons.....to twelve million.

<we'll have a new admin building, we'll have a new headworks, we're going to expand the aeration capacity, new clarifiers, new filters, all the pumps associated with these processes we have to move the water around new pumps>

Josh Petersen, project manager for the design team... Says the plant already needed improvements to meet new state standards... so they also decided to make it more energy efficient.

<we're going to be replacing those with turbo blowers which will allow you to dial back air and use it as needed as opposed to just running a motor full speed and wasting energy these blowers have the ability to turn down and reduce your energy costs. >

and to cut down on total cost... They're using some of the old structures instead of rebuilding completely

<from an overall plant process I think we've probably reduced sixty percent of new structures>

And they now monitor the plant manually...but they'll convert to a computer system...

In Warner Robins... Jennifer Moulliet 13wmaz eyewitness news.

Petersen says the project should be done within two and a half years.

Bonds will pay for the construction.

From construction...to a demolition project...using SPLOST funds to breathe new life into one of Macon's historic landmarks.

Fort Hawkins is in its first stages of a makeover.

Demolition crews tore down a building on the property... along Emery Highway... to make way for a new gravel parking lot.

750-thousand dollars of SPLOST money will fund four projects.... Including new landscaping and other features.

< We're installing a gate between the two properties. Then, we'll be breaking ground again for the visitor's center and eventually breaking ground on the rebuilding of the Palisade wall.>

Fort Hawkins is the oldest building in Macon...

It was built in 1806... 17 years before the city was founded.

He was born... Richard Wayne Penniman...on this day in 1932.. but you know him as Little Richard.

You may not be aware... But he was born her in Macon... in the pleasant hill neighborhood...and grew up to become the sequin-clad, self-proclaimed Architect of Rock and Roll.

The Hall of Famer was inducted in 1986... And he's number 8 on Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Artists of All-Time.

Since then...Little Richard left rock'n'roll for evangelical Christianity.

And those of you who are familiar with Macon...may drive on a street named after him...Little Richard Penniman Boulevard.

Thanks for joining us. We'll be back tonight at 11.

But remember... The news is always on at 13WMAZ.com.

The evening news is up next.

Have a safe night everyone.


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