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Eyewitness News at 11, 12-6-12

11:38 PM, Dec 6, 2012   |    comments
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Good evening, everyone. I'm Frank Malloy.

We're learning more about the alleged shooter...and the victim...of a fatal encounter at the Murphy Express Gas Station on Gray Highway Monday.

 

Today, the lawyer for Frank Louis Reeves described the 73-year old as a man filled with remorse.

She calls Reeves a loving father and active church member.

She also says the war veteran has had serious health issues in the past few years, suffering two strokes.

Tonight...he remains in the Bibb County Jail...charged with felony murder.

Now his alleged victim...

is 65-year old Linda Hunnicut, a resident of Jones County since she was just 3.

13-W-M-A-Z spend some time with Hunnicut's family.

Her husband, daughter, and son-in-law remember a giving, generous wife, mother, and grandmother who felt compassion for people from all walks of life.

Now police are trying to put together more information about the last moments of Hunnicut's life.

Leah Johnson has more on that.

Macon police say they're still looking for witnesses to Tuesday's fatal shooting.

They've also released surveillance camera photos from the store, taken around the time of the shooting.

That was about 1 p.m.

They're asking anyone who can identify people in those pictures to call them.

They're looking specifically for these people:

The driver and passenger in a burgundy vehicle who stopped to help Hunnicut.

The white male dressed in a dark, short-sleeve shirt and light pants, seen walking in the center right of this photo.

The passenger in the white pick-up truck with yellow stripes pulling a trailer. He is a black male wearing a cap and short-sleeve shirt, seen walking near the left center of this shot.

And the driver of that same truck... they'd like to talk to as well.

If you have any information on this case, you can call Macon Police at (478) 803-2445.

During the course of some crime investigations, all kinds of evidence...from surveillance photos like the ones you just saw...to phone calls...and any official records...can come into play.

But in certain cases...the information police need...comes in the form of texts...and those are harder to track down...because they're not permanently stored.

Now, there's a controversial push for congress to change that.

Scott Burns of the National District Attorney's Association...says his group favors a period of 3 or 4 months, maybe longer if an investigation is urgent.

<"If you're in the middle of an investigation and bad guys are communicating back and forth, whether it's a homicide, whether it's evidence of a crime, it's crucial. I mean 20 years ago we weren't talking about this. Today everybody has a cell phone, everybody texts and e-mails and is on social media. And that's where the evidence is today." >

So why don't law enforcement get the texts from individual cell phones?

Burns says, it's safe to assume that criminals...would want to erase incriminating texts.

But not everyone's in support of the cellular giants stashing away your personal text records.

An American Civil Liberties Union representative says...with about 60-billion texts sent every day...there's just too much private information that would become ...Less private.

<"And that's not just something law enforcement can get. It's divorce attorneys, it's other investigators, It's the press. Even if you feel like you have nothing to hide, there's a lot of embarrassing and personal information there." >

As of 2010, AT and T, Sprint, and T-Mobile didn't retain any customer content.

Verizon kept texts for five days.

Twenty-two Bibb County Schools will be equipped with carbon monoxide detectors by the end of next month.

That's after a gas leak made 42 people at an Atlanta elementary school sick... and forced an evacuation of the more than 500 people in the building.

Bibb County schools' Director of Risk Management David Gowan wants to make sure...that never happens here.

A faulty furnace caused the problem in Atlanta...so Bibb County maintainence inspected all of its own system's buildings.

Lots of the schools didn't have the same kind of set-up...with furnaces inside...so they're safe.

But, Gowan says...22 buildings do have indoor gas furnaces like the one in Atlanta.

So those schools...are the ones getting a safety upgrade.

<you do have the risk exposure of carbon monoxide being released in an accidental way from the boiler because it is inside, it's in a confined area so if you do have an accidental release that can place people in that building in danger So that's ehy we'e gone and added this extra safety precaution of having a carbon monoxide detector.>

Gowan says they will be industrial detectors with a special valve to automatically stop the flow of gas if they register dangerous carbon monoxide levels.

He says the detectors will cost 95 dollars per school-- that's a little more than 2000 dollars... Total cost.

They should be installed by the end of January.

Results are in for Georgia's High School Writing test...an exam all 11th graders take..and have to pass in order to graduate.

But...they show about 12 percent of Bibb County's juniors missed that mark.

Hutchings Career Center had the highest percentage of students to meet the state standard... At 90-point 2 percent.

Southwest High School has the lowest... At 78 percent.

In Houston County... All but about 3.6 percent of students met state standard.

And one school actually had a hundred percent passage rate.

That was The Houston County Career Center.

Students do get the change to retest...and successful pass to graduate.

You can find results for all of Georgia's counties online. Just search for this story in the Top Headlines section of our website.

A 95 million dollar plant that will turn forest products into energy will break ground in Dublin next May.

A news release from Gov. Nathan Deal's office says the Green Power Solutions plant will create 35 permanent jobs and support up to 200 more forestry jobs.

Deal's office says the plant would be the largest renewable energy qualifying plant in Georgia.

The company first announced the plant more than a year ago, but now says they'll break ground next May and complete construction sometime in 2015.

Macon and Bibb County residents have another chance for help with their own energy bills this winter.

Tomorrow morning at seven...the Bibb Economic Opportunity Council will allow the first 250 people in line at St. Paul AME Church in East Macon to apply for help with power and gas bills.

This was what the line looked like Monday, for the first round of applications.

Applicants should come prepared.

You're asked to bring a current energy bill, a photo ID, social security cards for everyone in the household, and proof of income for the past 30 days.

You may remember Aimee Copeland, the 24 year old Georgia woman who lost her hands, leg, and foot to a flesh eating bacteria.

Now... Months after a recovery some doctors didn't think she'd make... Copeland says she has big plans for her future.

The 24-year-old Atlanta-area woman was honored this week at Georgia's annual "Celebrating Wonderful Women" event, where she talked about what helped her beat the odds.

"That's a question that a lot of people ask me and it's really hard to say where these things come from. Part of me wants to say there's something innate in all humans that help us to overcome these odds, but, you know, sometimes, that doesn't happen. So a part of me wants to say it's a part of a bigger plan. It's a bigger picture. But at the same time, I've had so much support from my family, my friends, my educational background. I think it's just a culmination of a ton of different things that you can't really pinpoint but all I can do is just thank God that I'm here." >

In May, Copeland was fighting for her life in a hospital after cutting herself in a zip line accident and contracting a rare flesh-eating bacteria.

Now, she's home with plans to finish her master's degree at the University of West Georgia and help others with disabilities.

Gifts will be delivered to more than 3 dozen middle Georgia families by Christmas day.

But this time... Santa Claus... isn't the one making the stops.

Kids Yule Love will give toys to families who are struggling and need a little holiday cheer.

Nearly 100 state employees met to gather donations during a luncheon at the Secretary of State's office in Macon today.

Bibb County Commissioner Joe Allen says the nonprofit organization has received more applications than ever this year.

< There's an over abundance. These are new people that are asking for help. We're making sure there's no duplications. We're working with all the agencies.>

If you're in the giving spirit...and would like to donate... you can drop off toys at any fire station or business that's displaying a Kids Yule Love sign.

And... That's not the only special delivery making seasons bright this month... Leah?

Frank, It may be as small as some boxed cookies... some cards... even a child's artwork... but to those serving their country thousands of miles away... Every care package delivers a taste of home.

The Bibb School Nutrition Association is sending out some holiday spirit this season.

Candace Adorka spent time with them while they

boxed up seasons greetings ... Sent straight from the heart.

These Heard Elementary students are getting a lesson in holiday giving.

<we're packing food and supplies for the troops>

The care packages are for troops with local ties deployed to Afghanistan and Kuwait.

<we should be doing this time of the year is giving to others.>

The coordinator Theresa Cantrell says it started within the Bibb School Nutrition Association, but soon grew to include about 25 schools.

<the schools have opened it up to where their students donated items their teachers donated items our school nutrition employees donated items so it was been an overwhelming success>

<this was easy, I was like this was an easy way for us to give>

Carla Cox brought in extra items form her pantry, but the real gift was from her 7-year-old son Philip.

<my mom told me about it, and I wanted to do it, so I drew the picture.>

He's one of several students who added their artwork to the boxes--

<and we got the people by the cars>

And Philip's has already made it to servicemen in Afghanistan for thanksgiving-- and it made an impact.

<one of the soldiers has told me he has the picture placed above his bed so it just reminds him of home all the time>

Cantrell estimates they'll send 24 boxes, each with enough items for a squad of servicemen.

<oh a world of good, IT will make them feel like people back here appreciate it.>

Linda Melton's son-in-law is one of the airmen who will be receiving a care package.

<we got cheese crackers, chewing gum>

She says items you'd take for granted mean the world for servicemen and their families who have to spend the holidays apart.

<it's just hard for them to be home by themselves and they're over there not being with their famillies at this time with it being Christmas, I think they appreciate it. To know that people are thinking about them>

And that's why 7-year-old philip says people here, stateside, should keep giving.

<yes they really should, they're really protecting our country for freedom they really are special people>

Candace Adorka 13 WMAZ eyewitness News

Cantrell says if they continue to get items in, she'll keep sending them to the troops even after the holidays.

For more information on how you can get involved, find this story on our homepage 13 wmaz.com.

Some service members here in Central Georgia...spread some spirit of their own...through song.

The Museum of Aviation's Hangar was filled with joyful noise...and a huge crowd tonight.

Members of the US Air Force Reserve performed seasonal favorites at the 51st annual holiday concert.

This could be the last one for the band... Which could fall victim to Pentagon cuts that went through last March.

Warner Robins' Mayor told 13WMAZ-dot-com last summer... He hopes to find a way to keep it around.

But in the meantime...the evening was all about celebrating the present.

Members say... It's a way to use their talents to thank the community for its support.

Tomorrow is first Friday and the Galleria Conference Center in Warner Robins is hosting a "cause to feed the homeless".

It's Treena Wheeler's Annual Black and White Affair and Feed the homeless drive. Entertainment will be supplied by AJ the DJ.

Wheeler has boxes set up at the venue where she encourages party goers to donate and drop of canned goods and non perishable food items.

Even if you don't plan on attending the event, you can drop off donations anytime on Friday after 10am.

Tickets are $10 in advance. $15 before 10... and $20 after 10.

For more information call (478) 213-5548.

Organizers tell us more than $5000 worth of food was collected for the Salvation Army last year.

Thanks, Marvin.

Eyewitness News at 11continues after the break...with a look at the National Christmas tree...all lit up with the splendor of the season.

But first...as we go to break...

a quick look at a local site spruced up in time for Christmas.

Check out Macon's Hay House... Decked out for visitors to come see from now until December 31st.

Thank you for joining us... Eyewitness News Mornin' starts tomorrow at 5 a.m.

As we say goodnight... the holiday season is officially under way at the White House.

Tonight , the first family counted down the seconds before the National Christmas Tree lit up the White House lawn.

The 28-foot Colorado blue spruce is decorated with bright green lights and stars.

Tonight's event was the 90th annual lighting of the National Christmas Tree. We leave you with a look.

 

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