Eyewitness News at 6, 4-1-13

10:42 PM, Apr 1, 2013   |    comments
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< he said it was going to be a three pointer cutter >

The boys of summer are back... Chipper Jones there... Throwing out the ceremonial first pitch...as the Braves hosted the Phils tonight up the road in Atlanta.

More from Courtney Lyle ... As she recaps their homeopener success with a 2 point win.

But first, hello everyone.

I'm Frank Malloy.

Thank you for joining us for Eyewitness News at 11.

Our top story in local news tonight... A 24 year old man is believed to have drowned at Amerson Water Park.

Rescue workers tonight have suspended the search for Aaron Austin Cross... Because they were losing sunlight and currents were too strong for workers to safely continue.

That's according to Lieutenant Sean Defoe from the Bibb County Sheriff's Department.

According to one witness, who was grilling with her family on the banks of the Ocmulgee... Cross arrived with a group, took of his shirt, and jumped in for a swim.

She said he reached the other side...and about halfway back, said he was frozen because the water was cold.

Lt. Defoe says a friend tried to rescue Cross, but couldn't pull him out.

<in these conditions with the river being up and very strong, it's very difficult to swim. The water is still cold. We're still just starting spring and a lot of things like hypothermia can set in with the water so strong, it'll just pull you under.

And we don't know when we'll find him but we're still looking. And this is the second drowning within a year out here at this park >

That eyewitness we spoke to told 13WMAZ's Judy Le...the man who tried to rescue Austin Cross was very upset.

He said he was Cross's best friend.

Searchers are expected to be back out at the river tomorrow morning at 8.

Toss out some evidence...and change the venue for the trial.

Those are just two things the lawyer for a probation officer, accused of killing his girlfriend, asked a judge to do today.

Attorney Franklin Hogue represents Russell Holt, who's charged with shooting Jessica Wolf last year.

Today...Hogue filed a string of motions. He asked for an interview with the medical examiner... and also requested... Each jury panel be interviewed separately.

He asked the judge to throw out statements made when Holt was interrogated... because Holt supposedly asked for a lawyer and wasn't assigned one at the time.

And Hogue wants a change of venue... or a different courthouse in the same area.

<both of them worked in the very courthouse we're standing in right now Jessica Wolfe worked right across the hall there, Russell Holt was in and out of these courtrooms but more than that this case has got quite a bit of publicity here lots of people knew them and my concern is we're going to get here and spend a couple of days in jury selection and be unable to find twelve jurors who haven't formed an opinion about my client's guilt.>

Jessica Wolfe's family members say they don't think changing the venue will have any bearing on how a jury decides.

Judge Tillman Self didn't rule one way or the other on that request, and didn't say when he might decide.

Holt's trial is set for the end of this month.

We may have to wait longer for a decision from the state's highest court... On whether or not a Putnam county man, convicted of a 2011 killing...will get the appeal he asked for today.

David Brett was convicted of shooting Jose Garcia Castro to death in June 2011.

Supreme Court transcripts say Castro was keeping Brett's dog...and the animal died while in his care.

Brett accused Castro of neglect...and said the man should have taken the sick dog to the vet.

After a heated phone conversation and the promise of a fight, Brett went to find Castro, who had a kitchen knife.

The court document says the two men continued the argument face to face, and Brett, armed with a handgun, fired a single shot.

In the original trial, Brett said he acted in self defense...but the jury didn't buy that argument.

According to the Georgia supreme court.... Brett said his trial lawyer was not competent because he failed to object to testimony that he had a history of carrying a gun and threatening people... and failed to push the self-defense argument.

Supreme Court Spokeswoman Jane Hansen says the justices have until the end of November to rule, though a decision could come sooner.

A major development today in another case...the one against accused Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes.

Prosecutors today rejected a proposed guilty plea from the defense and said they will seek the death penalty instead.

Holmes faces 166 counts of murder and attempted murder in a killing rampage last July.

12 people were killed and nearly 60 wounded.

A city commissioner in Brunswick, Georgia turned himself in to authorities today.

James Brooks faces racketeering charges in nearby Camden County.

According to an indictment, Brooks is accused of taking money in exchange for helping at least two men get liquor licenses and city permits.

BUT... Brooks is also accused of interfering with the investigation of the death of a baby in Brunswick.

13-month-old Antonio Santiago was shot and killed March 21st.

Brooks is charged with obstructing the investigation and influencing a witness in that case.

His attorney has said he wasn't trying to interfere with the investigation.

Brooks was arrested last week and released after posting a five-thousand-dollar bond.

The teachers and administrators indicted in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal must turn themselves in to the Fulton County jail by Tuesday.

Among them... Former superintendent Dr. Beverly Hall...

Also 35 other educators...who face charges of racketeering, theft by taking, influencing witnesses and making false statements.

It all started when they were linked to facilitating cheating on a 2011 state CRCT test.

But at the moment...a problem with the warrants has delayed some of the surrenders.

<I believe there is a lot of confusion. We came to turn our clients in, the jail is indicating there's been some snafu with the paperwork, We will continue to work with the jail to facilitatet the turn-in. Hopefully this will be resolved very soon. >

According to a jail spokesman, the 35 people will be processed as individuals. Because they were already indicted, they will not have first appearances, but they will have bond hearings.

Upon arriving at the jail, the educators will be fingerprinted, have mug shots taken and given an opportunity to post bail.

And as the watch at the Fulton County jail continues... so do questions from protesting parents...who fear their children still aren't getting what they need from the system.

Jerry Carnes, with our sister station 11Alive in Atlanta, spoke to a key witness in the case today.

< bite-- We were obviously very concerned 23:28

What caught Kathleen Mather's eye in 2009 were all of the erasures.

so many wrong answers changed to right on Atlanta CRCT exams...

The former head of the Governor's Office of Student Achievement says when she brought her concerns to Superintendent Beverly Hall...the reaction focused on the school system's image.

Bite-- Did you get the impression that she was concerned enough that she would dig into this and find out what was going on? I can't say I had a high level of confidence that was going to happen...25:09

The questions were more often on the lines on the image that was put out publicly. 25:41

According to the 90 page criminal indictment...former Superintendent Beverly Hall was part of a conspiracy to suppress and obstruct investigations into cheating...the indictment alleges when one parent raised concerns about her daughter's scores...Hall told her no testing violations occurred.

That parent was Justina Collins...who says Her 15-year-old is now reading on a 5th grade level...she feels somehow her family should be compensated.

Bite-- I'm behind because of this...and I got held back when I should be in the 10th grade. 8:59

Activist Nate Dyer says the school system needs to put a moratorium on standardized testing until parents can feel confident students aren't still being cheated.



That was reporter Jerry Carnes.

A grand jury hearing the APS case suggested a $7.5 million bond for Hall. If convicted, she faces up to 45 years in prison. Lots of decisions on the table as well...impacting schools in Bibb County.

One of them settled today...as the system announced Susanne Griffin-Ziebart will remain acting superintendent for another 30 days.

A six to two vote to extend her term came after board members met behind closed doors for over two hours this morning.

Lester Miller and Jason Downey opposed the extension.

Miller says he supports Griffin-Ziebart... But does not think extending her position is the right decision.

He would not explain any further... And Downey refused to comment.

The board first named Griffin-Ziebart as acting superintendent after buying out Romain Dallemand's contract in February.

She agreed to step in for a month while the search began for an interim candidate.

But acting board president Sue Sipe says they need more time.

<with applications now going to the GSBA for the interim superintendent position, we're quite hopeful that we'll have some good folks to look at and interview and that she might be able to step back down into her deputy superintendent position before may first>



The application deadline for the interim superintendent closes April 12th.

Meanwhile... in the search for the permanent head of the district... Board members are filling out surveys this week... Pitching their thoughts on qualifications for the new leader.

Sipe says community members will eventually receive a similar questionnaire as well.

It was standing room only at Turner Field tonight as the Braves hosted the Phillies on Opening Day.

Courtney Lyle joins us now.

Courtney, the Bravoes started off with a bang in the first inning.

Frank, If fans weren't already excited about the first game of the season, Freddie Freeman gave them a reason to chop.

It was standing room only at Turner Field tonight as the Braves hosted the Phillies on Opening Day.

Courtney Lyle joins us now.

Courtney, the Bravoes started off with a bang in the first inning.


Frank, If fans weren't already excited about the first game of the season, Freddie Freeman gave them a reason to chop.

Freeman started 20-13 with a two-run homer out to right field.

Dan Uggla followed that up with another home run in the bottom of the second to put Atlanta in front by three.

Lots of excitement around the Upton brothers in the spring.. They get in on the action too.

We'll show you how later in sports.


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