A man is accused of attempted kidnapping at Springdale Elementary ... But his lawyer says... His client never meant any harm.
<I think the whole think was probably an overreaction>
Plus, why the parents of a South Georgia Student say their son's death was no accident...
<the coroner said the hole was 14 inches. He say he measured Kendrick's shoulders, and Kendrick's shoulder's was 19 inches. They was no way he coulda got stuck, cause he couldn't even fit into the mat. >
and what they're doing about it...tonight on Eyewitness News at 11.
I'm Jennifer Moulliet.
Frank Malloy will be in later for Football Friday night.
And we'll get to those stories we just told you about...ahead in a couple of minutes.
We'll also tell you how you can join us...in making a difference this weekend...across central georgia.
First though...here are some of the other stories that made news today... As we look back at your Friday in sight and sound.
More on Make a Difference Day... ahead in this newscast...
first though... we turn to our top story tonight...
as the attorney for a man accused of attempted kidnapping outside a Bibb County school...s ays his clients' culture has played into a big misunderstanding.
Lawyer Keith Fitzgerald says there's a bit of a language barrier because Christian Ogol speaks a sub dialect of nigerian.... But says Ogol's son was able to translate.
Fitzgerald says his client moved to Macon from Nigeria in June to live with his son... And picks up his grandchildren frequently at Springdale elementary... In fact he's on the approved pick up list for both children at the school.
<i think he might have gotten confused and maybe thought he saw the wrong child or maybe wanted to talk to somebody. Now he's nigerian and the people on the african continent have very different cultural norms than we do in the united states touching people for example is one of those things that are different here than it is there. Over in the african continent many cultures find that touching children is very acceptable especially a much older gentleman as he is culturally his age the young child should have a lot of respect for him just by looking at him. >
Fitzgerald says they are looking for a translator and currently His client is still in jail.
We asked District attorney David Cooke if he would like to respond... And he declined to comment.
The parents of a Valdosta teen
Kendrick Johnson was found dead, upside down in a gym mat in january.
The final autopsy report says he died of accidental suffocation.
Investigators say Kendrick went into the mat to get his sneakers.. And got stuck.
But how could Kendrick, a 3-sport athlete, fall into an upright mat while reaching for his shoe ... And not get out?
That's the question Kendrick's parents... want answered.
Here's part of their interview with Blayne Alexander, from our Atlanta sister station, WXIA.
< "One thing that a number of students said is that, it was a common practice to take their tennis shoes, and put them inside the mats. That generally what they would do is tilt the mats over and take the shoes out. "
"The coroner said, the hole was 14 inches wide, and they measured Kendrick's shoulders, amd his shoulders was 19 inches. There's no way that he coulda got stuck. Cause he couldna even fit into the mat."
"So you think that even though there was a practice of putting the shoes into the mat, that's not what was happening that day?"
"That's not what was happening.">
Kenneth and Jacquelyn Johnson are petitioning a Georgia judge to order a coroner's inquest into their son's death.
Their investigators concluded during a second autopsy that Kendrick was beaten to death.
They also want school surveillance video from inside the gym released.
Tragedy in Atlanta today... as a man working on a billboard in Atlanta fell to his death.
Atlanta police said it happened right across the street from Turner Field... and that the fall appeared to be an accident.
The victim's name has not been released.
Another Georgia man... escaped injury after he ran back into his burning Columbus house... to save some beer he left inside.
Officials are still investigating what caused the fire... Although Walter Serpit thinks it was a water heater.
He says he, five other adults, and two young children... all made it out after the room began filling with smoke... but then he remembered some beer he left inside.
When he went back inside, using a cane to walk, Serpit says the door shut behind him. He was startled... but he was still able to escape... with several cans.
Many of you will want to get a good night's sleep tonight... for Make a Difference Day tomorrow.
It's a national event... and here in Macon, 13WMAZ will have the honor of partnering with Volunteer Macon and NewTown Macon to help beautify the canoe launch at the Ocmulgee River.
The project will take plenty of landscaping supplies.
That's where you come in.
Volunteer Macon is asking for rakes, wheel barrows, and chainsaws if you have them, to help us in our efforts to give back.
Volunteer Macon Youth Director Amy Davidson tells us what to expect from the newly renovated canoe launch.
<doing a lot of brush cleaning up and putting out new picnic tables and some bird houses and things like that, so that the community can go and enjoy this area and kids can play and just have a nice little peaceful area on the river>
Make A Difference Day is the largest national day of community service.
Some Central Georgians felt a chill in the air tonight... but it wasn't just the weather to blame.
It's the sixth annual Spirits in October tour at the Riverside Cemetery in Macon.
Actors portray people buried in the cemetery.
The theme this year.... is Lucky or Unlucky 13.
Personally... we're biased... we like to go with lucky here at 13WMAZ.
Each spirit represented has a special connection to that number too.
Suzanne Doonan... with the cemetary... says it's a great opportunity for people to learn about Macon's heritage.
One spirit on the tour wasn't buried there... But there is a lucky link.
<john heisman who was not buried in riverside cemetery but he has a very interesting connection to Macon, Georgia. And I'll give you a hint. It has to do with a place called crumps park, which was an amusement park in georgia in macon in the early 20th century. And it has to do with Mercer football. .>
Doonan says if you want to know the rest of that story... Well, you'll need to come out for the tour.
For tickets... You can call (478) 301 5470.
That number again... 301-5470.
It's like Christmas shopping... For Bulldogs and Gators.
Never too early to get in line...as Mike Lyons... with our Jacksonville sister station, WTLV found out... While he was on pregame patrol for next weekend's Georgia-Florida matchup.
nats " go dawgs"
Henry Mathews of Augusta Georgia among dozens of fans already in jax...getting an early jump on this game.
" you have to come in early to get in line to even get into rv city.." if you want your same spot you just about have to come in early like this.."
the spot is important..most want to be close to those they partied with last year..coming this early still a lot of fun says shephard ellison of Jacksonville.
"it's still a blast, lot of good people from florida, lot of good people from georgia.."
Peter Wells arrived early from cocoa beach to get a better spot in line...and try out his brand new custom made $20,000 gator golf cart he just got this week for the big game..
" if I put the sides down and start driving , it's air conditioned."
so far so good for his new ride.. Looking forward to meeting up with some friends he made here last year.
"we;re going to hook up, and do barbeguing and talk and just have a good time..
Like these fans who arrived real early... The sheriff;s office is urging fans going to the game a week from tommorrow to get an early start driving to the stadium, suggesting five hours before the game.
(leonard propper, jso) " if you are not in your parking spot by 1:30 your commute will be significantly longer because of the priority for the pedestrians entering the stadium.., so the drivers want to beat the walkers? Absolutely
The game's next Saturday ... November 2nd.