<<opening for eyewitness news at six>>
HELLO EVERYONE AND THANKS FOR JOINING US.I'M LEAH JOHNSON.. AND I'M FRANK MALLOY..THIS IS EYEWITNESS NEWS AT SIX.
THE WASHINGTON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS THE SEARCH FOR THE CULPRIT IN THE KILLING OF A 58-YEAR-OLD TENNILE WOMAN LED THEM RIGHT NEXT DOOR.
IT SAYS SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES ARRESTED 26-YEAR-OLD SAKETHA LATOYA JONES EARLY THIS MORNING FOR THE MURDER OF HER NEIGHBOR... LINDA MILLER.
AS VANESSA RUFFES EXPLAINS... MILLER'S FRIENDS AND FAMILY SAY THEY'RE STARTING TO HEAL... BUT THERE ARE STILL MANY UNANSWERED QUESTIONS.
NATS, family crying
SHORTLY AFTER ANNOUNCING AN ARREST IN THE DEATH OF LINDA MILLER... SHERIFF THOMAS SMITH EMBRACES HER FAMILY. HE SAYS THE CASE HAS BEEN A TRYING ONE... FOR THEM AND LAW ENFORCEMENT.
Sheriff Smith "Today I would like to thank God... (chokes up, long pause)... who has never left our side."
MILLER WAS FOUND DEAD INSIDE HER EAST SECOND AVENUE HOME THURSDAY...
THE SEARCH FOR the 58-YEAR-OLD'S KILLER ENDED EARLY MONDAY MORNING WITH THE ARREST OF 26-YEAR-OLD SAKETHA LATOYA JONES... MILLER'S NEXT-DOOR NEIGHBOR.
"The washington county sheriff's office calls the manner in which Miller died inside her home... horrific. They say she was stabbed several times and beaten in the head and face with a blunt object."
THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE AND G-B-I SAY... BECAUSE THE INVESTIGATION IS STILL ON-GOING... THEY WON'T SAY WHAT JONES' MOTIVE MIGHT HAVE BEEN... OR HOW THEY PLACED HER AT THE CRIME SCENE.
MILLER'S CLOSE FRIENDS SAY THE ARREST GIVES SOME RELIEF... BUT VERY LITTLE.
Judy Page, Sandersville "There is some closure for me. You never really get closure, but at least they know somebody will be punished."
THEY SAY ALL THEY CAN DO NOW... IS LEAN ON EACH OTHER... AND TRY TO HEAL.
Marie Darsey, Sandersville "It's been a real test of my faith. (Off-cam: That someone would do something like this?) I just can't imagine it."
NATS, family crying
VANESSA RUFFES 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS.
>> THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE SAYS THE WEAPON USED TO BEAT MILLER MIGHT HAVE BEEN A PORCELAIN FIGURINE OR STATUE.
IT WOULD NOT SAY IF JONES HAS A CRIMINAL RECORD...
NEIGHBORS WHO KNEW HER SAY THE MOTHER OF TWO WAS FRIENDLY... BUT KEPT TO HERSELF.
SONNY PERDUE LEFT HIS HOUSTON COUNTY HOMETOWN MORE THAN EIGHT YEARS AGO... HEADED FOR THE GOLD DOME AND THE GOVERNOR'S MANSION.
NOW.. WITH HIS TWO TERMS ALMOST COMPLETE... PERDUE SAYS HE AND HIS WIFE... MARY ARE GOING BACK TO BONAIRE.
LORRA LYNCH JONES RETRACED THEIR ROOTS TO FIND OUT WHAT'S WAITING FOR THEM.
MAKE A STOP IN THE HEART OF WHAT'S BECOME BUSTLING BONAIRE... AND YOU WON'T FIND MANY FOLKS WITHOUT A MEMORY OF ITS MOST FAMOUS SON.
nats- bbq joint
KERRY JAY AT WHITE DIAMOND BAR-B-Q WENT TO SCHOOL WITH SONNY PERDUE...
Kerry Jay, Bonaire: (2:33) "Weve known that family forever. As a matter of fact, Sonny's mother taught me in High School."
AT THE HARDWARE STORE... TOM WILLIAMS KNEW HIM LONG BEFORE POLITICS.
Tom Williams: (12:20) "Him and Mary are good Christian people, down to earth."
BUT THOSE WHO SPENT THEIR CHILDHOOD WITH THE GOVERNOR-TO-BE KNOW HIM BEST...
nats- (29:34) "There's Sonny Boy."
JUST ASK HIS OLDER AND ONLY SISTER.
Betty Perdue Gocken, Bonaire: (31:30) "Sonny was not one that would fight. He wouldnt' even argue much."
BETTY PERDUE GOCKEN AND SONNY GREW UP ON A FARM OFF HIGHWAY 96 .
nats- David Davidson
DAVID DAVIDSON.. STILL A CLOSE FRIEND OF SONNY... REMEMBERS THE LAND AS A BALL FIELD... THEN A RUNWAY.
David Davidson: (25:10) "When the rest of us were trying to figure out how to get a car, Sonny had a plane."
HE POINTS TO THE SINGLE GAP IN AN ENDLESS STRETCH OF POWER LINES... AS EVIDENCE.
Lorra Lynch-Jones: (4:55) "So the story goes, Sonny Perdue as a teenager called the power company and asked them could they bury just that section of power line under ground, so he could land that airplane on the Perdue family property."
David Davidson (25:17) "He was pretty persuasive even then."
AND POPULAR.... A WARNER ROBINS HIGH SCHOOL ANNUAL SHOWS HIM AS THE CLASS PRESIDENT... AND QUARTERBACK...
THE WINNING ONE... AT THE VERY FIRST WARNER ROBINS-NORTHSIDE GAME.
David Davidson: (33:40) "Wwhatever organization he was involved with, he would end up leading it."
PERDUE MADE THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA FOOTBALL TEAM FOR ONE SEASON...
THEN FOCUSED ON A DEGREE IN VETERINARY MEDICINE.
HE USED IT FOR A SHORT TIME IN NORTH CAROLINA... BUT BROUGHT HIS FAMILY BACK TO BONAIRE TO JOIN GOCKEN'S HUSBAND IN THE GRAIN BUSINESS.
PERDUE ASKED HIS SISTER ABOUT RUNNING FOR THE STATE SENATE IN 1990... AS A DEMOCRAT.
Betty Gocken: (38:40) "My question to him was how does Mary feel. You have to make it right between you and Mary."
EIGHT YEAR'S LATER... HE TALKED TO LIFELONG FRIEND.. MIKE LONG ABOUT SWITCHING TO THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.
Mike Long: (18:40) "He picked the exact right time to change parties. He made a very smart decision, when he did that. That's what got it done for him."
PERDUE BECAME GEORGIA'S GOVERNOR IN 2003... OCCASIONALY.. CALLING HOME FOR COMFORT...
Betty Gocken-Perdue: (43:35) "The longer he was there, the more secure he got. The less he called."
LONG SAYS... EVEN IN THE BUCKHEAD MANSION.. HIS FRIEND STAYED TRUE TO HIS RURAL ROOTS.
Mike Long: (21:27) "When I'd spend the night, we didn't do anything formal, wasn't us. We ate down in the kitchen. Mary was cooking."
TWO TERMS ALMOST BEHIND THEM... FRIENDS SAY THERE'S NO DOUBT ABOUT MARY'S WISHES... .
Betty Gocken: (46:40) "She wants to come back, and I don't blame her."
SONNY SAYS HE'S COMING...
Mike Long: (20:50) "I think he's going to try to grow his grain business, probably internionally."
BUT OTHERS DOUBT HIS ABILITY TO SIT STILL.
David Davidson: (32:50) "I think Sonny's heart will always be here, always have friends here. It would be too much to think he will leave that lifestyle."
GOVERNOR PERDUE SAYS BONAIRE WILL DEFINITELY BE THEIR HOME BASE... BUT HE'S NOT GOING TO "SIT AT HOME IN HIS ROCKING CHAIR EITHER."
Sonny Perdue: "I'm honored to come back home. We worked really hard to not leave our roots and values that got us where we are. I'm very fortunate. I married an Atlanta girl. I couldn't get her to stay there now. She wants to come back to Bonaire."
PERDUE SAID HE AND HIS WIFE ARE RENOVATING THEIR BONAIRE HOME... AND WILL RETURN WHEN HE'S FINISHED AT THE CAPITOL.. JANUARY 10TH.
TO HEAR MORE OF THE GOVERNOR'S INTERVIEW ON COMING BACK TO BONAIRE... LOOK FOR THIS STORY ON OUR HOME PAGE... 13-WMAZ-DOT-COM.
PERDUE AND EMPLOYEES OF HIS GRAIN AND TRUCKING COMPANIES MET WITH OFFICIALS AT THE GEORGIA PORTS AUTHORITY.... SEEKING TO BOOST THE GOVERNOR'S BUSINESS PROSPECTS ONCE HE LEAVES OFFICE.
THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION LEARNED THROUGH AN OPEN RECORDS REQUEST...THAT PERDUE'S BUSINESS ASSOCIATES MET AT LEAST FIVE TIMES WITH PORTS AUTHORITY OFFICIALS.
GOVERNOR PERDUE WAS PRESENT AT ONE SEPTEMBER 2009 MEETING.
SPOKESMAN BERT BRANTLEY SAID THE GOVERNOR IS SIMPLY GATHERING INFORMATION... FOR HIS POST-GUBERNATORIAL BUSINESS LIFE...
AND THAT HE DID NOT RECEIVE ANY PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT.
TODAY'S 13WMAZ DOT COM WEB POLL QUESTION ASKS...
HOW WOULD YOU GRADE SONNY PERDUE'S JOB PERFORMANCE AS GOVERNOR?
SO FAR 11 PERCENT OF YOU SAY "A."
20 PERCENT OF YOU SAY "B."
22 PERCENT OF YOU SAY "C."
18 PERCENT OF YOU SAY "D."
AND 29 PERCENT OF YOU SAY "F."
VOTE NOW... YOU'LL FIND THE WEB POLL QUESTION ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF OUR HOMEPAGE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.
AS CENTRAL GEORGIA PREPARES FOR GOVERNOR PERDUE'S RETURN HOME... LET US CONNECT YOU TO A LOOK BACK AT HIS TERMS IN OFFICE.
JUST VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT 13WMAZ DOT COM AND LOOK FOR THE "SONNY COMES HOME" ICON IN THE MIDDLE OF THE HOMEPAGE.
YOU'LL FIND LINKS TO ALL OF OUR COVERAGE ON PERDUE... AS WELL AS COVERAGE FROM OUR SISTER STATION W-X-I-A IN ATLANTA... SISTER PUBLICATION U-S-A TODAY... AND PROJECT VOTE SMART.
ALL THAT'S AT 13WMAZ DOT COM.
A BUS CARRYING HEARD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENTS WAS DELAYED FOR ABOUT A HALF HOUR...WHILE THE STATE PATROL ARRESTED THEIR DRIVER ON AN OUTSTANDING WARRANT.
BIBB COUNTY SCHOOL SPOKESMAN CHRIS FLOORE SAYS IT HAPPENED THIS AFTERNOON ON ALLEN ROAD...OFF HOUSTON ROAD.
HE SAYS POLICE REMAINED ON THE SCENE UNTIL SCHOOL PERSONNEL ARRIVED TO WATCH THE BUS. THEY CALLED ANOTHER DRIVER TO COMPLETE THE RUN.
FLOORE DIDN'T HAVE THE NAME OF THE DRIVER....OR WHAT THE WARRANT WAS FOR.
THE STATE PATROL POST IN FORSYTH...ALSO HAD NO INFORMATION ON THE ARREST.
THE MACON CITY COUNCIL COULD VOTE TOMORROW NIGHT... ON A PLAN TO GIVE THE SPORTS AND MUSIC HALLS OF FAME A HALF MILLION DOLLARS.
THE COUNCIL APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE TODAY APPROVED THE MONEY... BY A 4-NOTHING VOTE.
THE GOAL IS TO KEEP THE TWO MUSEUMS IN DOWNTOWN MACON.
SAVE THE HALLS PRESIDENT MIKE DYER SAYS THEY'RE WORKING ON A FIVE-YEAR PLAN TO MAKE THE TWO STATE-OWNED MUSEUMS SELF-SUFFICIENT.
HE SAYS IN THE FUTURE THEY WON'T ASK THE CITY FOR MORE MONEY.
THE FULL COUNCIL COULD VOTE ON THE PLAN TUESDAY.
SEVEN WEEKS BEFORE THE G-O-P HOUSE TAKEOVER... DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS RETURNED TO CAPITOL HILL TODAY.
THAT INCLUDED FIRST-TIME CONGRESSMAN-ELECT AUSTIN SCOTT FROM GEORGIA'S EIGHTH DISTRICT.
SCOTT JOINED 100 OTHER FRESHMEN TO LEARN ABOUT THE JOBS THEY'LL ASSUME WHEN THE NEXT CONGRESS CONVENES IN JANUARY.
HE SAYS HE'S ALREADY TALKING ABOUT THE ISSUES THAT IMPACT CENTRAL GEORGIA.
"I have talked about Robins Air Force Base, certainly with the members that will be deciding what committees we'll go on. We're obviously very hopeful at the least that we'll have an Armed Services Committee appointment. We'll know for sure when the committee assignments are given out. We've also asked for agriculture, but we have been talking about the importance of Robins Air Force Base."
CONGRESS WILL BE IN SESSION FOR A WEEK BEFORE THE THANKSGIVING BREAK.
THEY'LL RETURN AGAIN ON NOVEMBER 29TH.... AND STAY UNTIL THEY COMPLETE THEIR WORK OR ADJOURN.
POLICE ARE ASKING FOR YOUR HELP IN CATCHING TWO MEN THEY SAY ROBBED A MACON RESTAURANT.
MACON POLICE RELEASED THIS PHOTO OF THE TWO MEN WHO ROBBED THE FIREHOUSE SUBS ON FORSYTH ROAD.... JUST BEFORE 10 P-M SATURDAY.
THEY SAY THE MEN ENTERED THE STORE... FORCED TWO EMPLOYEES TO THE BACK... AND TOOK THE MONEY.
ONE OF THEM CARRIED A BLUE GYM BAG.
NO ONE WAS INJURED.
IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION ON THE CASE...YOU CAN CALL MACON REGIONAL CRIMESTOPPERS AT 1-877-68-CRIME.
AGAIN.. THAT'S 1-877-68-CRIME
DOZENS OF CRIMEFIGHTERS... TODAY PUT THEIR NOSES TO THE GROUND IN CENTRAL GEORGIA...TO SNIFF OUT NEW POLICING TECHNIQUES.
HOUSTON AND DOOLY COUNTIES TODAY HOSTED POLICE OFFCERS...AND THEIR BEST FRIENDS...FOR THEIR FIRST ANNUAL K-9 TRAINING SEMINAR.
THE TRAINING WEEK DREW 70 DOG TEAMS FROM GEORGIA, FLORIDA, ALABAMA, AND OTHER STATES.
THE SESSIONS FOCUSED ON NARCOTICS DETECTION , SEARCH AND RESCUE, PATROLING, EXPLOSIVES, AND TRACKING.
DEPUTY SHERIFF... JUSTIN HALL WITH THE HOUSTON COUNTY TRAFFIC DIVISION SAYS THE TRAINING IS IMPORTANT TO TEACH THE K-9'S WHAT TO LOOK FOR OUT IN THE FIELD.
THE K-9 TRAINING RUNS UNTIL THURSDAY.
IMAGINE THE PERSON WHO INSPIRED YOUR CAREER GETTING KILLED..
George Mettler, Monroe County:
"His promise and how he just attracted young people. I responded to that."
THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED TO A MONROE COUNTY FORMER F-B-I AGENT WHEN PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY WAS ASSASSINATED.
NOW... ALMOST 47 YEARS LATER.... HE'S PUTTING HIS MEMORIES ON PAPER.
TONIGHT AT ELEVEN...JENNIFER BELLAMY INTRODUCES YOU TO GEORGE METTLER AND TELLS YOU WHY HE SAYS THE F-B-I KNEW ABOUT THE UPCOMING ASSASSINATION... WEEKS BEFORE IT TOOK PLACE.
WE ASKED OUR 13WMAZ FACEBOOK FANS WHETHER THEY'D ALREADY BOUGHT THEIR THANKSGIVING TURKEY.
ONE USER REPLIED... "NO! AND DINNER IS AT MY HOUSE!"
SOMEONE ELSE ANSWERED... "YES, AND HAVE EVERYTHING I NEED FOR THE DRESSING!"
AND A THIRD PERSON COMMENTED... "WHERE DID THE YEAR GO, I BET THE TURKEY IS SAYING THIS TOO."
JOIN US ON FACEBOOK AND GET IN ON THE DISCUSSION.
JUST VISIT US AT FACEBOOK DOT COM SLASH 13WMAZ.