Thanks for joining us.
I'm Frank Malloy.
And I'm Leah Johnson.
This is Eyewitness News at 11.
We have a new development on a story we've been following since 2009...with the conviction of a Lizella man in the killing of a Macon convenience store clerk.
Dipak "danny Patel" was killed outside the Riverside Drive Chevron Station three years ago.
This week..a third conviction in his murder
as Maurice Battle is found guilty.
The 29-year old has not been sentenced yet.
District Attorney Greg Winters had previously told 13WMAZ prosecutors wanted the death penalty...but that option's now off the table.
Two other Macon men have also since pleaded guilty...and were sentenced to twenty years in prison.
Macon Police are working an accident near Riverside Cemetery...
It happened around ten o'clock at the corner of Orange Street and Riverside Drive...
Coroner Leon Jones says an ambulance was called to treat a pedestrian...who had been hit by a car.
13W-M-A-Z's Candace Adorka spotted the accident and took this I-phone picture.
She reported..several cars were stopped in the road... and multiple officers responded... along with the ambulance and fire department.
Little information is available right now, but we'll have updates as we learn more.
In Campaign 2012 coverage tonight...one of the candidates for School Board District Three came to our studio...to answer questions about the direction of Bibb County Schools.
Here's Leah's interview with Merritt Johnson.
Johnson's opponent - Sue Sipe - had a School Board meeting tonight - to read and hear from her search for the story...District 3 Bibb School Board Candidates. That's on our Education page...at 13WMAZ-dot-com.
Tonight now, we turn our focus to the dangers of prescription drugs...and what happens when users don't follow the label.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says overdoses were down last year...but the statistics still contain some surprises about the types of drugs leading to the most deaths.
They say there were were 664 drug overdose deaths in 2011 -
that's down from 729 in 2010.
And the victims were older than you might think.
When we look at the breakdown by age, we see the age group 45-54 had the most - almost one out of every 3 people who died from overdose.
The victims were also overwhelmingly white..91 percent.
There's about a 50-50 split between men and women.
And 77 percent of those deaths were from prescription drugs only.
But what may surprise you even more... is that the GBI says Xanax caused more fatal overdoses last year...than any other drug.
Doctors often prescribe that drug to help patients combat anxiety and panic.
Tom George talked to medical professionals about how the drug is used....and sometimes abused with serious consequences.
Graves Pharmacy in Macon is a father-and-son business...but after more than 50 years...some things just aren't the way they used to be.
<Drugs have changed, they're much more potent today. There are a lot more drugs that can be abused available today. >
Leading the list...according to the GBI...is Xanax. They say it caused 231 overdose deaths in Georgia last year.
Also known by its scientific name....Alprazolam.. the drug is used for anxiety and panic disorders.
Because people view it as a safe drug...Graves says....people sometimes take more of it than prescribed.
<if one is good, two is better. And that's the mentality we have here. And unfortunately, in
<Graves says it's disconcerting...that patients often come in with empty bottles days even weeks before they're supposed to be refilled. >
<Five, seven, ten days early, which lets us know they're not taking it as prescribed or they're doing something else with the medication.>Five, seven, ten days early, which lets us know they're not taking it as prescribed or they're doing something else with the medication.
And other red flags? - patients wanting higher strength doses ... or asking to pay cash instead of using their insurance to buy from multiple pharmacies ...
<And we try and investigate you know where they came from ... or who the orginial purchaser was, whether it was legitimate, or just being sold on the street.>
Chris Patterson of Bibb County's Narcotics Division...says he's seen a lot of prescription drugs sold on the streets. He says illegal dealers typically sell Xanax for $3-4 a pill. Oxycodone $15 for a 30 mg pill, and hydrocodone for $5-8.
But pharmacists warn....users pay a much higher price in the end.
<Next thing you know, you're dependent on that. And if you try and stop taking it, your body's going to be looking for it, and that's where the addiction comes in, and that's difficult for a patient at home to deal with.>
In Macon, Tom George, 13WMAZ Eyewitness News.
The narcotics department tells us in many cases, people buy prescriptions illegally... right in the parking lots of pharmacies and shopping centers in Bibb County.
In Georgia last year, there were more xanax-related deaths than cocaine and meth combined.
Florida A&M University wants to try to settle the lawsuit filed against the school..involving the hazing death of a band member.
FAM-U trustees today voted to instruct the school's attorneys to enter mediation with attorneys for the family of Robert Champion.
Champion died last November after band members allegedly beat him during a hazing ritual.
Eleven of them face felony hazing charges, while two others face misdemeanors.
They have pleaded not guilty.
FAM-U trustees would have to sign off on any settlement with Champion's family.
Coming up next tonight...Scene 13 helps you map out the weekend with events for young and old...
Ben's got the rundown.
But first...as we go to break... Meet today's Facebook Fan of the Day.
Susan Carey Claxton...just e-mail fan of the day at 13wmaz dot com to claim your coffee mug.
If you want to be fan of the day... Just visit facebook dot com slash 13WMAZ... Become a fan and join the conversations.
We pick the fan of the day randomly...every weeknight at eleven.
Stick around...we'll be right back.
Today marks thirty five years since the death of the King of Rock and Roll...and this week...fans have been pouring into Memphis to honor Elvis Presley.
He died in 1977 when he was just 42 years old.
He would have been seventy-seven this year.
Fans remembered him by laying mementos outside his Graceland home.
One woman who traveled from England to Tennessee...said she makes the pilgrimage every year... And will keep on doing it as long as she has the money.
Let's head on over to Ben now...as he runs down the weekends upcoming events.
The weekend's almost here...and Scene 13 has got you covered when it comes to events across central Georgia...
The season may be over for the Warner Robins American Little League All-Stars but community support continues..
Tomorrow night the team's sponsors will host a Casino Night..to raise money for a new ball field.
It starts at 7 p-m at the V-F-W on Corder Road in Warner Robins...
Tickets are 50 dollars for 2 people..
It includes 2 drink tickets and 500 dollars in casino money per person.
For ticket information...call 478-333-2116 or 478-256-7653.
Another event focusing on youth sports in the area...is Weaver's Weekend..
It's this Saturday, August 18th..at the Cox Capital Theatre in Macon..
It features music by the Constellations along with Eric Dodd and the Corduroy Road.
Tickets are 20 dollars in advance and 25 dollars at the door.
Doors open 6 p-m and the show starts at 7 p-m..
The event is a fundraiser for the Friends of Mike Weaver..an organization benefiting young athletes..
Weaver was a linemen for the Georgia Bulldogs...
He died in 2009 at the age of 47.
You can also catch a little night music at the Hummingbird this weekend..
Tomorrow night "Stoopgrass" takes the stage at 10...
And on Saturday...it's Boothill...
That show also starts at 10..
Admission is 5 dollars for both shows
If you're into theater.....tickets are going on sale tomorrow for the newest play at the Macon Little Theatre..
Boeing Boeing premieres next Friday, August 24th...but members can get tickets starting tomorrow.
Boeing Boeing is a comedy about a man who has three fiances...all flight attendants...
Tickets go on sale tomorrow for members ..
Non-members can buy tickets starting Monday..
They are 18 dollars for adults...15 dollars for seniors and 10 dollars for students...
The play is not recommended for children under 12.
Imagine having to always depend on public transportation and then one day... out of the blue... someone hands over the keys to their car and says it's yours to keep for free.
That's what happened to one macon woman who spent time at a rescue mission trying to turn her life around.
We have her story in tonight's hero central report.
Marie Ballew is Overcome by tears of joy after receiving a car from a total stranger.
Sot: I'm like, shocked that someone would chose me of all people. I mean, I just want to get on my knees and thank God. It's just amazing. It's just an amazing feeling. I still can't wrap it around my head, my brain.
Jeff Nicklas.. Executive Director of the Macon Rescue Mission says a man called his office this week wanting to donate a car to someone in need. Nicklas says he immediately thought of Ballew because of all that she's overcome and all that she does for others..
Sot: She's got a fulltime job, finds time for the Dove Center and she does church work but she doesn't have a vehicle. She's riding the bus to all these stops....
But not anymore..
Sot: You mean no more city bus? They gone miss me. They gone miss my business (laughs).
Ballew says her life has been difficult.. but one by one... Prayers have been answered ever since she turned to the Macon Rescue Mission after leaving an abusive relationship. At the time.. she says her 3 year old daughter Joy was only 5 weeks old.
Sot: I didn't see a light at the end of the tunnel at that moment. I had faith but that faith was as small as a mustard seed. Now it's grown a lot bigger and I'm just starting to see God's almighty hand move in my life in mysterious ways.
Ballew says receiving her blessing on wheels has inspired her to do even more for others and share her testimony that anything is possible.
Ballew says she has never had a car before.
She says she has always either ridden the bus or carpooled.
Now she has a Dodge Durango to call her own thanks to the kindness of a stranger.