Sunday, June 29, 2008

Stories from the past...


I had a "blast from the past" this morning watching television... I'm a crime buff... guess I wouldn't have covered cops and courts for 12 years if the subject didn't interest me so much. I've always been fascinated with what leads a person to kill someone else.
I turned over to the I.D. channel to watch 48 Hours Hard Evidence... and low and behold it was a case I covered as a reporter at The Macon Telegraph. 
It was the story of Cherry Hammock, a woman who was convicted of murdering her husband, Jay.
Here where the same people I interviewed over and over again during my time as a reporter: Defense attorneys Frank and Laura Hogue (who would be the defense attorneys in Macon I would want if I had been charged with a crime), Crawford County Sheriff Kerry Dunaway (who I have no comment about - although those of you who know the "food slot" story understand why that is the case) and assistant district attorney Biff Tillis (who I dealt with once or twice, but always found to be OK).
I picked up this story in 2004 (before the sheriff and I were at odds, I believe)... it was after Cherry Hammock won the right to a new trial. The CBS crime show became involved because they thought it was unusual case.
The couple, who had been married only a few years, were getting ready to divorce in September 2001 and fighting over the home they had built together. She claimed he kicked in the door to their bedroom and she shot him.
The must unusual thing about this story is that I met the victims parents while I was covering another murder... they lived across the street from a man who was killed in his driveway (and it wasn't a bad neighborhood). I was talking to neighbors when I met the Pete and Wyolene Hammock... wonderful people who were still grieving the loss of their own son.
Weeks later I would see them again in the Crawford County Courthouse as they watched their daughter-in-law get ready for her new trial. The cameras were rolling as things got underway.
Hammock ended up pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter just before jurors were to start hearing the case... and she was resentenced to five years in prison.
I just checked online and she was released on parole in 2006.
This was an unusual case... one I didn't cover from the beginning so I have no way of knowing all the evidence. I didn't hear all the evidence, but I know the truth will probably never fully be known.
I wonder what has happened to all of the people involved in this case... Cherry Hammock and the victims parents... they told me the hard time Jay Hammock's son was having accepting his father's death.
It's just weird to be taken back in time....

1 comment:

Ms. F said...

Wow! That is amazing, I love when I look at those shows and the stories are from places I know, yesterday I watched one on the Sheriff of Dekalb county who was killed before taking office and the trial was held in Albany, GA.

Seems like that Sheriff in Crawford county is not seeking re-election, wonder if this case had anything to do with it?