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WE BREAK MORE NEWS AT WEDNESDAY / DECEMBER 19 / 2007
Letters to St. Nick. A13
OFFICER WILLIAM ERIC FREEMAN: 1971-2007
Police are looking for a child predator who sexually assaulted an elementary school student in Madison on Monday and tried to lure another student in Huntsville on Tuesday. B1 Two elderly sisters on their way to the post office to mail Christmas gifts are killed when their car is hit by a dump truck on U.S. 431 near New Hope. B1
‘Unyielding courage’ marked Eric Freeman
A key witness at the trial of Don Siegelman and Richard Scrushy is released from federal prison. B4
Authorities have closed the investigation into the disappearance of Natalee Holloway and do not have evidence to charge anyone. B4
The Senate votes to provide $70 billion for U.S. military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, handing a victory to President Bush and his GOP allies on Capitol Hill. A3
A teenager whose appendix ruptured at sea gets safely to shore after an unusual rescue in which the Navy airlifted her from a cruise ship for emergency surgery. A8
Sens. Barack Obama of Illinois and Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York remain deadlocked in Iowa, according to a new poll. A12
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice cautions against any action that could destabilize Iraq after Turkey sent about 300 troops across the border in pursuit of Kurdish separatist guerrillas. A7
Eric Schultz/Huntsville Times
An Alabama State Trooper stands at attention as the procession for officer William Eric Freeman approaches State Line Cemetery on Tuesday.
Dow Nasdaq S&P 500 + 65.27 + 21.57 + 9.07 With Huntsville about to set a record for the lowest annual rainfall since at least 1894, the U.S. House votes to provide more money for drought relief. A9
Devotion to job, family recalled
More than 1,000 gather to honor fallen HPD officer
By PATRICIA C. McCARTER and NIKI DOYLE
Times Staff Writers email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
• Capital murder suspect Kenneth Shipp fills out financial papers as he looks for an attorney. A4 • Shipp’s roommate says the suspect was battling depression. A4 • Pictures from Tuesday’s ceremonies. A5
Retired officer helped nab Shipp
When shot fired, his training just kicked into action
By NIKI DOYLE
Times Staff Writer email@example.com
Roger Clemens denies allegations that he took performance-enhancing drugs, calling them “a dangerous and destructive shortcut that no athlete should ever take.” E1
Full weather, B6
Forecast: Mostly cloudy. High today
HAZEL GREEN – Photographs that flashed on big screens at the front of the Bethlehem Baptist sanctuary at Eric Freeman’s funeral showed that he was more than a police officer gunned down Friday night. There was Freeman pressing
his face to the face of his newborn son … napping on the sofa, more than a year later, with the same child, now a chubby-cheeked toddler … doing he-man poses with another son … staring down the barrel of a paintball gun … looking proud in an LSU jersey … hugging his cheerleader daughter … kissing his pretty wife. The slide show reinforced what everyone’s been saying since the 36-year-old Huntsville police officer was shot during a fairly routine traffic call: It just isn’t right. This one shouldn’t have been taken.
A note written by Gov. Bob Riley and read at the funeral called the officer “an Alabamian of distinction, an American of heroic proportion” and referred to his “unyielding courage.” It was presented to Freeman’s widow, Leslie, along with an Alabama flag that flew over the state Capitol Monday in her husband’s honor. More than 1,000 people
You always wish you could do more. It’s something that Billy Hancock, a retired Huntsville police investigator, has thought for days since he helped subdue a man who allegedly shot officer Eric Freeman last week. When the gunshot rang out Friday night, Hancock leapt Please see HONOR on A5 forward to help another offi-
cer restrain the man who fired. That knee-jerk reaction spread quickly across the city. “It sounded like Huntsville lit up in sirens,” Hancock Hancock said. Hancock said he was sitting in traffic at the intersection of Bailey Cove and Weatherly roads when Kenneth Shipp rear-ended his 2005 silver Chevrolet Suburban. Please see RETIRED on A5
Abby/D2 Bridge/D2 Business/A9 Classifieds/C1 Comics/D3 Crossword puzzles/D2, C3 Cryptoquote/D2 Deaths/B3
53 Adopted son, 41 birth mother meet at work
Lowe’s delivery driver ends search at store’s cash register
Steve Flaig and his recently located birth Newhouse News Service mother, Christine Tallady, share an affectionate GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – For years, Steve moment at Lowe’s in Grand Rapids, Mich. Flaig, a delivery truck driver at a Lowe’s store here, “I have a complete family now, all my kids,” had searched for his birth mother. He found her working the cash register at the said Tallady, who has two younger children. “It’s front of the store. a perfect time of year. It’s the best Christmas presFor several months, he and Christine Tallady ent ever.” had known each other casually as co-workers. For Flaig, it was the reunion he had dreamed Last Friday, they met for the first time as mother and son. Please see MOTHER on A8
NASA finds source of fuel gauge trouble
Manager unsure how long it’ll take to fix connector
By MARCIA DUNN
Newhouse News photo
Editorials/A6 Horoscope/D2 Life/D1 Lotteries/A2 Movies/D5 People/D2 Sports/E1 Sudoku/C6 Television/B6
AP Aerospace Writer
By PAT SHELLENBARGER
Huntsville, Alabama Vol. 98, No. 272, XX pages Contents © 2007, The Huntsville Times
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – NASA on Tuesday traced fuel gauge failures in shuttle Atlantis’ tank to a bad connector, and a top manager said he did not know how long it would take to replace the part or when the spaceship might fly. The erratic shuttle fuel gauges – part of a critical safety system – forced back-to-
back launch delays this month. Until Tuesday’s tanking test, NASA had been aiming for a Jan. 10 liftoff of Atlantis with a European space station lab. “We’re going to follow this trail where it leads us and we’re going to solve this problem, and then we’ll go fly ... whether it’s Jan. 10 or Feb. 10 or March 10,” shuttle program manager Wayne Hale said. In orbit, meanwhile, spacewalking astronauts helped pinpoint the source of a flawed mechanism in the International Space Station’s power Please see NASA on A3
The Huntsville Times, Sunday, December 16, 2007 A5
How to contribute
WAFF-TV, Channel 48, has set up a fund to benefit the family of slain Huntsville police officer William Eric Freeman. Contributions may be made at any branch of Redstone Federal Credit Union.
Writers union may skirt producer group
Would negotiate on individual basis with firms
By JOHN ROGERS
The Associated Press
Huntsville police established a fund in 2006 to build a fallen officers memorial outside the Justice and Public Safety Complex at 815 Wheeler St. Donation forms are available at the public safety complex or at www.hsvcity.com/police. For more information, call 256564-8036.
Glenn Baeske/Huntsville Times
Huntsville Police badge with black band is worn by a captain at the press conference Saturday.
Continued from page A1
Lily Flagg Rd.
Area of detail
Before Spencer went to the south precinct to meet with officers, she stopped by Tenders! to pick up food for the men. Throughout the day, dispatchers notified officers of food being sent to the precincts. Some families dropped off dinner and asked that it be taken to Freeman’s family. “The community is responding in such a positive manner,” Spencer said. “That’s what you appreciate.”
Southern Family Market
Special to the Times
Dulcie Teesateskie/Huntsville Times
Police shooting suspect Kenneth Shipp
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Bailey Cove Rd.
Site of shooting
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arrest Shipp for DUI when Shipp allegedly pulled out a pistol and shot Freeman in the head. Lambert immediately grabbed for the gun, Reyes said, and two bystanders helped Lambert subdue him. Precinct captains and officers flanked Reyes and Director of Public Safety Rex Reynolds during a brief news conference at the police station Saturday afternoon. Despite their disciplined air, officers outside the station slumped almost imperceptibly, wiping their red eyes. “This is yet another tragic day in the city of Huntsville and in the history of the Huntsville Police Department,” Reynolds
said, “that this administration has to come to you and describe yet another senseless killing of one of our fellow officers.” Another policeman of three years, Daniel Golden, was shot in August 2005 after answering a call to a domestic dispute at Jalisco, a Mexican grocery/restaurant on Jordan Lane. That was the first time in 37 years a Huntsville officer had died in the line of duty. Officers still coming to terms with Golden’s death took another blow when Freeman died, and the officers need time to gather their thoughts, said police spokesman Wendell Johnson. “We’re closing up. We’re crying. We’re mourning the loss of a fellow officer,” Johnson said. “The last thing we need is to have a reporter come in and ask, ‘How do you feel?’ “We ask the media to understand that our officers are human.” Freeman was the fourth homicide victim during the week in Huntsville and the city’s 18th homicide for the year.
Police chaplains are available for officers who need them, said Johnson. Huntsville residents have logged on to a number of online forums to express their sympathies for a man who obviously loved his work. Madison County Sheriff’s Investigator Brent Patterson said Freeman, a fellow graduate of Hazel Green High School, loved to talk about his job while the two men waited on their children at little league football games. “We chatted about how excited he was about going to work for the Huntsville Police Department, and how it was a lifelong dream for him,” Patterson said. “He was just a super, super young man.”
LOS ANGELES – Faced with the indefinite suspension of negotiations, the union representing striking Hollywood writers told its members Saturday it would try to deal directly with Hollywood studios and production companies, bypassing the umbrella organization that has been representing them. The news was welcomed by the company that produces David Letterman’s “Late Show,” which said it hoped to broker a deal that would put the talk show host and his writers back to work. Talks broke off Dec. 7 after the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the studios, insisted it would not bargain further unless the Writers Guild of America dropped proposals that included the authority to unionize writers on reality shows and animation projects. Both sides in the strike, which began Nov. 5, have said the central issue is compensation for programs, movies and other content streamed or downloaded over the Internet. “As you know, the AMPTP is currently unwilling to bargain with us,” the guild said in a letter delivered to its members Saturday. “The internal dynamics of the AMPTP make it difficult for the conglomerates to reach consensus and negotiate with us on a give-and-take basis. We believe this multi-employer structure inhibits individual companies from pursuing their self-interest in negotiations.” While saying the guild still hoped the producers would
The Associated Press
This file photo shows David Letterman during taping of “The Late Show” Sept. 4.
return to the bargaining table, the union added that it had decided to approach production companies individually and would begin doing so on Monday. “We want to do everything in our power to move negotiations forward and end this devastating strike,” the guild said in a letter signed by chief negotiator John Bowman and others. The union said it was delivered to members of both the Writers Guild of America West and Writers Guild of America East. “This is merely the latest indication that the WGA organizers are grasping for straws and have never had a coherent strategy for engaging in serious negotiations,” alliance spokesman Jesse Hiestand said in a statement. “The AMPTP may have different companies with different assets in different businesses, but they are all unified in one common goal – to reach an agree-
ment with writers that positions everyone in our industry for success in a rapidly changing marketplace.” One independent company, Letterman’s Worldwide Pants, indicated it was willing to negotiate individually. Letterman himself is a member of the WGA, as is his show’s executive producer, Rob Burnett. “Worldwide Pants has always been a writer-friendly company,” Burnett said in a statement. “Since the beginning of the strike, we have expressed our willingness to sign an interim agreement with the guild consistent with its positions in this dispute. We’re happy that the guild has now adopted an approach that might make this possible. It is our strong desire to be back on the air with our writers and we hope that will happen as soon as possible.”
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