Warner Robins man found guilty in murder for hire case
A Houston County jury convicted 56-year-old James "Eddy" Clements of Warner Robins Friday on all charges linked with a conspiracy to kill Clements' wife Joni. Joni Clements was found dead from gunshot wounds in the couples home in February 2011.
Eddy Clements now faces life in prison without the possibility of parole, but a sentencing hearing has not been scheduled yet.
Prosecutors say Clements asked his friend 54-year-old Robert Sybert to help kill his wife and Robert Sybert solicited the help of his son 30-year-old Richard Sybert. Richard Sybert confessed to shooting Joni Clements.
Both Syberts took plea deals in exchange for their testimony against Clements. By taking the deal, Richard Sybert avoids the death penalty, but will be in jail for the rest of his life without the possibility of parole.
Robert Sybert's deal will put him away for 30 years, which Houston County District Attorney George Hartwig says should be the rest of his life as well. Hartwig says the case is a tragedy and his heart goes out to the children of Joni and Eddy Clements.
"This is just such a senseless type of a case, and I'm glad that we got the case tried this week and I'm glad justice has been served, and it's a good feeling just get it, get it behind us," Hartwig said.
From the outset of the trial defense attorneys claimed that Robert Sybert, the father of the confessed shooter, misunderstood comments made by Eddy Clements about wishing his wife were dead. They say Robert Sybert took it upon himself to convince his son to kill Joni Clements expecting a reward of money in return.
Defense Attorney Frank Hogue says he plans to appeal the conviction.