PERRY -- Two of the men accused in an alleged murder-for-hire conspiracy entered not guilty pleas Wednesday in Houston County Superior Court.
Joni Clements, a clinical nurse for the 78th Medical Operations Squadron at Robins Air Force Base, was shot multiple times in the upper torso in the master bedroom of her Westwood Drive home in Warner Robins on Feb. 8, 2011.
Her husband, James “Eddy” Clements, 55, and Robert Sybert, 53, who cleaned the family pool for the Clements family, both entered not-guilty pleas before Judge George F. Nunn.
Clements, a sheet metal mechanic for the 559th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at the base, is accused of hiring Richard Grant Sybert, 30, of Warner Robins to kill his wife.
Sybert’s arraignment also had been scheduled for Wednesday but was continued. His father, Robert Sybert, 53, is accused of being his son’s getaway driver and providing the gun used in the slaying.
District Attorney George Hartwig filed a notice Jan. 18 to seek the death penalty against Richard Grant Sybert. He is accused of slaying Joni Clements for the promise of $1,000 from the victim’s husband, a car and a date with a stripper in exchange for her death.
May 31, 2011, a Houston County grand jury indicted all three men on 14 counts -- plus seven aggravating circumstances that allowed Hartwig to seek the death penalty if he chose. But Hartwig has since said he would not seek the death penalty for Clements or Robert Sybert.
In addition to the original charges of felony murder and burglary, the grand jury also indicted the three on charges of malice murder, possession of a firearm during a crime, conspiracy to commit murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, kidnapping with bodily injury, use of a sawed-off rifle to commit murder and use of a firearm with a silencer to commit murder, according to the indictment.
Aggravating circumstances include that the murder was committed for money and that it was committed at the direction of another. Other aggravating circumstances relate to the act of murder during the commission of other crimes, as well as the murder being “outrageously inhumane in that it involved torture and/or depravity of the mind.”
Warner Robins police Detective Mark Wright previously testified during a court hearing that Clements begged for her life before she was shot four to five times in the upper torso with a .22-caliber sawed-off rifle.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. For more on this story, come back to macon.com and read Thursday’s Telegraph.