On NEWS 7 tonight: Tales of two murders: one the night before Christmas, another the morning after.
And as Darlene Burcham's first year as Roanoke City Manager draws to a close, she tells Joe Dashiell the star city is "poised for greatness."
In sports, Mark Richt is out of the running for the UVA coaching job. He's taking the helm of the Georgia football team.
and he's called "Little Vick." Mike Stevens takes a look at Clemson's Woody Dantzler and Tech's Michael Vick in a Gator Bowl preview.
Light snow tonight and perhaps more as we move into Friday. Your skiier friendly weather forecast is coming up.
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[IN Q=I'm praying]
((I'M PRAYING TO GOD THIS DOESN'T MAKE ME BITTER.))
[OUT Q=me bitter.]
A Roanoke woman tries to come to terms with a mother's worst nightmare.
Good evening, I'm Keith Humphry.
Sonja Swain's daughter was stabbed to death early this morning.
Swain says she tried to stop the bleeding but there was nothing she could do.
Teresa Hamilton reports all Swain can do now is try to live up to a promise.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=01-Sonja Swain/Victim's Mother; ]
[SUPER=01-Dwight Swain/Victim's Brother; ]
[OUT Q=NEWS 7, Roanoke.]
(( Christmas in Sonja Swain's Roanoke home will never be the same.
Just after midnight-- Swain's daughter, Monique, was stabbed outside the family's apartment.
[in q=If I ]
((SONJA SWAIN/VICTIM'S MOTHER: IF I HAD A CHOICE I'D PREFER IT BEEN ME THAN HER. CAUSE SHE WAS 22- YEARS OLD.))
[out q= 22- years old.]
Family members say Monique was trying to protect her younger sister, Marquita, from another young girl wielding a knife.
17- year old Marquita survived the attack with two cuts, but Monique did not.
She'd been stabbed under the arm.
[IN q= I came outside]
((DWIGHT SWAIN/VICTIM'S BROTHER: I CAME OUTSIDE AND SAW MY SISTER BLEEDING AND I RAN OUTSIDE AND SAW THE GIRLS IN THE CAR TRYING TO SPEED OFF AND THE GIRL WITH THE KNIFE GET BACK IN THE CAR AND THEY JUST LEFT.))
[OUT Q= just left.]
A 17- year old girl has since been charged with murder.
Family members say she was angry with Marquita... who'd begun dating the girl's ex-boyfriend.
[in q= I don't]
((I DON'T HATE THIS GIRL, I'M ANGRY AND I KNOW I'M ANGRY AND I WONDER WHAT HER PARENTS FEEL LIKE TOO, THEY DONE LOST THEIR KID.))
[out q= their kid.]
Monique had a 16- month old daughter and family members say she was also pregnant.
Sonja Swain says she intends to raise her granddaughter as her own.
She says it was her daughter's dying wish and a promise she plans to honor.
Teresa Hamilton, NEWS 7, Roanoke. ))
Roanoke police are searching for a man who they say shot and killed a teenager Christmas Eve at the Stop and Save Mini Mart on Melrose Avenue.
18-year-old Reaco (Rico) Ramon Hilton died from a gun shot wound to the abdomen.
[DOUBLE BOXES=Keith & Jen /Newsroom;]
Jennifer Miele spoke with police and the victim's family today.
[LIVE= Jen Full/Newsroom]
Keith, police tell us they believe Bernard Walker shot and killed Hilton because the two were arguing.
But Hilton's family says that's not the case.
They say Hilton's older brother got in a fight weeks ago, and the man he fought with ordered a hit to take revenge.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=Rico had nothing to do]
[SUPER=01-Nakita Thomas/Victim's Mother;:00]
[OUT Q=know about.]
((NAKITA THOMAS/VICTIM'S MOTHER: RICO HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT AT ALL, HE WASN'T EVEN THERE. HE HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT AT ALL.))
Reaco Hilton's mother says Reaco's older brother Ricardo got in a fight at this Roanoke night club weeks ago.
She says the man he fought with ordered a hit to take revenge.
((NAKITA THOMAS: IT HURT HIS PRIDE BECAUSE EVERYONE IN ROANOKE WAS TALKING ABOUT IT. IN ONE HIT HE WAS KNOCKED OUT. HE WAS EMBARRASSED. HE HAD BEEN TELLING PEOPLE ON THE STREET HE WAS GOING TO RETALIATE BY KILLING RICARDO OR HIS BROTHER OR HIS FAMILY.))
Police are searching for 19-year-old Bernard Maurice Walker.
Hilton's family says they believe Walker was hired to do the shooting.
They say, fighting violence with violence didn't and won't solve anything.
((NAKITA THOMAS: MY SON, I DON'T WANT HIM TO DIE IN VAIN, I WANT PEOPLE TO LEARN FROM THIS, AND TO GROW, THE COMMUNITY TO COME TOGETHER. I DON'T WANT A RETALIATION, OR A, I DON'T WANT A WAR. I DON'T WANT THAT AT ALL.))
Reaco Hilton was shot Christmas Eve at the Stop and Save Mini Mart on Melrose Avenue.
Today, Hilton's friends placed flowers at the scene of the murder.
((NAKITA THOMAS: HE WAS 18, BUT HE WAS A BABY. HE DIDN'T NOT LIVE HIS LIFE. AND I'LL NEVER HAVE GRANDCHILDREN. THERE WAS SO MUCH HE DIDN'T EVEN KNOW ABOUT.))
[LIVE= Jen Full/Newsroom]
Friends and family of Hilton plan to hold a memorial tonight.
His funeral is scheduled for Saturday morning.
Hilton's mother says she and others from the Muslim Community will speak at the funeral Keith,
[DOUBLE BOXES= Keith & Jen /Newsroom;]
to encourage the young black community to unite instead of divide.
More scrutiny led to fewer executions in Virginia this year.
The number of executions fell from 14 in last year to eight this year.
State Officials believe D-N-A evidence and more skeptical judges are among the reasons for the decrease.
Virginia is now ranked third in executions across America.
Last year, the state was second.
So far, NO executions are scheduled for next year.
Danville police may have a mystery on their hands.
They responded to a fire call on Bethel Street this morning - and found a man sitting in a chair on the front porch burned to death.
The man's name has not been released.
She said Roanoke was poised for change .. Has City Manager Darlene Burcham CHANGED her mind in the year since she took office?
We'll check in with her after the break.
And from change, to EX-change.
The post-Christmas rush to get what you REALLY wanted this holiday...
That's still ahead on News 7...
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[Web Address Announce]
She weathered the Y-2-K scare during her first hours on the job... And in the year since Darlene Burcham took over as Roanoke city manager, she has faced more substantial challenges.
Tonight, Joe Dashiell talks with Burcham about her first year in city hall.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=It's a good feeling]
[SUPER=03-Roanoke/Jan. 5; :14]
[SUPER=01-Darlene Burcham/Roanoke City Manager; :26 quick]
[SUPER=04-December 18; 1:09]
[OUT Q=JD News 7 Roanoke]
(([OPENS ON BURCHAM BITE 99-44 01:54:00]
[IN Q=It's a good feeling]
((DARLENE BURCHAM/ROANOKE CITY MANAGER: IT'S A GOOD FEELING TO BE SO WELL RECEIVED BY A COMMUNITY AND FOR SO MANY PEOPLE TO SEEM SO EXCITED ABOUT HAVING A NEW CITY MANAGER ABOUT HAVING THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY THAN THEY'VE BEEN DONE IN THE PAST.))
[OUT Q=they've done in the past.]
In early January, Darlene Burcham was enjoying a warm welcome... getting to know the city and the citizens she'd been hired to lead.
Almost 12 months later, Burcham says she still feels the community's "warmth and friendliness."
[IN Q=I have not felt]
((I HAVE NOT FELT THAT I WAS A STRANGER FROM THE VERY FIRST DAY THAT I'VE BEEN HERE.))
[OUT Q=that I've been here]
That's not to say her first months have passed without challenge or controversy.
On issues such as the proposed biomedical institute and the future of Victory Stadium... she has faced substantial opposition, but Burcham says she's not afraid of the public debate.
[IN Q=I think it's healthy]
((I THINK IT'S HEALTHY TO HAVE DISAGREEMENT AND IN FACT IT WOULD BE A PRETTY DULL WORLD IF SOMEONE ALWAYS AGREED WITH YOU. AND I HAVE SEEN EVERY DISCUSSION THAT WE'VE HAD AS A COMMUNITY AS BEING RESPECTFUL IN ITS DEMEANOR AND HAVING VERY VALID OPINIONS COMING FROM THE POSITIONS THEY COME FROM.))
[OUT Q=from the positions they come from.]
At a recent council meeting, Burcham said she had found Roanoke poised for change...
[NAT SOUND OF MEETING]
Victory Stadium for example, is the type of issu she says the city must confront if it hopes to remain competitive and continue to grow.
[IN Q=My sense is]
((MY SENSE IS THAT PEOPLE REALIZE THAT IN ORDER FOR ROANOKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN THE FUTURE AS IT HAS BEEN IN THE PAST, THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO CHANGE. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO STAY IN THE REAL WORLD AND STAY COMPETITIVE.))
[OUT Q=and stay competitive.]
Burcham says she has tried to be decisive... and instill a sense of urgency in the way city government
responds to citizens' concerns.
Her first year has flown, and Burcham says she hopes to keep up that pace.
[IN Q=I just hope that feeling lasts]
((I JUST HOPE THAT FEELING LASTS BECAUSE AS I SAID AT THE BEGINNING WHEN I CAME, I THINK WE'RE POISED FOR GREATNESS. I DON'T THINK THOSE CHOICES COME VERY OFTEN. AND I THINK YOU HAVE TO WORK QUICKLY WHILE THE WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY IS STILL OPEN.))
[OUT Q=while the opportunity is still open.]
Burcham says she's most proud of citizen involvement...in the comprehensive planning process, and even controversial issues such as Washington Park.
As she looks toward her second year as Roanoke's City Manager, Burcham promises many more opportunities to continue that dialogue.
Joe Dashiell News 7 Roanoke))
Most retailers say it's been a lackluster holiday season.
Roanoke Valley shop owners are hoping the last week of the year will make up for slow sales so far.
Merchants were early to rise today, anticipating an overload of returns.
But many shoppers were out for an exchange, not a refund.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=Not one particular item]
[SUPER=01-Greg Chlan/J.C. Penney Manager;]
[OUT Q=people bring it back.]
Merchants say traditionally customers like to go shopping the day after Christmas simply because the sales are so good.
Valley View Mall traffic was fairly heavy, although there were no major tie-ups.
A lackluster day in the malls - and on Wall Street.
Retailers joined techs on the downside due to continued worries about softer-than-expected holiday sales.
[TAKE DOW & NASDAQ PAGE]
The Dow closed up 57.
The tech-weighted Nasdaq dipped 23 points.
[GRAPHIC=Lewis Gale Clinic]
The Lewis Gale Clinic is taking two of its former physicians to court for violating their contracts.
After leaving the clinic in November, Dr. Gregory Reibel and Dr. Preston Waldrop opened Virginia Orthopaedics in Salem.
Lewis Gale Clinic says that violates the "no compete clause" in the contract the doctors voluntarily signed.
But the doctors' attorney says the agreement is not enforceable.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=It is way to broad]
((MIKE URBANSKI/DOCTORS LAWYER:IT IS WAY TOO BROAD, BROADER THAN ANY CONTRACT THAT'S EVER BEEN ENFORCED IN THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA. IN FACT, THIS CONTRACT IS NOT A NON-COMPETE AGREEMENT IT'S A CONTRACT OF INDENTURED SERVITUDE))
[SUPER=01-Mike Urbanski/Doctors' Lawyer ]
Urbanski says because of the way the contract is written, the doctors have already fulfilled their obligation, and the contract has expired.
The Clinic says it gave the doctors the opportunity to buy out the restrictions if they wanted to continue practicing in the area.
The case will go before the circuit court for the city of Salem on January 11th.
Urbanski is hopeful the case will get thrown out.
But he says he believes it could end up in the Virginia Supreme Court.
The future looks bright for part of Virginia's past.
A private nonprofit foundation has been set up to preserve ten Civil War battlefields in the Shenandoah Valley.
The sites extend from Winchester to Port Republic in Rockingham County to McDowell in Highland County.
The group plans to buy conservation easements that keep buildings and housing lots off the land.
Coming up in sports, Mike Stevens takes a look at Dantzler and Vick, the two quarterbacks leading Clemson and Virginia Tech in the Gator Bowl. Georgia hires a new leader. Mark Richt had been a top candidate for the UVA job,
and one of the NFL's pioneers has died. Joe Gilliam Junior was one of the first black signal callers in the league.
[TAPE#=SP-79 tc 59:37]
One name is out of the mix in the search for a new UVA head football coach.
Today, Georgia has named Florida State offensive coordinator Mark Richt the Bulldogs' new coach.
Richt and Georgia have reached an agreement in principle. A few details still need to be worked out.
He replaces fired coach Jim Donnan. Donnan's squad just
beat Virginia 37-14 in the Oahu Bowl on Christmas Eve.
Donnan leaves the Bulldogs with 40 and 19 record, and finished this season eight and four.
Richt has been an assistant at Florida State for 14 years and was promoted to offensive coordinator in 1994.
The Virginia Tech Hokies began their week long preparations for the Clemson Tigers today.
Tonight, Mike Stevens takes a look the quarterbacks - Michael Vick and the man they call "Little Vick" - Clemson's Woodrow Dantzler.
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[IN Q=FIRST AUDIO]
[SUPER=01-Michael Vick/Va. Tech Quarterback; 10]
[SUPER=01-Woodrow Dantzler/Clemson Quarterback; :40 quick]
[SUPER=01-Tommy Bowden/Clemson Head Coach; :54]
[SUPER=01-Chad Beasley/VT Defensive Tackle; 1:13]
[SUPER=01-Cory Bird/Va. Tech Rover; 1:18]
[OUT Q=...NEWS 7 SPORTS."]
(( Ask Michael Vick if he's excited about playing against Woodrow Dantzler and comparing notes and he perks up immediately.
But Dantzler and his coach aren't so quick to buy into the Vick comparison. Woodrow seems put off by all the Vick talk, and Tommy Bowden simply doesn't think his man is in Vick's league.
And don't forget to join your Hometown Station for another Tech 2000 half hour special, Saturday night December 30th f
rom Jacksonville at seven. Mike Stevens News 7 Sports.))[S-Cavs]
It's been a big week for the UVA men's Basketball team and the nation is noticing.
The undefeated Cavaliers have moved up to 8th place in the Associated Press poll from 14th.
Last week UVA beat previously undefeated Tennessee 107 to 89, then cruised to an 85-69 win over the University Of Maryland-Baltimore County.
The Cavs are ranked 9th in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll.
It's the first time since 1983 that UVA has broken into the Top Ten.
Virginia hosts Bucknell Thursday night, and plays at Dartmouth
[TAPE#=SP-84 tc 42:38]
One of the first black quarterbacks in the NFL has died.
Joe Gilliam Junior passed away just four days before his 50th birthday.
He was dead on arrival at a Nashville hospital. Family members say it appears to have been a heart attack late last night.
Gilliam's life and career both had extreem highs and lows.
He started for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1974.
His drug addiction, in part, led to his benching and eventually destroyed his career.
He had been sober for three years before his death and had opened up a youth football camp in Nashville.
Once again Tiger Woods is The Associated Press Male Athlete
of the Year.
Woods joins Michael Jordan as the only athletes to win the award
three times. And he is the sixth athlete to win the award in
Woods won nine golf tournaments this year, including three
straight majors, and completed golf's career Grand Slam.
Runnerup in the balloting by sports reporters across the nation
is two-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.
Third place in the voting goes to St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner.
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President Clinton wants your medical records to be kept more private,
and a new federal mandate requires that.
But it also makes it easier for patients to check out their records.
Some hospitals are already changing their systems
Find out how that could affect you...
tonight on News 7 at Six.