A used auto parts store catches fire in Franklin County.
It's taken firefighters two hours to get the upper hand on the blaze.
And the man convicted of capital murder in the death of a Radford teenager will get a new trial.
Sunshine for this afternoon but some much needed moisture's now heads our way....I'll have your wet forecast......
The State Supreme Court overturns the capital murder conviction of Jeffrey Allen Thomas.
[SS=News 7 at Noon]
[GRAPHIC=VA Supreme Court]
A Pulaski County jury found Thomas guilty of killing Tara Munsey, but the conviction and death sentence were set aside today. The high court said the trial judge failed to take into account pre-trial publicity.
The Supreme Court said it was not just the great AMOUNT of the publicity the case received leading up to trial. The court's opinion published this morning points to certain television stories and newspaper articles that were inaccurate. One account indicated police had tied bullets to the suspect, when in fact the bullets could NOT be linked to Thomas.
"The tenor of the publicity went beyond dispassionate reporting" wrote Justice Elizabeth Lacy. She said some of it showed "community prejudice" against Thomas.
The case will have to be re-tried- -presumably somewhere OUTSIDE Pulaski.
Firefighters are still dousing hot spots after an explosion at a Franklin County auto parts store.
Witnesses say an employee at Holley's Used Auto Parts was removing a gas tank from an automobile when it ignited.
The employee's shoes caught fire, but he was not burned.
Two others were in the building but managed to get out safely.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=he was]
[SUPER=01-Ron Holley/Holley's Used Auto Parts]
[OUT Q=stop it.]
The blaze took two hours to control.
There's no word yet on the amount of damage the fire caused.
Fire forces hundreds of people to evacuate from a West Hollywood apartment complex.
[SUPER=03-West Hollywood, CA;]
Firefighters had to cut a hole through the roof of the three- story building to allow the fire to vent.
That sent flames shooting out into the sky.
It took firefighters nearly four hours to get the blaze under control.
People watched from balconies on the other side of the complex before being told to get out.
No word yet on the cause.
Virginia students are celebrating the joys of reading today.
The annual event marking the birthday of the man who wrote "The Cat in the Hat" includes cake for the kids at many schools.
Parents, teachers and other guests are taking turns reading some of their favorite books to students.
Today is the 98th birthday of "Dr. Seuss."
It's been a well kept secret until now... the existence of a shadow government working out of secure bunker- like locations and ready to protect the nation against attacks.
Aleen Sirgany has the story.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=Far removed]
[SUPER=01-Brig. Gen. John Rosa/U. S. Military Joint Staff;]
[SUPER=01-Victoria Clarke/Pentagon Spokesperson;]
[OUT Q=Sirgany, CBS News, Washington.]
((FAR REMOVED FROM THE WHITE HOUSE AND OTHER WASHINGTON POWER CENTERS, A
SECRET, SHADOW GOVERNMENT IS UP AND RUNNING... UNDERGROUND.
HOURS AFTER THE SEPTEMBER 11TH ATTACKS, THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION TOOK THE
ACTION TO ENSURE THAT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD STAY INTACT ... NO MATTER
WHAT. HERE'S HOW IT WORKS:
ANYWHERE FROM 70 TO 150 OFFICIALS FROM ALL BRANCHES OF THE GOVERNMENT,
ARE LIVING IN TWO UNDERGROUND, EAST-COAST BUNKERS..KEPT SAFE TO PROTECT
THE FLOW OF GOVERNMENT IN THE EVENT OF A CATASTROPHIC ATTACK. THEY LIVE AND WORK UNDERGROUND, ROUND THE CLOCK FOR 90 DAYS AT A TIME.
SOT: Air Force Brig. Gen. John Rosa, Deputy Director, U.S. Military Joint Staff;
THEIR MISSION? TO MAINTAIN LAW AND ORDER AND TO PRESERVE FOOD AND WATER
SUPPLIES. THE SHADOW GOVERNMENT CONCEPT WAS FIRST PLANNED DURING THE
EISENHOWER, COLD WAR YEARS IN THE EVENT OF A NUCLEAR ATTACK. BUT IT WAS
NEVER ACTIVATED ... UNTIL NOW.
SOT; VICTORIA CLARKE/PENTAGON SPOKESPERSON.
PRESIDENT BUSH REPORTEDLY ACTIVATED THE SHADOW GOVERNMENT FEARING THE
AL-QAIDA MIGHT LAUNCH A NUCLEAR ATTACK AGAINST THE UNITED STATES. WHILE
THERES NO PROOF THE TERRORIST NETWORK ACTUALLY HAS A NUCLEAR WEAPON,
THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION IS CLEARLY TAKING NO CHANCES. AS, CBS NEWS, WASHINGTON.))
Despite U-S calls for restraint in the Middle East, Israel has carried out a new raid on a Palestinian refugee camp.
[SUPER=03-Jenin, West Bank;]
Residents say troops entered the camp just before dawn and began searching Palestinian homes.
The violence over the past two days has killed 18 Palestinians, including a 10- year- old girl who died today.
In the past, Israeli troops have entered Palestinian towns and
villages, but they've never before entered refugee camps.
Meanwhile, a new poll indicates more than 50- percent of Israelis surveyed this week are unhappy with their current leadership.
Cuban authorities have forced out 21 men who've been staying in the Mexican Embassy for the past couple of days.
Cuba's communist government says Mexico had requested the action.
The young men crashed the embassy gates in a stolen bus Wednesday night, and refused to leave.
They apparently were interested in leaving the island.
No word yet on what charges the men may face.
Cuban officials described the men as common criminals, and said their desire to leave was NOT politically motivated.
[HARD MUSIC UNDER]
Debate over the Boy Scouts gets heated in the General Assembly.
Find out why when News 7 returns.
And the consolidation plan that created a firestorm of controversy in Henry County may get the boot.
[music up full]
[GRAPHIC=Henry County School Consolidation]
The Henry County School board took up the controversial school consolidation plan at a special meeting today
The board postponed a decision; they'll meet again next week.
But as Justin McLeod discovered, a more than a million dollar budget shortfall will still force the school system to make cuts now and in the future.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=Nat sound of opening locker]
[SUPER=03-Henry Co.; :00]
[SUPER=01-Sharon Dodson/Superintendent of Schools; :12]
[SUPER=01-Tim Hall/Henry Co. Spokesperson; :45]
[SUPER=01-Veronica Favero/Fieldale-Collinsville Student; 1:27]
[OUT Q=JM News 7 Henry County.]
((((NAT SOUND OF OPENING LOCKER; 34:58))
Students here at Fieldale-Collinsville high school may be locked in for another year.
The plan to consolidate several schools now appears to be dead.
[IN Q=I am recommending]
((DR. SHARON DODSON/SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS: I AM RECOMMENDING THAT THE SCHOOL BOARD CEASE ACTION ON THE PLAN.))
[OUT Q=action on the plan]
It is a plan that has drawn criticism and caused heated debate for months.
Back in December, the school board voted to consolidate four high schools into two, close three elementary schools as well as re-organize others.
But the reconfiguration plan hit a major roadblock this week after the Board of Supervisors refused the school board's request for an advance on next year's budget.
The money would have gone towards renovations at the consolidated schools.
[IN Q=I think the Board of Supervisors]
((TIM HALL/HENRY CO. SPOKESPERSON: I THINK THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS HAD CONCERNS ALL ALONG ABOUT THE NUMBERS THAT WERE PROJECTED, THE COST OF THE PROJECT, HOW MUCH WOULD BE SAVED. THOSE NUMBERS WERE EVER CHANGING.))
[OUT Q=were ever changing]
Even if the schools don't consolidate the numbers still don't add up- there will likely be a more than a million dollar budget shortfall next year.
State law requires a school system to run on a balanced budget.
That could force the school system to make major cuts.
[IN Q=We would have to look]
((SHARON DODSON/SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS: WE WOULD HAVE TO LOOK REAL HARD AT OUR STAFFING ISSUES, OUR CLASS SIZE ISSUES, OUR COURSE OFFERINGS, ALL THOSE KINDS OF THINGS I WOULD THINK WOULD BE UP FOR DISCUSSION.))
[OUT Q=for discussion]
But for now, the discussion in the schools at least is one of joy as well as caution.
[IN Q=Everybody is]
((VERONICA FAVERO/FIELDALE-COLLINSVILLE STUDENT: EVERYBODY IS KINDA OF CAUTIOUS CAUSE I DON'T KNOW IF IT'S SET IN THAT IT'S REALLY GOING TO STAY THAT WAY THAT EVERYTHING IS REALLY GOING TO STAY OPEN.))
[OUT Q=to stay open]
[IN Q=The school board ]
((JUSTIN McLEOD/REPORTING: THE SCHOOL BOARD WILL HOLD A SPECIAL MEETING FRIDAY NIGHT. THEY COULD TAKE UP THE ISSUE AND EVEN VOTE ON THE PROPOSAL AT THAT MEETING. IF NOT, THEY'LL MOST LIKELY TAKE IT UP THEIR NEXT MEETING THAT IS SCHEDULED FOR NEXT THURSDAY. JUSTIN MCLEOD, NEWS 7, HENRY COUNTY.))
[OUT Q=JM, News 7, Henry County]))
[TAPE#=02-07 tc 32:02]
More education money could be coming to Southwest and Southside Virginia-
A northern Virginia lawmaker is offering a proposal that would do just that- even though a statewide referendum for public schools may not make it out of the General Assembly this year-
House Leaders oppose a statewide sales tax referendum, but they have approved a vote on a possible income tax hike for education in northern Virginia.
Yesterday, Fairfax County Senator Dick Saslaw proposed using some of that money to address disparities in some of the state's poorer school districts.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=What's in it]
((SEN. DICK SASLAW: WHAT'S IN IT FOR THE PEOPLE FOR INSTANCE IN MY JURISDICTION FAIRFAX COUNTY IS YES THEY WILL PAY A LITTLE MORE, BUT THEY KEEP AN ENORMOUSLY GREATER SUM OF MONEY AT HOME THAN THEY WOULD UNDER THE OTHER PROPOSAL.))
[SUPER=01-Sen. Dick Saslaw/(D) Fairfax Co.]
[OUT Q=under the proposal.]
The bill would benefit the state's 51 poorest school districts, including many in southside and southwest Virginia. The proposal now goes to the Senate Finance Committee.
Meanwhile, A northern Virginia state senator's reference to a Boy Scout policy as ``homophobic'' has angered some of her colleagues.
Fairfax Democrat Janet Howell made the comment during a committee meeting.
Lawmakers were debating a bill that would NOT allow school districts to deny the Scouts access to school facilities. The bill was eventually defeated.
Howell says the ``homophobic'' reference was an attempt to contrast the Boy Scout policy preventing homosexuals from serving as scout leaders with the Girl Scouts, who don't have such a
[TAPE#=02-08 tc 31:28]
An elderly man accused of shooting and killing his teenage neighbor is scheduled to appear in court later today.
He'll have a bond hearing this afternoon.
82-year-old Hallis (JAME-ison) Jamison pleaded guilty to second degree murder back in 19-52 and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Now, he's in jail, charged with the malicious wounding of Charlotte Brown, a 16-year-old William Fleming student.
The girl's friends and relatives say they feel sorry for Jamison -- and believe he did NOT mean to harm her.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=I feel sorry]
[SOT 10:12 - :21]
((MARSHA JOHNSON/FRIEND: I FEEL SORRY FOR HIM. I HOPE THAT HE DOESN'T DO ANY TIME. HE JUST DID NOT KNOW. HE WAS SCARED. ))
[SOT 31:09 - :20]
((SHIRLEY FLINT/CHARLOTTE'S AUNT: SHE LEFT US FOR A REASON... TO LEAVE A MESSAGE HERE FOR ALL OF THE CHILDREN FOR EVERYBODY TO REALIZE THAT TOMORROW'S NOT PROMISED TO NONE OF US. ))
[SUPER=01-Marsha Johnson/Friend; :00]
[SUPER=01-Shirley Flint/Charlotte's Aunt; :10]
[OUT Q=none of us.]
Relatives say two of Charlotte's cousins had been pounding on (JAME-ison's)Jamison's door.
They say Charlotte went there to try to return a set of keys the other girls had stolen from him.
Charlotte excelled as a Special Olympics athlete.
At her funeral Tuesday, her teammates plan to drape her basketball jersey over her casket.
A Bedford County woman is behind bars charged with robbing a beauty salon at gunpoint.
Police say 41-year old Tammy Johnson Buchanan demanded money from Anita's Finishing Touch Salon in Goodview late yesterday afternoon.
She left with an undisclosed amount.
Police later found Buchanan at her home- about five miles from the salon.
She is being held at the Bedford County Adult Detention Facility without bond.
[SOFT MUSIC UNDER]
After months of bad news, new signs today that the economy's turning around.
We'll have more on that and see how it's affecting the stock market when News 7 returns.
Plus an early morning for seven astronauts... as the shuttle Columbia blasts off.
[MUSIC UP FULL]
[COMM BREAK #2]
The clouds parted this morning, allowing for a picture perfect launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia.
(///// SOT /////)
[SOT 10:32:22 ]
[IN Q=Four, three, two , one]
[SUPER=03-Kennedy Space Center, FL;]
[OUT Q=space telescope.]
The shuttle took off at 6-22 this morning, after a one- day delay because of the weather.
Today's launch occurred under extremely tight security to guard against any possible terrorist attack.
A no- fly zone was in effect for 35 miles around the launch pad.
Columbia astronauts will do repair work on the Hubble Telescope.
They're also planning a record- breaking five spacewalks next week to install equipment on the 12- year- old telescope.
Columbia will return to Earth on March 12th.
For the first time in a year and a half, a closely-watched survey finds manufacturing growth.
The Institute of Supply Management says the February increase signals a turnaround for manufacturing, including new orders and production.
That news, combined with an increase in personal income and spending, has Wall Street climbing.
At noon, the Dow was up 148 points. Nasdaq was up 42 points.
[SPORTS MUSIC UNDER]
In sports, UVA has pulled out of their slump to beat a top-ranked team in the ACC...
And the Cave Spring Knights are on their way to the state tournament....We'll have highlights from these games and more - coming up in sports.
[MUSIC UP FULL]
[COMM BREAK #3]
[GRAPHIC=Northwest region tourney time]
The Cave Spring / Woodbridge game was full of sparks, but in the end, the Knights would earn a trip to the state tournament for the first time in 33 years.
[SUPER=03-Roanoke Co./Vikings vs. Knights; :00]
The Knights seemed calm, cool and collected before tip off.
The Vikings came out of the gate hard.
Daniel Fountain hits the three pointer to put Woodbridge up 2 in the first period.
With the Vikings keying on J.J. Redick, Tom Hagan stepped up his game.
He hits back- to- back shots, including this three pointer, and the Knights are up 11-7.
Woodbridge star Jeff Allen would score two of his 14 points on this shot, but he was held in check.
[SUPER=33-Cave Spring/69/Woodbridge/52;]Redick heated up in the second, knocking down a three pointer, three of hi
s game high 31 points on the night.
The Knights' Andrew Davidson helped break the game wide open.
He would score 9 points.
His three pointer gave the Knights their largest lead of the game, 50-40 with six minutes left in the game.
The Knights win the regional semifinal 69-52 to advance to the state tournament for the first time since 1969.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=01-Billy Hicks/Cave Spring Head Coach; :00]
[SUPER=01-J. J. Redick/13 for 13 from Free Throw Line; :14]
[OUT Q=.......im so excited"]
[GRAPHIC=northwest region tourney team]
Cave Spring will meet Potomac Saturday night at seven at Northside high school in the Northwest region championship. Potomac beat GW Danville last night 83-to-66.
The last basketball showdown at home for the Cavs was a match up against Duke- and proved to be a must-win situation.
Desperate times calls for desperate measures.
In the first half, the Cavs left Travis Watson in the game and he picked up his fourth foul before halftime.
Also, Pete Gillen did all he could to fire up his team as he picked up a technical in the first half, as well.
Duke has a lot of weapons, and last night it was the one most folks forget about-- Carlos Boozer-- who gave UVa a rough time.
Boozer finished with 33 points.
But UVa would not quit.
The Cavs went on an amazing 21-to-1 run, and UVa upset Duke last night 87-to-84.
For the first time ever in the Big South Tournament, the Radford Highlanders faced Coastal Carolina.... and ended up drowning them.
[SUPER=03-Roanoke/Radford vs. Coastal; :]
The Highlanders height would work to their advantage in the opening minutes of the game.
Former Liberty star Peanut Arrington gets it inside to 7-footer Andre Savtchenko, who easily puts it in off the glass for the deuce.
Moments later, Savtchenko gets it underneath again for the score.
The Highlanders led by 3.
At the other end of the floor, Coastal's Antonio Darden stops and pops the short jumper.
The Chanticleers would go up by as many as five.
Then the Highlanders backed it outside.
B.J. Haigler knocks down the three pointer, and Radford cut the lead to 1.
Radford's Corey Watkins takes it to the hoop and kicks it in off the glass for the score.
RU goes on to win it 81-to-66.