A suicide attempt by the main suspect in the murder of a Virginia Tech
Coming up on NEWS 7 at SIX:
We'll attend a memorial service for Alexander DeFilippis.
And we'll talk with members of a Roanoke family burned out of their home.
Now the kids are afraid the motel's going to burn down.
Tonight in sports, the Blacksburg Indians win the coveted Sportsmanship
trophy from the Roanoke Civitan Club.
Bath County makes school history in more ways than one.
And for the second time this year, one of the Valley's founding fathers of
ice hockey has died.
More on Colin Kilburn's contributions tonight in sports.
The weather story is simple tonight. COLD. Find the gloves and scarfs for
the morning drive to work.
According to a jail report, Benjamin Lilly tried to take his own life last
And today the Virginia Tech campus mourned a student whose life Lilly
allegedly took last week.
Tracy Altizer has the story.
IN Q=On this normally
SUPER=01-Agnes Grocholski/Va. Tech Student;
SUPER=03-Montgomery Co./Last Tuesday;
SUPER=01-Johnny Calle/Va. Tech Student;
SUPER=01-Kevin Cropper/DeFilippis' Friend;
SUPER=01-Jerry Gladwell/DeFilippis' Friend;
SUPER=01-Peggy Meszaros/Va. Tech Provost;
OUT Q=Altizer, News 7.
On this normally peaceful campus, the violent death of Alexander DeFilippis
was a heavy blow.
((AGNES GROCHOLSKI/VA TECH STUDENT: IT'S JUST REAL SAD. HE WAS HERE TO STUDY,
TO BEGIN HIS LIFE AND IT JUST ENDED EVEN BEFORE HE HAD A CHANCE. ))
DeFilippis was abducted from a Blacksburg convenience store last Tuesday
night, and shot four times.
His memorial was a chance for the campus and community to heal.
((JOHNNY CALLE/VA TECH STUDENT: I DIDN'T KNOW HIM PERSONALLY BUT THE FACT IS
THAT IT HAPPENED AND IT MADE NO SENSE. SO I MEAN I'M HERE TO PAY RESPECTS TO
HIM AND HIS FAMILY AND PRAY FOR SOME PEACE HERE IN BLACKSBURG. ))
And for friends to remember.
((KEVIN COOPER/DEFILIPPIS' FRIEND: IT WAS JUST SOMEBODY WHO WAS MURDERED, I WAS
LIKE "OKAY, THAT'S A SHAME," BUT I COULD LIVE WITH IT. BUT KNOWING IT WAS ALEX
AND HOW GREAT A GUY HE WAS, IT REALLY HURT. ))
((JERRY GLADWELL/DEFILIPPIS' FRIEND: EVERYBODY HE CAME IN CONTACT WITH HE GOT
ALONG GREAT WITH. I DON'T KNOW HIM TO HAVE ANY ENEMIES TO THIS DAY.))
That is, police say, until he encountered Gary Wayne Barker, Mark Anthony
Lilly and his brother Benjamin Lilly, the alleged triggerman in the murder.
((PEGGY MESZAROS/VA TECH PROVOST: BUT IT IS A CAUTION FOR ALL OF US NOT TO TAKE
FOR GRANTED THAT WE LIVE IN A SAFE COMMUNITY. ))
Ben Lilly is being held in the Montgomery County jail, where investigators
say he slit his arm yesterday with a razor blade.
Authorities say a few stitches will heal his wound, but it will take much
more than that for mourners of the 22 year- old student. Tracy Altizer, News
The confessed killer who challenged a Roanoke judge to give him a death
sentence has managed to avoid the ultimate punishment.
Paul David Thompson pled guilty today... a plea agreement that spares his
life but helps assure a lifetime behind bars.
IN Q=As to this
SUPER=03-Roanoke/November, 1994; :08
SUPER=01-David Damico/Thompson's Attorney; :33
SUPER=Don Caldwell/Roanoke Commonwealth's Attorney; 1:03
OUT Q=would have died.
IN Q=As to this
((COURT CLERK: AS TO THIS CHARGE, HOW DO YOU PLEAD? PAUL DAVID THOMPSON:
OUT Q=plead? Guilty.
Guilty of killing Virgie Green.
The 44-year old widow had befriended Thompson, taken him into her home-
-only to be bludgeoned to death.
Thompson and David McKeone dumped her body in the trunk of a car and took
off in her truck.
IN Q=I'm a killer
OUT Q=plain & simple.
Last August- -in a telephone call from the city Jail, Thompson said he was
guilty and was ready to take his chances with the judge.
IN Q=If he don't
OUT Q=he's weak.
The defense strategy then became a question of how to spare his life.
((HE NEVER SAID THAT TO US. I THINK WE ALL UNDERSTOOD EACH OTHER FROM THE
BEGINNING. WHEN WE FIRST MET HIM WE TOLD HIM, WE TOLD HIM THAT WE SAW OUR JOB
AS TRYING TO SAVE HIS LIFE. AND WE THINK WE WERE ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH THAT.))
McKeone pled NOT guilty, was convicted, then called NEWS 7 to say, "No,
actually I did it."
The prosecution decided that even if the jury convicted Thompson and
sentenced him to die, that the verdict wouldn't hold up on appeal.
The Commonwealth's Attorney remains convinced Thompson was the ring leader,
((WHERE THOMPSON GOES, AT LEAST THREE PEOPLE HAVE DIED, AND ONE OTHER PERSON-
-BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD- -WOULD HAVE DIED.))
Thompson has two life terms plus 25 years ahead of him here in Virginia.
WEST Virginia has a LIFE sentence waiting for him. But Florida wants him
first... for 12 years.
Virginia state police are aiding in the search for two suspects in the
recent fire bombing of a New York subway toll booth.
The men are suspected of squeezing a flammable liquid into a token booth and
The November 26th explosion demolished the booth.
50- year old Harry Kaufman was inside and died yesterday from second and
third degree burns.
Brooklyn authorities believe the men may have fled to Richmond or Halifax
They are searching for 26- year old Rocky Butler and 28- year old Scarvey
Authorities say McCargo has family in Halifax County.
He also goes by the names Drew Darnell Jackson and Andre McCarlo.
Police say the men are traveling in a rental car with New York plates.
They may have burns to their hands, arms and face.
The bitterly cold weather was a factor in a serious accident on Route 460
A van hit a tractor trailer which had stalled on the highway.
Apparently the freezing temperatures caused the truck's fuel to gel.
Three people were rushed to the hospital. Rescue crews had to cut the van
to get 7 year old Michael Sheffer (SHAY-fer) out.
His mother 40 year old Deronda Sheffer and his brother 9 year old Matthew
Sheffer were also taken to Roanoke Memorial.
Hospital officials say Michael and Matthew Sheffer are in stable
condition-- Deronda Sheffer is in surgery.
The accident happened on Route 460 near Coyner Springs just before eight
State police say two other vehicles managed to swerve around the truck, but
the van couldn't stop. No charges have been filed.
There are some weather-related school delays to pass along to you tonight.
Here's what we have at this point:
(Keith ad lib)
HARD MUSIC UNDER
Still to come on News 7 at 6---to switch or not to switch? With the State
Senate deadlocked, one lawmaker makes a decision about changing political
and the hard-luck story of one family struggling just to survive this
IN Q=It's just something
((IT'S JUST SOMETHING I WOULDN'T WANT ANYBODY TO GO THROUGH...))
OUT Q=to go through.
We'll tell you how you can help.
Toss to Robin
SUPER=#C-380; Weather Roll
So far there's been little joy this holiday season for one Roanoke family.
One member of the family is very sick, and then this weekend they lost their
belongings in a fire. As Ron Jones reports they're struggling to get back on
IN Q=The Anders family
SUPER=01-Stephanie Anders/Fire Victim;
OUT Q=Ron Jones, News Seven, Roanoke.
((The Anders family is used to tragedy.
Last Christmas their six-year old daughter Ashley was diagnosed as having
Ashley received large doses of chemotherapy to fight the disease.
The radiation took its toll.
((BUT LEUKEMIA IS NOT THE ONLY TRAGEDY TO STRIKE THIS FAMILY AROUND CHRISTMAS
TIME. JUST THIS SUNDAY A NEIGHBOR'S APARTMENT CAUGHT FIRE. THE SMOKE FROM THAT
FIRE DAMAGED THE ANDERS BELONGINGS AND FORCED THEM TO MOVE.))
Now the Anders are homeless in a motel-- living on fast foods.
Stephanie Anders says her children can't sleep because they are now afraid
the motel is going to catch fire.
((STEPHANIE ANDERS/FIRE VICTIM: MOMMY I CAN'T SLEEP... AND I WOULD TRY TO
CONSOLE HER AND SHE WAS AFRAID THE PLACE WAS GOING TO CATCH ON FIRE HERE AND
SHE'S REMEMBERING HEARING THE PEOPLE SCREAM TO GET US OUT OF THE HOUSE. A FIRE
TRUCK WENT BY LAST NIGHT AND SHE HEARD IT AND GOT UP AND WAS GOING TO THE DOOR
AND SHE THOUGHT THE HOTEL WAS GOING TO CATCH ON FIRE.))
Stephanie says Christmas is ruined.
((WE WERE GOING TO MAKE CHRISTMAS COOKIES YESTERDAY. THAT WAS OUR SPECIAL DAY
TO MAKE CHRISTMAS COOKIES. WE WERE GOING TO MAKE HOMEMADE SPAGHETTI. I WENT
BY THE HOUSE THIS MORNING AND THE BREAD SMELLED LIKE SMOKE, SO.))
Stephanie says to make matters worst doctors have found a new growth in
Ashely's leg that may be cancerous.
She says all she wants is normalcy.
((A PLACE FOR MY CHILDREN. SOMEWHERE SAFE WHERE IT DIDN'T SMELL LIKE SMOKE.))
Red Cross officials have stepped in to offer assistance.
But the Anders believe they can only do so much.
Ron Jones, News Seven, Roanoke.
The American Red cross says those who want to help the Anders can call
their office at (540) 985-3535))
Virginia Republicans who've been holding their breath over the 20- 20 split
in the Senate can let it out -- for the minute.
But just as self- described Republican centrist Jane Woods of Fairfax
declared she'll stay in the GOP, Rocky Mount Democrat Virgil Goode's name arose
Woods says she noticed the negotiations between Goode and the Republicans
IN Q=Watching during
((SEN. JANE WOODS/R-FAIRFAX: WATCHING DURING THE SENATE FINANCE
BRIEFINGS...ORCHESTRATED IT SEEMED.))
SUPER=01-Sen. Jane Woods/(R) Fairfax;
OUT Q=it seemed.
Goode's NOT talking, but one published report says Goode may stay a
Democrat, but trade his vote to Republicans for a seat on the powerful Senate
The state Department of Environmental Quality gets bad grades from within
its own ranks.
An independent state audit found low morale, questionable hiring practices,
and concerns that polluters are being protected.
Ellen Qualls has today's reaction from lawmakers and the D-E-Q itself.
IN Q=Department of
SUPER=01-Sen. Joe Gartlan/(D) Fairfax; :33
SUPER=01-Peter Schmidt/DEQ Director; 1:02
SUPER=01-Sen. Hunter Andrews/(D) Hampton; 1:09
OUT Q=Qualls, News 7, Richmond.
((vo of schmidt seated tape one 11:57:28
Department of Environmental Quality Director Peter Schmidt squirmed through
the Joint Legislative Audit Review Commission or JLARC presentation.
vo of low morale screen 11:38:50 tape one
The top concerns:
Supervisors were NOT all consulted in the elimination of almost 90
The state has NO plan yet for meeting federal clean air standards -- putting
it behind many other states.
And questionable hiring practices were employed, including what one lawmaker
calls a litmus test of what George Allen and Natural Resources Secretary Becky
Dunlop believe about the relationship between big business and the environment.
((DEL. JOE GARTLAN: I THINK THAT IT CORRECTLY IDENTIFIED CIRCUMSTANCES THAT
LEAD ME TO THE VERY STRONG CONCLUSION THAT POLITICAL INFLUENCE IS RAMPANT IN
57- percent of DEQ workers say they fear they could be fired if they take an
action that angers a polluting business.
Schmidt says give him time.
He's only two years into a merger of four separate agencies into one.
Still he surprised lawmakers with a stinging written reply.
SOT TAPE THREE 12;39:57
((PETER SCHMIDT/DEQ DIRECTOR: BUT I THINK THE TONE OF IT IS NEGATIVE, AND
DIDN'T NEED TO BE SO. SEN. HUNTER ANDREWS: MR. CHAIRMAN, I HAVE BEEN
PRIVILEGED ...THAT'S PRETTY ROUGH LANGUAGE.))
((The DEQ study is the second in recent weeks critical of an Allen
Administration department or commission. But since every JLARC study in the
last two decades has provided criticism with recommendations, lawmakers of both
parties say "lighten up." Ellen Qualls, News 7, Richmond.))
There's a new player in southwest Virginia's crowded banking landscape.
Executives with the First American Corporation of Nashville toured their
newest holdings this morning.
The bank officially acquired Charter Federal Savings of Bristol last week.
Charter Federal's 15 Virginia branches have become the First American
Federal Savings Bank.
Right now First American's Virginia headquarters is in Bristol.
But it's in the process of moving to Roanoke.
IN Q=We just felt
((ANDY MCCULLAR/FIRST AMERICAN BANK: WE JUST FELT LIKE THAT IT WAS MORE
LOGICAL, WITH FIRST AMERICAN'S EXISTING PRESENCE IN THE TRI-CITIES AREA, TO
MOVE THE VIRGINIA HEADQUARTERS TO ROANOKE.))
SUPER=01-Andy McCullar/First American Bank;
OUT Q=to Roanoke.
First American has a good reputation in Tennessee.
Money Magazine recently ranked it the best bank in the state, based on
customer convenience, financial soundness, and value.
The stock market advanced today.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 27 and a half points.
NASDAQ was down but very slightly--not quite a point.
Economic development and public access continue to be hot topics at Smith
But for one local business man, actions speak louder than words.
Joe Altadonna is transforming an office building into a motel-- the first of
its kind at Smith Mountain Lake.
It may not be on the water, but it might be close enough to deliver heavy
IN Q=There's a lot
((ALTADONNA: THERE'S A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO LOOK FOR ROOMS IN THIS AREA AND I
THINK IT'S TIME FOR SOMETHING LIKE THIS. I LIKE A GAMBLE IN BUSINESS AND THAT'S
MY JOB TO DO IT. ))
SUPER=01-Joe Altadonna/Future Motel Owner
OUT Q=to do it
Remodeling started about a month ago and Altadonna says construction costs
will total 140- thousand dollars.
The 25- room motel will be located on Route 122 near Burnt Chimney and about
a quarter of a mile from the water.
It's scheduled to open in March.
Coming up tonight in sports, another of the valley's ice hockey fathers has
Bath County got a state title and a piece of history yesterday.
And the Blacksburg Indians picked up a special honor this afternoon, as they
were named the winners of the 1995 Civitan sportsmanship award.
The Holiday Season always signals increased visibility for the Civitan Club,
but today the fruitcake folks were passing out more than boxed cakes.
SUPER=03-Roanoke/This Afternoon; :00
This afternoon at the Civic Center Holiday Inn, Blacksburg High School
picked up this year's prestigious sportsmanship award from the Commissioner of
Western Virginia officials Ernie Bradd.
And in a day when showboating has become the norm it's refreshing to find
players and coaches who don't tolerate taunting and Deion-like strutting.
IN Q="We just...
((STEVEN HUNT/BLACKSBURG TRI-CAPTAIN:))
((TUCKER LEFORCE/BLACKSBURG TRI-CAPTAIN:))
SUPER=01-Steven Hunt/Blacksburg Tri-Captain; :00
SUPER=01-Tucker LeForce/Blacksburg Tri-Captain; :12
SUPER=01-Kip Kenyon/Blacksburg Linebacker; :25
OUT Q=...WITH OUT THEM."
The director for Programs for the Virginia High School League, Larry Johnson,
was the guest speaker for today's event.
IN Q="This is...
((LARRY JOHNSON/VHSL PROGRAMS SUPERVISOR:))
SUPER=01-Larry Johnson/VHSL Programs Supervisor; :00
OUT Q=...good sportsmanship."
The Bath County Chargers picked up their first ever state championship in
football yesterday as they beat Strasburg 30-to-20 in the Division One title
SUPER=03-Low Moor/Yesterday; :00
The Chargers also made history in another way.
Yesterday's game, which was postponed from Saturday because of sleet and snow
in the Alleghany Highlands, marks the first time in 82 year history of the
league that a playoff game of any kind was played on a Sunday.
IN Q="It was very...
((LARRY JOHNSON/VHSL PROGRAMS DIRECTOR:))
SUPER=01-Larry Johnson/VHSL Programs Director; :00
OUT Q=...WINTER SEASON."
Big news on the college football coaching front tonight as UCLA boss Terry
Donahue says he's leaving the Bruins after 20 years as head coach.
In 20 years at UCLA his teams won 151 games and eight PAC-10 titles.
His final game will be in the Christmas day Aloha Bowl against Kansas.
He plans to join CBS as a football analyst next season.
Many area hockey fans, who have just caught the hardwater bug in the last
couple of seasons aren't very familiar with the name Colin Kilburn.
SUPER=04-40th Anniversary Archives; :00
But Edmonton native was one of the main men in the Roanoke Valley's first
hockey heyday back in the seventies.
Kilburn took over the Roanoke Valley Rebels in the 1969-70 season and coached
them to a second place finish in the Southern Division.
IN Q="THE BOYS...
((COLIN KILBURN/REBELS COACH IN 1970:))
SUPER=10-Colin Kilburn/Rebels Coach/1970;
Kilburn tonk over as General manager of the team in 1972 and hired Greg
Pilling as head coach.
The 1973-74 team won 53 games in the regular season and the league
Colin Kilburn died last Thursday at his home in Edmonton, Alberta at the age
The owner of the team in those days Gene Hawthorne also died earlier this
year, passing away back in May.
The Rockbridge Area Recreation Organization turned out to be the big winners
in WDBJ's live telecast of last month's VMI-Washington & Lee game at Cameron
A $1000 donation from WDBJ and a certain percentage of ticket sales allowed
the organization to pick up $3400 dollars to help fund its various youth and
adult programs in the Rockbridge County area.
(toss to Jean)
Another journey for the Smart Road--
Jean Jadhon is here to fill us in.
That's right, Keith.
It's been a road much travelled-- and tonight, it's heading back to the
Montgomery county board of supervisors.
A committee appointed to gather more information about the project will
report its findings tonight.
The supervisors said they needed more information from the state about how
the highway would affect the area's rural landscape.
The Smart Road would link I- 81 to Blacksburg-- and provide a testing
ground for intelligent vehicle research.
We'll have an update on the proposed highway-- plus all the day's news,
weather, and sports at 11.