He's not quite a free man, but Randall Lee Smith left the penitentiary
today for the first time in 15 years.
Parole for the Appalachian Trail killer tops NEWS 7 at SIX tonight.
And we'll take a look at a device to keep Rover from being catapulted
through the windshield.
It's already propelled its designers into national recognition.
In sports, the cavaliers hope to turn Scott Stadium into the Texas
Steakhouse this weekend, Syracuse talks about the Hokies, FFE is here again,
as is qualfying at North Wilkesboro where a rain delay has slowed thing s at
the half mile bull ring.
The sun may lose the battle tomorrow with clouds and showers winning out,
but Sunday looks nice and breezy. Also get ready for a bitterly cold
Some say he's done his time.
Others believe it wasn't enough.
Either way, Randall Lee Smith is a free man tonight.
15 years ago he went to jail for murdering 2 hikers along the Appalachian
Double Boxes=Keith and Scott/Microwave
Scott Prince was there for his release, and he now joins us from our New
River Valley Newsroom.
Keith, even though Smith went free today, authorities are still going to
keep a close watch on him.
But he made sure no one could really watch him today.
IN Q=Draped with
OUT Q=to Pearisburg
Draped with a jean jacket over his head, Randall Lee Smith made his last
stop on the way to freedom.
He met up with his parole officer at the state correctional facility in
There he was fitted for an electronic monitoring device.
He'll be forced to wear it during his 10- year supervised parole.
It's been 15 years since Smith killed two hikers alon the Appalachian Trail.
The murders of Susan Ramsay, and her companion Bob Mountford drew national
She had been stabbed and slashed.
He was shot in his sleeping bag.
All of the evidence pointed toward Smith, who eventually pled guilty-- but
to second degree murder charges.
He was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Because of the lesser charges against him, Smith was eligible for parole in
1986 and ultimately received this mandatory release.
Now there is a free man hiding under that jacket... on his way back home to
Keith, we tried to talk to Randall Lee Smith... but as you could see, he
wanted nothing to do with media.
Neither did his parole officer.
He also turned down our request for an interview.
Double Boxes=Keith and Scott/Microwave
(QUESTION: Scott, were there any family members there waiting at the prison?)
No Keith, there weren't. We can only assume that there were people waiting
for him at home.
Two murder suspects are apparently on the run tonight, after authorities
recovered the body of a Pulaski County man who had been missing since Sunday.
Tracy Altizer reports.
IN Q=Sheriff's investigators were
SUPER=03-Pulaski Co.; :00
SUPER=01-Ralph Dobbins/Pulaski Co. Sheriff;
SUPER=01-Jacqueline Fisher/Victim's Wife;
OUT Q=Altizer, News 7.
Sheriff's investigators were checking out the missing person report when a
man they questioned led them to the New River.
The man had given 22 year- old Darick Dewayne Wetzel and 27 year- old Joseph
Ray Graham, Junior a ride to the river Monday.
When they got there, he says Graham and Wetzel showed him the body of 43
year- old Elmer Eugene Fisher, described how they killed Fisher, and threatened
to kill HIM if he told.
((RALPH DOBBINS/PULASKI CO. SHERIFF: BASED ON WHAT HE STATES THESE SUSPECTS
TOLD HIM WE ROUNDED UP ONE OF THE OTHER SUSPECTS, ONE OF THE NAMES HE GAVE US
AND THAT SUSPECT HAS GIVEN US A VERY DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF HOW IT TOOK PLACE.
That third suspect, who has not been charged, was an eyewitness who was
driving the group Sunday night.
suAuthorities say according to the witness, the foursome stopped here along
the New River to drink beer. That's when Graham and Wetzel allegedly pulled
knives on the victim, who managed to break free and run into the river.
((THEY PROCEEDED INTO THE RIVER AFTER HIM AND STABBED HIM NUMEROUS TIMES AND
IT'S OUR UNDERSTANDING21:16:07HE WAS HELD UNDER THE WATER UNTIL THEY WERE
SURE HE WAS DEAD.))
The witness told police Wetzel and Graham were mad at Fisher for an earlier
fight. Fisher's wife said her husband knew there could be trouble.
((JACQUELINE FISHER/VICTIM'S WIFE: HE WANTED ME TO LOCK THE DOORS DAY AND NIGHT
AND WHEN I LET THE DOGS OUT TO LOCK THE DOOR, JUST LET THEM OUT. AND WHEN I
CAME OUTSIDE WITH THEM TO WATCH MY BACK. ))
Wetzel and Graham are still at large and are considered dangerous. Tracy
Altizer, News 7.
Federal investigators seized hundreds of documents and computer records
yesterday from a research firm in Radford.
The search warrant filed today reveals that the raid on the American
Research Corporation of Virginia was conducted by criminal investigators from
the F-B-I, NASA and the Defense Department.
The investigation has been going on since mid-June.
The feds are targeting Company President Russell Churchill, as well as its
research director and bookkeeper. They're suspected of fraud.
ARCOVA has been a defense contractor for the past decade.
Most recently the company has won 3-million dollars worth of research
contracts for the various military services and the defense department.
At the same time, ARCOVA was working on more than 2-million dollars worth
of NON- military research for NASA and the National Science Foundation.
Federal agents say ARCOVA employees were pressured to report they'd worked
on certain contracts when they hadn't.
According to the government, whenever one contract was running out of funds-
-but wasn't finished yet- -ARCOVA employees were told to mark their time sheets
to show they were working on a contract that still had money.
The investigation continues.
HARD MUSIC UNDER
Still to come on News 7 at 6--after more than 30 years, a changing of the
guard for the Danville Fire Department.
and some high schoolers' bright idea for keeping pets safe in the car gets
wx ad lib
MUSIC UP FULL
SUPER=82-9.46''/plus 6.44''/45.21''/plus 14.57'';
SUPER=83-Down 1.70 feet/Down 0.45 foot;Lake levels
A clarification on a story from yesterday regarding Congressman Rick
Boucher's votes in support of late-term abortions.
We reported only that Boucher said he opposed the bill banning the procedure
because it did not allow its use even to save the life of the mother.
The bill DOES include that exception, but Boucher went on to say he also
wanted exceptions when necessary to preserve the mother's health and future
child- bearing potential.
We told you this week that the Virginia Lottery's new Big Game is NOT
pulling in the revenues it's supposed to ...so far.
Lottery officials blamed the early low jackpots.
Well, tonight, the Big Game's 15- million dollar jackpot is the biggest in
Powerball and California's Super Lotto tied for second place at 13- million.
The Big Game numbers are drawn in Chicago, at 11 p-m eastern time. You can
get the winning numbers during News 7 at 11.
David Lampley won't leave empty handed when he retires as Danville's Fire
He'll be packing 33- years of memories.
Teresa Hamilton reports, the city didn't have to search far for a
IN Q=I can still
SUPER=01-David Lampley/Danville Fire Chief; :14
SUPER=01-Capt. B. G. Lewis, III/Incoming Fire Chief; :35
OUT Q=Hamilton, News 7.
IN Q=I can
((DAVID LAMPLEY/DANVILLE FIRE CHIEF: I CAN STILL REMEMBER THE FIRST DAY I
WALKED IN THIS BUILDING 33- YEARS AGO, LIKE IT WAS YESTERDAY. ))
OUT Q=it was yesterday.
It's memories like those Chief David Lampley carries close to his heart.
Even more meaningful are the people he's met over the years.
IN Q=Not only
((DAVID LAMPLEY/DANVILLE FIRE CHIEF:NOT ONLY HERE, BUT THE ENTIRE CITY, THE
STATE AND ALL THE ASSOCIATIONS, ALL POSITIVE, I'LL REMEMBER THOSE. ))
OUT Q=remember those.
44- year old B- G Lewis will fill Lampley's shoes on Tuesday.
The career fireman has been with the department for more than 20- years.
Helping others comes naturally, before joining the department, he worked as
a life guard.
IN Q=I'm looking
((CAPT. B. G. LEWIS, III/DANVILLE FIRE DEPT.: I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO THE
CHALLENGE AND I'M JUST GRATEFUL THAT I WAS GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHOW THE
CITY AND THE CITY GOVERNMENT WHAT I THINK I'M CAPABLE OF DOING. ))
OUT Q=of doing.
IN Q=I've known
((DAVID LAMPLEY/DANVILLE FIRE CHIEF: I'VE KNOWN HIM SINCE HE WAS 15- YEARS OLD,
A JUNIOR MEMBER OF THE LIFE SAVING CREW, CHASING FIRE TRUCKS, HE'S GOING TO DO
A GOOD JOB, HE'S A GOOD PEOPLE PERSON, HE'S GOT A LOT OF PERSONALITY AND HE
LISTENS TO WHAT PEOPLE HAVE TO SAY AND I THINK THAT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT PART
OF THE JOB. ))
OUT Q=of the job.
Lewis doesn't expect any major changes right away.
But he's keeping an open mind.
He believes tax payers want more for their money.
Down the road, he'll be looking for ways the department can offer more
services to the community.
Teresa Hamilton, News 7.))
The stock market edged higher today.
The Dow gained four points to finish the week at 58 hundred 72.
NASDAQ was up two points.
A team of students from the Governor's School in Roanoke are the top dogs
in a national competition.
Tonight Joe Dashiell reports on their pet project.
IN Q=Tripy may seem a bit wooden
SUPER=01-Josh Dietz/Governor's School Junior; :17
SUPER=@Joe2; :27 Quick;
SUPER=01-Gregory Holder/Governor's School Junior; :37
SUPER=01-Shana Waller/Governor's School Senior; :52
OUT Q=JD News 7 Roanoke
((Tripy may seem a bit wooden, but this two- by- four legged animal is part
of an award- winning team.
With Tripy's help, Shana Waller, Gregory Holder and Josh Dietz claimed top
honors in a national competition for young inventors.
IN Q=Originally we
((ORIGINALLY WE WERE GOING TO DO A PROJECT ON SEATBELTS FOR PEOPLE, BUT WHEN WE
RESEARCHED THE SUBJECT WE COULDN'T FIND A LOT OF INFORMATION ABOUT IT.))
((BECAUSE MY MOM IS A VETERINARIAN, I CAME UP WITH THE IDEA OF A SEATBELT FOR
OUT Q=seatbelt for pets
Their goal was to create a safety harness, a restraint that would protect a
pet in an accident.
IN Q=First we had to make the
((FIRST WE HAD TO MAKE THE DESIGN OF THE HARNESS ITSLEF. AND WE TOOK A LOT OF
DIFFERENT THINGS INTO ACCOUNT. FIRST WE HAD TO DECIDE HOW THE DOG WOULD BE
SITTING AND WE DECIDED THAT MOST LIKELY THE DOG WOULD BE SITTING UPRIGHT LIKE
OUT Q=upright like this.
And since they couldn't test the device on a real dog, Tripy did the
IN Q=We were happy
((WE WERE HAPPY THAT OUR PROJECT WAS SUCCESSFUL. IT SURVIVED THE FIRST TEST,
BUT BY THE SECOND TEST THE DOG WAS A LITTLE BIT CROOKED, BUT WE CALCULATED THAT
THAT WOULD HAPPEN. ))
OUT Q=that would happen.
Their project failed to win the governor's school or state competitions,
but their teachers submitted it to the national program anyway.
Now they're headed to Washington to claim their award.
IN Q=He'll be going to Washington
OUT Q=be around for a while.
Joe Dashiell News 7 Roanoke))
Rain has dampened qualifying at the soon to be Winston Cup retired Bull
Ring, 15 games on the slate for FFE,
and, on the menu for the Virginia cavliers..hopefull some well done Longhorn
They've been racing Cup cars at North Wilkesboro since 1951, and while this
weekend marks the track's last date as Winston Cup host, Mother Nature is doing
her best to make their time together last as long as possible.
SUPER=03-N. Wilkesboro, NC/ESPN2; :00
All but 13 cars made it through first round time trials before the rains
started and the umbrellas came out.
Bobby Hamilton, who won the pole last week at Martinsville, made his run and
was on the pole until rain stopped time trials for over 2 hours and 20 minutes.
IN Q="You know...
((BOBBY HAMILTON/CURRENT TOP QUALIFIER:))
SUPER=01-Bobby Hamilton/Current Top Qualifier; :00
OUT Q=...GET IT IN."
They got it in alright!
Jeff Gordon was the first car back on the track after the rain delay and he
went out and stole the pole away from Hamilton.
but just a couple of cars later Gordon lost the pole position as Ted
Musgrave went out and grabbed to top spot with a speed of 119. point 057 miles
The time trials just finished up. We'll have the rundown of the top 25
tonight at News 7 Primetime at 10 and on News 7 at 11.
Last week's rain on Saturday forced the Folks at Franklin County to
reschedule the Crossroads Mall 350 to tomorrow night.
The gates open at 3, the racing starts at 8, and the Southern Modifieds will
be on hand for a 150 lap race.
For some high school teams in the area tonight marks the midway point of the
And one of the biggest surprises so far is Lord Botetourt.
The Cavaliers have literally made a 180 degree turnaround.
((WESLEY COX/BOTETOURT TAILBACK & LINEBACKER:))
((ANDY WARD/LORD BOTETOURT HEAD COACH:))
SUPER=01-Wesley Cox/Botetourt Tailback and Linebacker;
SUPER=01-Andy Ward/Lord Botetourt Head Coach; :12
OUT Q=...DISTRICT SEASON."
Besides the Botetourt-Byrd game we'll have 14 others on Friday Football
Here's where you'll find our crews on the scene this evening.
OUT Q=...FFE graphic comes full screen/music fades.
The carrier Dome is the site of the 10 the meeting between Virginia Tech
and Syracuse tomorrow.
it is the first conference game for the Orangemen while the Hokies are 1
and OH in the Big East.
One major key for the 3 and OH Hokies will be to contain Syracuse quarterback
IN Q=The secondary
((CORNELL BROWN/VIRGINIA TECH DEFENSIVE END:))
SUPER=01-Cornell Brown/Va. Tech Defensive End; :00
OUT Q=...over their head"
Brown has been double teamed most of this season, but his defense is still
giving up only 13 points per game.
IN Q="our offense
((MALCOLM THOMAS/SYRACUSE RUNNING BACK:))
SUPER=01-Malcolm Thomas/Syracuse Running Back; :00
OUT Q=...kitchen sink"
One other note, Tech tailback Ken Oxendine will be back in uniform against
You can catch the game right here on your Hometown Station at 3:30
SS+full screen wake forest Clemson
You can get warmed up for the Hokies by watching the Clemson, Wake Forest
battle at noon.
Several items on the menu for the Virginia Cavaliers tomorrow...long horn
steak, flank steak and filet migon.
UVa's defense will lead the way if it is to beat 13th ranked Texas, which
ever way you chop it up.
IN Q=first audio
SUPER=01-Duane Ashman/UVa Defensive End; :00
SUPER=03-Winston-Salem, NC/Saturday; :07
SUPER=01-Ronde Barber/UVa Defensive Back; :28
SUPER=03-New Orleans, LA/1995 Sugar Bowl; :39
SUPER=03-Austin, TX/Cavaliers vs. Longhorns; :57
OUT Q=...I hope they remember it"
((DUANE ASHMAN/UVA DEFENSIVE END:))
((UVa's defense has brought it's apetite to each game so far, amassing 15
sacks in three games.
((RONDE BARBER/UVA DEFENSIVE BACK:))
The nations 6th ranked defense seems to have been preparing for last year's
Southwest conference player of the year since the pre season.
Virginia has a score to settle with the Longhorns. A Texas 50 yard field goal
as time expired beat UVa last year.
Have the cavs been taking out their anger on this season's oppenents, whose
to know, but George Welsh, not known for belief in revenge delivered this very
short but strong message to his team this week.
SUPER=#561;Burnt Chimney VN
SUPER=330-Cloudy With A/Few Showers/60-65/Showers Likely/Gusty S Wind/73-76;
SUPER=331-Cloudy Skies/Wind S-10/63-66/Showers Late/Gusty S Wind/74-78;
SUPER=332-Showers Likely/And Windy/60-65/Late Day Showers/Gusty S Wind/70-75;
SUPER=333-Showers Likely/Wind S-10/60-64/Showers Likely/S Wind Gusty/73-76;
SUPER=334-Showers And/Thunderstorms/60-65/Showers & Windy/SW-20/70-73;
GRAPHIC=Frankie Lee Hall
Real heroes are hard to come by.
But the Blue Ridge Community Traffic Safety Board believes
it found the genuine article in Frankie Lee Hall.
The Marine Staff Sergeant was honored today for the daring rescue he made
four days ago.
Sergeant Hall pulled two teenagers to safety from a burning vehicle on
Interstate 581 Monday.
He said he could never have imagined anything like that was about to happen
as he drove downtown.
Noting that he, too, has an 18-year son, Hall thanked God for the fact that
Kevin Ballinger and Nicole Hicks got out of the wreck alive.
And a reminder you can catch the region's only Prime Time newscast tonight.
Take Fullscreen Board
News 7 Prime Time airs at 10 p-m on WEFC Television. You can check your
local cable listings for the channel in your area.
7 at 11 here on WDBJ.
And also be sure to join us for all the day's news weather and sports on News