Coming up on News 7-
A Virginia Tech student is accused of setting fire to a fraternity house.
The search goes on for a 450 pound lion on the loose in a Florida tourist
Plus one neighborhood is lighting up the holiday season- we mean really
lighting it up. We'll show you.
News 7 is next.
A Virginia Tech students is charged with setting fire to
a campus fraternity house.
21 year old Chas Justin (knee-me) Niemi was taken into custody shortly after
the Kappa Alpha house caught fire.
Jurors are deliberating the fate of Terry Nichols after closing statements
((I THINK CLOSING ARGUMENTS FAVOR THE PROSECUTION BY A LONG WAY. ))
OUT Q=BY A LONG WAY.
And no this isn't a scene out of the movie Christmas Vacation. This scene is
in our region.
And Republicans keep Mark Earleys seat in the Senate.
Join us for News 7 at Eleven.
A Virginia Tech student is accused of setting fire to a campus fraternity
But that's not all. Late this afternoon, the 21-year old was charged with
Teresa Hamilton reports.
IN Q=Sources tell
SUPER=01-Darren Kidwell/Fraternity Member; :18
SUPER=03-Blacksburg/August 5; :32
SUPER=01-Lt. Kim Crannis/Blacksburg Police Dept.; :40 quick
SUPER=01-Carter Vaughn/VT Student; 1:09 VERY QUICK!!!
OUT Q=Hamilton, NEWS 7.
(( Sources tell NEWS 7 21- year old Chad Justin (knee-me) Niemi's 15-
thousand dollar bond was revoked for lying to a magistrate about his criminal
Niemi was taken into custody after the Kappa Alpha house on Roanoke Street
IN Q=It's unfortunate
((DARREN KIDWELL/FRATERNITY MEMBER:IT'S UNFORTUNATE WE HAD OVER TWO DECADES OF
PICTURES AND MEMORIES AND STUFF LIKE THAT FROM EVER SINCE OUR CHAPTER WAS
FOUNDED HERE. ))
OUT Q=founded here.
This is the second time, in four months, flames have destroyed a Tech
Police say there've actually been 12 suspicious fires in Blacksburg since
early August and are looking at a possible connection.
IN Q=We are
((LT. KIM CRANNIS/BLACKSBURG POLICE: WE ARE LOOKING AT TYING ALL THOSE
TOGETHER, WE DON'T HAVE ANY LEADS ON THEM RIGHT AT THE MOMENT BUT WE ARE
LOOKING AT THEM AS BEING RELATED.))
OUT Q=being related.
Niemi lives on the same street as the fraternity and was arrested shortly
after his next door neighbors called to report a storage shed fire.
While talking to police-- another student, standing across the road, says
he saw Niemi leave his apartment carrying a bag.
Minutes later, they say, the frat house was engulfed in flames.
IN Q=We saw
((CARTER VAUGHN/VT STUDENT:WE SAW PEOPLE JUMPING OFF THE ROOF, WHEN WE WENT
OVER THERE, TO KIND OF DO WHAT WE COULD TO HELP OUT AND JUST KINDA WATCH.))
OUT Q=kinda watch.
This was the second fire handled within a matter of hours by Blacksburg fire
Officials say an electrical problem was the cause of the fire that heavily
damaged the Architectural Annex near campus.
Teresa Hamilton, NEWS 7.))
Invesitgators are searching for the cause of a fire that killed a Bedford
County woman early this morning.
Firefighters spent several hours trying to contain the blaze at this home on
Whistling Swan Drive in Forest.
Heavy flames and smoke prevented crews from trying to save the house's only
IN Q=The house was
((LARRY BARBOUR/FOREST V.F.D. CHIEF: THE HOUSE WAS REAL UNSTABLE TO GO IN TO
SEARCH IT REAL THOROUGHLY, SO WE DONE A COUPLE QUICK PRIMARY SEARCHES TO TRY TO
LOCATE THE VICTIM. WE FINALLY GOT THE FIRE KNOCKED DOWN AND WERE ABLE TO STUDY
THE STRUCTURE AND SEE THAT IT WAS SAFE FOR THE FIREFIGHTERS TO GO IN A LITTLE
SUPER=01-Larry Barbour/Forest V.F.D. Chief; :00
OUT Q=a little deeper.
The body of 73-year old Barbara (STIH-glitz) Stieglitz was found just inside
the front door.
Authorities believe she died of smoke inhalation.
Earl Bramblett still denies it.
He told the judge he's innocent, just minutes before he was sentenced to
die for killing a family of four.
Keith Humphry has the story.
IN Q=In the face
SUPER=03-Vinton/August 29, 1994; :06
SUPER=01-Earl Bramblett/Condemned Killer; :11
SUPER=01-Don Hodges/Blaine Hodges' Brother; :24
SUPER=02-Judge Roy Willett/Roanoke Co. Circuit Court; :46
OUT Q=Humphry, NEWS 7.
In the face of all the evidence- -right down to the chemical
characteristics in the cartridges found in Bramblett's truck that match bullets
from the crime scene- -Bramblett insists he's been framed.
((I'M JUST GOING TO SAY ONE MORE TIME FOR THE RECORD: I DID NOT KILL THE HODGES
The evidence is he strangled Teresa, shot and killed Blaine, Anna and
Winter Hodges, then set their home on fire.
((IT SHOWS COWARDICE. HE DOESN'T EVEN HAVE THE GUTS NOW, EVEN AFTER IT'S ALL
SAID AND DONE TO ADMIT WHAT HE HAD DONE.))
Bramblett's attorneys tried to show he's delusional- -according to a
psychologist. The lawyers were hoping to convince the judge Bramblett is
mentally ill and so should not be executed.
But the defense had not relied an insanity defense at trial, and the
prosecutor says Bramblett knows right from wrong.
((THE COURT CAN FIND AND DOES FIND NO REASON NOT TO IMPOSE THE PUNISHMENT
SUGGESTED BY A JURY OF YOUR PEERS AND THEREFORE SENTENCES YOU TO DEATH WHICH
SENTENCE IS TO BE CARRIED OUT ONE YEAR FROM TODAY SO THAT DIRECT APPEALS AND
OTHER APPEALS CAN BE HAD.))
OUT Q=can be had.
Though his date with death was set for one year from today, the 55-year
old convict will most likely get to Mecklenburg in time for Christmas.
But Bramblett will NOT be the oldest man on death row.
That distinction falls to David Lee Fisher who is just eight months older
Keith Humphry NEWS 7.))
GRAPHIC=Virginia State Seal
The General Assembly's scale swung in favor of state Republicans after
today's special election.
State G-O-P chairman Randy Forbes easily won the race to fill the District
14 seat vacated by Attorney General-Elect Mark Earley.
Unofficial results show a 69 to 31 percent margin separated Forbes from
Democratic challenger James J. Wheaton.
Republicans now hold 20 of the Senate's 40 seats.
Republican Lieutenant Governor-elect John Hager will wield the tie-breaking
vote, effectively ensuring G-O-P control.
Goodyear union members WILL hold another vote on a seven day work schedule.
SUPER=03-Caswell Co., N.C./File Tape;
885 union members want to re-consider the offer, while only 532 people did
Last time the union voted, members did not want to work mandatory Sunday
shifts for religious reasons-- and because they said they'd lose overtime pay.
Since then Goodyear has laid off people and stopped investing in the
Danville plant, which may have changed some minds.
No word yet on when the union will vote on the package again.
Christmas shoppers are turning to their credit cards in record numbers.
We'll have that story in a moment,
and from Ridgeway, we'll see how two families are trying to lighten up this
Non-standard outcue and anchor tag!!
The fate of Terry Nichols is now in the hands of the jury.
As Diana Olick reports they got different messages in closing statements
SUPER=01-Marsha Kight/Victim's Mother; 37
OUT Q=A GUILTY VERDICT."
((MICHAEL TIGER/DEFENSE ATTORNEY: NOPE JUST TELLING MY STORY.
In his last chance before the jury, defense attorney Michael Tigar went on
the offensive, mocking the one government witness who linked Terry Nichols
directly to the bomb plot. "I was born at night," Tigar boomed, "but I wasn't
born last night."
Then finally, in a somber voice, with Nichols' family looking on, Tigar
suggested to the jury: "suppose you looked at him as a man who loved his
children". Walking toward a teary-eyed Terry Nichols, he offered "this is my
brother, he's in your hands." then Tigar wiped his own tears. The mother of one
Oklahoma City victim was not impressed.
KIGHT/VICTIM'S MOTHER: OH I THINK TERRY NICHOLS' TEARS, I BELIEVE THOSE 'CAUSE
I THINK HE'S A MAN THAT'S SCARED TO DEATH... TIGAR, IT'S ALL PART OF THE GAME.
Lead prosecutor Larry Mackey was quick to pounce on Tigar's last words.
In a quiet fatherly tone he began: "the men and women in the Murrah building
are your brothers and sisters as well." As for Nichols, "terrorists have
families too" he said. Again he asked the jury to focus on the evidence, even
admitting mistakes were made. Finally, looking straight at the jurors, in
nearly a whisper, he ended: "It is time for justice.
On behalf of the United
States of America, I ask now that you return a guilty verdict.))
Jurors will begin deliberating again in the morning.
The San Francisco 49ers have lost Jerry Rice for the end of the season a day
after they got him back for less than a half.
SUPER=03-San Francisco, CA/ABC; :00
Rice returned to the 49ers lineup for the first time since destroying the
ligaments in his left knee in the season opener.
Many felt he was coming back way to soon from such a serious injury.
But he quickly made his presence felt making a diving catch in the first
He then caught this TD pass in heavy traffic.
He took a wicked hit up high, and when his left knee hit the turf he cracked
his left knee cap making many wonder if he didn't come back too soon.
IN Q="The ...
((STEVE MARIUCCI/49ERS HEAD COACH:))
SUPER=01-Steve Mariucci/49ers Head Coach; :00
OUT Q=...VERY UNFORTUNATE."
WIPE TO ENG#
A dog can be man's best friend-- as one Ridgeway teen knows.
But this young man lost his best pal on his seventeenth birthday.
Now he wants to know why.
Tina Tenret has the story.
IN Q=Travis Smith
SUPER=07-Travis Smith; :12
SUPER=07-Debbie Smith; :37
OUT Q=TT, News7, Ridgeway
((Travis Smith has cerebral palsy.
But his dog Cleatis was always there to pick up his cane when he fell.
Until the morning of Travis' seventeenth birthday, when Cleatis was shot and
IN Q=It was a cruel
((TRAVIS SMITH: IT WAS A CRUEL THING TO DO AND THEY REALLY DIDN'T HAVE ANY
RIGHT TO DO IT. I MEAN CAUSE I CAN SEE THEIR GETTING MAD AT THE DOG BEING ON
THEIR LAND OR SOMETHING BUT YOU CAN THROW A STICK AT IT OR SOMETHING, TELL IT
TO GO AWAY. YOU DON'T HAVE TO SHOOT IT. THAT'S A LITTLE OVER THE EDGE.))
OUT Q=over the edge
Travis's mother Debbie found the dog lying on this creek bank -- her only
guess is a hunter shot Cleatis from a tree stand above.
IN Q=He would hug your leg
((DEBBIE SMITH: HE WOULD HUG YOUR LEG REAL KIND LIKE AND HE'D JUST -- THE DOG
JUST HAD SOMETHING SPECIAL AND HE MADE TRAVIS LAUGH MORE THAN I'D SEEN HIM
LAUGH IN A VERY LONG TIME AND THAT MEANT A GREAT DEAL TO ME.))
OUT Q=deal to me
The dog -- and a slice of birthday cake -- is buried beneath this homemade
As she decorates the cross for Christmas, Debbie Smith hopes this season,
hunters will think twice about killing.
Tina Tenret, News7, Ridgeway))
South Boston says it will sue Halifax County for more land-- if the town and
the county cannot reach an annexation agreement within 30 days.
South Boston says if it had more land, the town's tax burden would be less.
But Halifax County residents are concerned annexation would mean higher
taxes for them.
And they're critical of the town's methods.
IN Q=Now that the going
((PAT WINGLER/COUNTY RESIDENT: NOW THAT THE GOING GETS TOUGH, YOU WANT TO GO
OUT AND LAND-GRAB. FRIENDS, THAT'S NOT THE ANSWER. YOU NEED TO LEARN TO LIVE
WITHIN YOUR MEANS JUST LIKE THE REST OF US.))
SUPER=01-Pat Wingler/Halifax Co. Resident;
OUT Q=the rest of us
Halifax County leaders say they will give South Boston land only if it will
combine certain services like 911 with the county to save money, but so far the
town has not committed to that.
In last night's crowd of roughly 200 only two raised their hands in favor of
South Boston was the first city in Virginia to revert to town status -- it
only recently won the right to annex county land.
Some fear the General Assembly will take away that privilege and say that's
why South Boston is rushing to draw new boundary lines.
Police get nada as they search for Nala. An escaped lion is still on the
loose in Florida. That's up next,
And we'll see what President Clinton is calling his new Buddy in the White
((HE HAS A LITTLE HOUSE IN THE KITCHEN. HE IS SLEEPING IN THE KITCHEN RIGHT
OUT Q=kitchen right now.
A lion is still on the run in Florida- The 450 pound
female named (Nah-la) Nala escaped from Jungleland yesterday when caretakers
were trying to get flood water out of her cage.
((WE HAVEN'T SEEN A THING JUST A LOT OF WATER. THAT'S IT. ))
SUPER=01-Mitch Kalmonson/Search Team;
OUT Q=a lot of water, that's it."
The lion was spotted from the air about 100 yards from the zoo but the
swampy terrain made it impossible to reach her quickly from the ground.
The lion has been declawed, but still has deadly fangs and teeth.
((THE POLICE HAVE BEEN VERY GOOD. THEY CAME AROUND TWICE YESTERDAY AND TOLD US
TO STAY INDOORS AND BE CAREFUL.))
((SHE WON'T DO ANYTHING UNLESS SHE'S PROVOKED. SHE'S SCARED.))
SUPER=01-Jim Blundell/English Tourist; 00
SUPER=01-Lt. Tom Quinn/Wildlife Officer; 06 quick!
OUT Q=she's scared.
The search was called off at dusk.
As one wildlife official put it, AT NIGHT-, the lion can see us, but we
can't see it.
If you charge it, you should pay it- the BILL that is- IN FULL.
The Consumer Federation says credit card debt jumped to 452 billion dollars
just this year.
((CLEARLY CREDIT CARD DEBTS ARE CRUSHING MILIONS OF HOUSEHOLDS FINANCIALLY. ))
OUT Q=of households financially.
The federation blames banks in part for increasing credit lines higher than
people can handle and for agressively marketing cards.
But it also has advice for consumers.
((STEPHEN BROBECK/CONSUMER FED. OF AMERICA: IT IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT THAT
HTEY CARRY ONLY ONE OR TWO CARDS, THAT THEY LIMIT THE TOTAL CREDIT LINES TO NO
MORE THAN 20 PERCENT OF INCOME AND THAT THEY TRY VERY HARD TO PAY FOOF THE
BALANCE IN FULL EVERY MONTH.))
SUPER=01-Stephen Brobeck/Consumer Fedderation;
OUT Q=IN FULL EVERY MONTH.
Brobeck says if you can't pay the full amount, at least pay more than the
Being in the spirit of Christmas means different things to different people.
But, as David Johnson reports, a couple in the Henry community of Franklin
County have their own way of spreading holiday cheer.
IN Q=HAZEL AND ROY HALE
SUPER=03-Franklin Co.; :00
SUPER=07-Hazel Hale; :20
SUPER=19-David Johnson; :27
SUPER=07-Roy Hale; :36
SUPER=01-Lyndia Thornton/Martinsville Resident; :60
OUT Q=Franklin County
(( Hazel and Roy Hale estimate they have more than 50-thousand Christmas
lights decorating their property.
Hazel's sister and her husband live just around the bend. They have about
63-thousand lights on theirs.
They begin the process in September and the end result brings in spectators
from miles around.
((HAZEL HALE; WE JUST LOVE DOING IT. WE LIKE SEEING THE PEOPLE AND WE KIND OF
LIKE PUTTING IT UP. IT'S A LOT OF HARD WORK BUT WE LIKE DOING IT.))
((DAVID JOHNSON/REPORTING; THE HALES SAY THEIR CREATIVE GIFT TO THE COMMUNITY
BEGAN IN 1987 WITH THIS NATIVITY SCENE. FROM THERE, IT JUST CONTINUED TO
((ROY HALE; WE GO EACH YEAR AFTER CHRISTMAS AND BUY WHATEVER WE CAN FIND. THEN
WE'LL DISPLAY IT THE NEXT YEAR. THEN, THE SAME THING NEXT YEAR, WE'LL DISPLAY
WHAT WE GOT THAT YEAR. ))
Roy says they've had at least two-thousand people stop by. He says he knows
because he's given out that many lollipops, which is part of the event.
Guests say being here will make you feel like a kid again.
((LYNDIA THORNTON/MARTINSVILLE RESIDENT; I THINK IT'S WONDERFUL THAT THEY TAKE
THE TIME AND THE TROUBLE AND THE EFFORT BECAUSE THESE THINGS, I HAVEN'T SEEN
SINCE I WAS A LITTLE GIRL. IT DOES BRING OUT THE CHILD IN YOU AND I JUST WISH
MORE PEOPLE WOULD DO THIS.))
The lights are on between 5:30 and 10:30 each evening for the whole month of
December. Although the Hales spend an extra 150-dollars for their monthly
electric bill, they turn away donations, saying it's enough just to see the
smile on people's faces.
David Johnson, News 7, Franklin County.))
SUPER=330-Mostly Clear/Light Winds/30-33/Mostly Sunny/Wind NW-10/55-60;
SUPER=331-Clear With/Light Winds/30-34/Mostly/Sunny/55-60;
SUPER=332-Clear And/Chilly/28-30/Partly Sunny/Wind W-10/50-52;
SUPER=333-Clear And/Cold/20-25/Mostly Sunny/Light Winds/48-52;
SUPER=334-Turning/Partly Cloudy/27-29/Partly Sunny/Wind NW-10/48-50;
SUPER=03-Atlanta, GA; :00
But first, kids at the Atlanta Scottish Rite hospital got a big lift
yesterday as one of the big leagues' most popular players, Chipper Jones,
dropped by to sign a few autographs and spread some Christmas cheer.
Unfortunately, many of the kids won't be well enough to get home for the
GRAPHIC=HIGH SCHOOL HOOPS
The Patrick Henry Patriots football team ruined William Fleming shot a
perfect regular season last month, but last night it was time for payback as
the two schools hooked up in hoops.
SUPER=03-Salem/Fleming vs. P.H.; :00
Colonels boss Roland Lovelace, who was away from his team early in the season
due to his football commitments would see his team take the early lead on
Derrick Turner's steal and driving layin. It's 7-2 Colonels. PH had 19
PH would try to stay close with the long ball as Mike Peery knocks down the
three pointer off of Mike Hill's assist.
The Patriots got within a point thanks to their main man Boo Battle, who
banks this one with a soft touch.
But Fleming opens it up with William Hankins throwing down the jam.
The Colonels beat PH last night 55 to 44.
wipe to eng#
The Fleming administration got to enjoy a clean sweep last night as the
girl's team opened the evening by blowing out PH.
Alycia Garrison's banker underneath made it 14-to-nothing Fleming in the
It was 21-to-zip before PH's Tara Cofer turned Erika Haley's pass into a
deuce with 25 seconds left in the quarter.
But this one was all Lady Colonels.
Shaunaray Walker makes the steal and SUPER=33-William Fleming/67/Patrick
goes solo in transition for the bucket as Fleming wins it 67-to-26. Not a
misprint, just a mismatch.
For 25 years, hockey in the Roanoke Valley has in some way or another had a
connection to Pierre Paiement. But today the Express general manager announced
roundhouse wrapup big
Steve Mason has more on his surprising departure, what may have triggered
it, and how it affects the team in this edition of Roundhouse Wrapup.
IN Q=first audio
SUPER=01-Frank Anzalone/Express Head Coach; :44
SUPER=01-Dave Stewart/Express Captain; :54
SUPER=03-Roanoke/1972 Roanoke Valley Rebels Season; 1:05
SUPER=01-Claude Piche/Former Teammate of Paiement; 1:13
OUT Q=...News 7 sports"
Still to come tonight, some big injury news from the NFL and the NCAA, as
Terrell, Famous Amos
and the great Jerry Rice are all sidelined for various lengths of time.
The news is somewhat better for Broncos' running back Terrell Davis.
Last night he suffered a partially separated shoulder against the 49ers, he
may miss Sunday's game against the Chargers.
And West Virginia may be without running back Amos Zeroue when the
Mountaineers take on Ga. Tech in the Carquest Bowl on December 29th.
The nation's third leading rusher reinjured his foot in practice and is
questionable for the game.
Man's best friend- is also man's BUDDY at the White House.
President Clinton named his three month old chocolate labrador after his late
((BECAUSE OF THE IMPORTANCE OF MY UNCLE'S LIFE AND ALSO BECAUE MY UNCLE RAISED
AND TRAINED DOGS FOR OVER 50 YEARS.))
OUT Q=OVER 50 YEARS.
Buddy seemed to like the cameras as he walked by the press today.
President Clinton, Hillary and daughter Chelsea settled on the name last