Coming up on NEWS 7 at SIX:
An elderly woman succumbs to smoke and flames in Forest.
The inmate population on death row increases by one, Earl Bramblett.
Also coming up on NEWS 7 the touching story of a disabled teenager with a
dog named Cheetah.
Tonight in sports, Jerry Rice cracks his left knee cap, undergoes more
surgery, and is now out for the season.
We'll hear from 49ers head coach Steve Mariucci.
Plus, Steve Mason has the latest on the resignation of Express general
manager Pierre Paiement.
More sun and warm temperatures for the next few days. Forecast details
A Bedford County woman died when her home near Forest was destroyed by fire
early this morning.
Around 3:15 A-M, firefighters were called to the house in the Lake Vista
They'd been told someone was inside, but heavy smoke and flames prevented
firemen from conducting a thorough search of the house.
IN Q=The house was
((LARRY BARBOUR/FOREST V.F.D. CHIEF: THE HOUSE WAS VERY UNSTABLE, THAT WAS ONE
OF OUR BIG FACTORS. WE DIDN'T WANT ANY OF OUR FIREFIGHTERS GETTING HURT, BUT
YET WE WANTED TO TRY TO FIND HER ALSO. SO IT WAS A REAL DIFFICULT TASK.))
SUPER=01-Larry Barbour/Forest V.F.D. Chief; :00
OUT Q=real difficult task.
The body of 73- year- old Barbara Stieglitz (STIH-glitz) was found just
inside the front door.
Stieglitz had been living in the home since March.
Investigators are still searching for a cause to the fire.
A Virginia Tech student is arrested near the scene of an early morning fire
that heavily damaged the Kappa Alpha fraternity house, near campus.
Double Boxes=Keith and Teresa/Microwave
Teresa Hamilton is in our Blacksburg newsroom with an update.
Keith, at least one student was injured, jumping from the second floor after
flames quickly spread through the house, destroying the structure and years of
IN Q=The memories
SUPER=01-Ken Kratovil/Fraternity President; :00
SUPER=01-Rob Beale/VT Student; :36
OUT Q=anything special.
IN Q=The memories
((KEN KRATOVIL/FRATERNITY PRESIDENT: THE MEMORIES THAT WE HAD INSIDE THAT HAVE
BEEN LOST, YOU CAN'T GET THAT BACK, YOU JUST PICK UP THE PIECES AND HOPEFULLY
GO FROM THERE. ))
OUT Q=from there.
Fraternity members are pledging to rebuild.
The fire may have destroyed their Roanoke street residence but NOT their
As far as the student charged with arson-- fraternity members tell NEWS 7
they never knew 21- year Chad Justin Niemi-- although he lived down the street.
Their neighbor Rob Beale, however, was familiar with Niemi.
He says Niemi lived on Roanoke street-- for at least two years.
IN Q=He's always
((ROB BEALE/VT STUDENT: HE'S ALWAYS A NICE GUY, HE'S ALWAYS SORT OF QUITE, AND
PRETTY MUCH KEPT TO HIMSELF, HE HAD SOME FRIEND THAT HE HUG OUT WITH ALL THE
OUT Q=the time.
Ironically, it was Beale who may have helped police catch Niemi.
Beale was outside shortly before the frat house caught fire-- and saw Niemi
leave his house-- carrying a bag.
IN Q=Just a
((JUST A WHITE PLASTIC BAG, LIKE KROGER'S BAG, IT WAS JUST TIED AT THE TOP, AND
ABOUT THIS BIG, WASN'T ANYTHING SPECIAL. ))
OUT Q=anything special.))
Double Boxes=Keith and Teresa/Microwave
( I understand there have been quite a few suspicious fire in Blacksburg?)
Earl Bramblett will go to death row maintaining his innocence.
IN Q=I'm just going
SUPER=01-Earl Bramblett/Condemned Killer; :00
SUPER=01-Terry Grimes/Bramblett's Attorney; :12
SUPER=03-Vinton/August 29, 1994; :35 quick
SUPER=01-Skip Burkart/Roanoke Co. Commonwealth's Atty; :39
SUPER=01-Randy Hodges/Blaine Hodges' Brother; :44
SUPER=01-Judge Roy Willett/Roanoke Co. Circuit Court; 1:19
SUPER=01-Don Hodges/Victim's Brother; 1:33 very quick
SUPER=01-Mike Kirby/Juror; 1:41
OUT Q=hard on everybody.
((I'M JUST GOING TO SAY ONE MORE TIME FOR THE RECORD: I DID NOT KILL THE HODGES
In the face of all the evidence, Bramblett still wants us to believe he
didn't do it.
SOT 10:07:45 Terry
((MR. BRAMBLETT WAS DIAGNOSED AS HAVING A DELUSIONAL DISORDER, PERSECUTORY
TYPE, WHICH IS IN THE SAME CLASS OF PSYCHIATRIC ILLNESSES AS SCHIZOPHRENIA.))
Bramblett knows right from wrong, but his lawyers believe his mental state
leaves one imponderable question.
SOT TERRY - 9:47:25
((DO WE EXECUTE THE MENTALLY ILL IN ROANOKE COUNTY? ))
The judge and jury concluded Bramblett killed Teresa, Blaine, Winter and
Anna Hodges.... then set fire to their home to cover up the crime.
((AND WE'RE PUNISHING HIM FOR THE FACT THAT HE BRUTALLY WIPED OUT, KILLED, A
((THE WORDS CAN'T EXPRESS WHAT WE ALL FEEL ABOUT WHAT HAS HAPPENED. I THINK
WHAT HE DID WILL AFFECT ALL OF US FOR AS LONG AS ONE OF US IS ALIVE I THINK ALL
OF US ARE GOING TO REMEMBER THIS.))
The victim's brother was the only witness at the sentencing hearing- -other
than Bramblett's probation officer.
((YOUR HONOR WE HAVE DISCUSSED WITH MR. BRAMBLETT HIS RIGHT TO TESTIFY.
HE HAS MADE THAT DECISION NOT TO TESTIFY.))
The judge had begun agonizing over HIS decision long before the hearing
((MR. BRAMBLETT I JUST WANT TO TELL YOU THIS IS DIFFICULT, VERY DIFFICULT. ))
((THIS COURT IMPOSES A SENTENCE OF LIFE IMPRISONMENT. ))
"Life" for arson and for each of three murders, plus 400-thousand dollars
And for killing 11-year old Winter Hodges- -a death sentence.
((HIS SENTENCE IS GOING TO BE WHEN HE MEETS HIS MAKER.))
One of the jurors was in the courtroom to see the jury's sentence imposed.
((THE PROSECUTORS DID THEIR JOB AND THE COURT AND JUDGE I THINK WAS FAIR. AND
ALL THE EVIDENCE WAS THERE.It was as hard on the judge as it was on y'all I
suppose? I THINK IT WAS. IT WAS HARD ON EVERYBODY. ))
Judge Willett set the execution for one year from today- -to allow for
appeals... though that will certainly be extended.
The city of Roanoke is taking precautionary steps to properly get rid of
automotive and road maintenance products disposed of at its Public Works
Service Center several years ago.
Officials are working with E-P-A and D-E-Q agents.
Workers have discovered seven containers of paint-like substances and
The 55-gallon drums will be disposed of after they're analyzed.
Preliminary findings suggest there are no enviromental concerns.
IN Q=WE HAVE NOT
((WE HAVE NOT HAD TO UPGRADE TO ANY PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT SO WE
CERTAINLY DO NOT ANTICIPATE ANY RISK TO NEIGHBORING PROPERTIES OR NEIGHBORS OR
WORKERS ON THE SITE. ))
SUPER=01-Bren Huggins/Environmental Consultant;
OUT Q=ON THE SITE.
The digging will continue until the area is cleared.
HARD MUSIC UNDER
The future of the General Assembly could be in the hands of a small group
of voters in Eastern Virginia. We'll have that in a moment,
and we'll meet Travis Smith, a young man who is struggling as he tries to
understand why he has lost his best friend.
wx ad lib
MUSIC UP FULL
SUPER=82-0.39''/minus 1.11''/29.97''/minus 9.69'';
SUPER=83-Down 3.16 feet/Down 2.73 feet;Lake levels
Business is booming in Virginia.
But with hundreds of millions of dollars already spoken for by Virginia
voters eager to eliminate their car tax, the state budget's still being combed
Double Boxes=Keith and Ellen/State Microwave
Ellen Qualls is in our Richmond newsroom tonight with today's hot topics.
What's the reaction to Governor Allen's state worker pay proposal?
Well Keith, the Governor confirmed today that the two year budget he'll
release Friday includes two and a quarter percent raises for state workers in
both 1998 and 1999.
But it's NOT the five percent state workers were seeking for private sector
parity... and it includes a pay-for-performance bonus that only about half the
state work force could get.
IN Q=This makes sense
SUPER=01-Del. Tom Moss/(D) Norfolk; :16
SUPER=01-Father Gerry Creedon/Va. Interfaith Council; :38 QUICK!!
SUPER=01-Steve Colecchi/Catholic Diocese of Richmond; :42
OUT Q=personal property tax.
(( sot 03:56:32
((GOV. GEORGE ALLEN: THIS MAKES TO YOU. IT MAKES GOOD SENSE TO A LOT OF
PEOPLE WHO THINK NORMALLY. MY CONCERN WITH THIS WAS WHETHER THE LEGISLATURE
WILL THEN JUST TAKE ALL THAT MONEY AND END UP GIVING IT IN AN ACROSS THE BOARD
INCREASE WHICH WILL END UP BEING TWO AND A HALF PERCENT OR SOMETHING LIKE
((DEL. TOM MOSS/D-NORFOLK: I'M A LITTLE DISAPPOINTED IN THE NUMBERS. AND I'M
SURE WE CAN LOOK AT THOSE AGAIN. BUT I ALSO UNDERSTAND THAT THERE'S BEEN SO
MANY OTHER PROMISES THAT HAVE BEEN MADE WITH THE CAR TAXING SITUATION THAT
MONEY IS GOING TO BE VERY TIGHT.))
The car tax cut was the focus of an ongoing legislative tax commission too,
with a call for an earned income tax credit for the working poor.
((FATHER GERRY CREEDON/VA. INTERFAITH COUNCIL: WE'RE IN A MOOD TO CUT TAXES,
LET'S CUT TAXES FOR ALL.))
((STEVE COLECCHI/CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF RICHMOND: MANY POOR FAMILIES DO NOT OWN
AUTOMOBILES, OR THEY OWN AUTOMOBILES THAT ARE WORTH SO LITTLE THAT THEY PAY
VIRTUALLY NO PERSONAL PROPERTY TAX.))
Live=Ellen Full/State Microwave
We also heard more from some rural commissioners of the revenue today who
worry that eliminating the car tax won't benefit them the same way it will the
affluent localities in northern Virginia.
Double Boxes=Keith and Ellen/State Microwave
Clearly Keith, the policymakers and those affected have all accepted SOME
kind of car tax cut will take place under Jim Gilmore's watch next year.
The balance of power in Virginia's General Assembly faces another push today
from voters in Hampton Roads.
Chesapeake school board member Jim Wheaton takes on Delegate and state GOP
chairman Randy Forbes in a special election to fill the state senate seat of
Attorney General- elect Mark Earley.
IN Q=I think it's
((JIM WHEATON: I THINK IT'S GOING TO BE A GOOD FOR US.))
((DEL. RANDY FORBES: THE MAIN THING FOR US IS WE FEEL CONFIDENT THAT PEOPLE
....HOPEFULLY THEY'RE COMING.))
SUPER=01-Jim Wheaton/(D) State Senate Candidate; :00
SUPER=01-Del. Randy Forbes/(R) State Senate Candidate; :03
OUT Q=hopefully they're coming.
With less than five percent of registered voters in that region expected to
weigh in by 7 p-m, two or three thousand Virginians could decide which party
controls the evenly split state Senate.
Another busy day at Goodyear union headquarters in Danville
as union members decide whether to vote again on a company offer for a
seven-day work week.
The union originally rejected this offer, predicting a loss of overtime pay.
But members say layoffs, rumors of the plant shutting down, and pressure
from the community have changed some minds.
On Wall Street today, stable interest rates and a boost in high tech stocks
pushed the market higher.
TAKE DOW & NASDAQ PAGE
The DOW closed UP 54 points at 79-hundred 76.
NASDAQ gained almost 17 points.
[(a= 1/8 e= 1/4
b= 3/8 f= 1/2
c= 5/8 g= 3/4
h= UP (Local Stocks only!)
i= DOWN (Local Stocks only!)
u= UNCHANGED (Local Stocks only!)
(You must use lowercase letters)]
[ Bassett Fur/ Bedford Bancshares/Dimon]
[ ETS /Main Bankshares/ Optical Cable]
[Pulaski Furn./ Roanoke Electric Steel/Roanoke Gas]
[ Stanley Furniture/ Tultex/Valley Bank]
A Ridgeway teen's recent birthday was marred by the loss of a close friend,
a family pet.
Tina Tenret reports the teenager and his mother are now trying to find out
how and why it happened.
IN Q=Travis Smith
SUPER=07-Travis Smith; :12
SUPER=07-Debbie Smith; :30
OUT Q=TT, News7, Ridgeway
(( Travis Smith has cerebral palsy.
His best friend, a dog named Cleatis, always picked up Travis' cane for him
when he fell.
But on Travis' seventeenth birthday, Cleatis was shot to death.
IN Q=You feel like a part
((TRAVIS SMITH: YOU FEEL LIKE A PART OF YOU IS MISSING IN A WAY AND YOU WISH
YOU HAD HIM BACK BUT YOU KNOW HE'S NOT COMING BACK SO IT DON'T DO ANY GOOD.))
OUT Q=do any good
Travis and his mother Debbie think a hunter killed their dog -- they found
the animal lying on a creek bank near several tree stands.
IN Q=I would just like
((DEBBIE SMITH: I WOULD JUST LIKE FOR THIS TO TOUCH A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT HAVE
MAYBE NOT THOUGHT TWICE ABOUT TAKING A LIFE, OF ANYTHING, WHETHER IT'S A BIRD
OR A DOG. LOVE IS LOVE. THEY DO HAVE HEARTS, THEY DO HAVE PERSONALITY AND
THEY HAVE A RIGHT TO BE HERE AS WELL AS WE.))
OUT Q=as well as we
Debbie Smith always kept enough food and water within reach of the dog's
But early that birthday morning, she let the dog run free.
She says Cleatis probably ventured to the creek for a drink.
IN Q=I just don't think
((I JUST DON'T THINK WE'LL EVER GET OVER HIM. I DON'T KNOW, I CAN'T EVEN
EXPRESS WHAT MADE HIM SO SPECIAL. BUT I KNOW IN MY HEART IT COULDN'T POSSIBLY
BE HIS TIME TO GO. HE HAD SO MUCH MORE TO GIVE AND WE NEEDED HIM SO, CAUSE HE
CHEERED US ON EVERYDAY.))
On Cleatis' grave hangs a crystal -- The shafts of light that pass
through it are called sundogs.
Debbie Smith likes to think sundogs play with Cleatis now.
Tina Tenret, News7, Ridgeway))
Coming up tonight in sports, the Roanoke Express loses its general manager
Former Pulaski star hoopster Terri Garland lands a job with the lady Hokies.
And Jerry Rice's much celebrated comeback is cut short, as the all-pro
reinjures his left knee, and is lost for the season.
The Express will lose one of it's founding fathers at the end of this
Steve Mason has more on general Manager Pierre Paiement's resignation in
this week's Roundhouse Wrap up.
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"
The San Francisco 49ers perfect night by the Bay was ruined when Jerry Rice
reinjured his left knee last night.
At first it was thought to be only a bruise, but it is much worse.
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="It seems...
((STEVE MARIUCCI/49ERS HEAD COACH:))
SUPER=01-Steve Mariucci/49ers Head Coach; :00
OUT Q=...EXPLAINED TO ME."
Like all pro receivers these days, Rice does not wear knee pads in his pants,
but the injury was such a fluke, a pad may not have prevented the crack.
OUT Q=...HAS PITFALLS."
The Virginia Tech women's basketball team is reaching into its recent past to
fill out it's staff by hiring Terri Garland Johnsen.
Garland is replacing Lisa Leftwich one of her teammates on Tech's 1995 NCAA
Garland starred at Pulaski and then played point guard from 1992 through 95
for the Hokies.
Her position is that of administrative assistant to head coach Bonnie
Terri will continue working on her masters degree at Tech, as well.
GRAPHIC=HIGH SCHOOL HOOPS
The Salem Civic Center is again serving as the valley's hoop mecca tonight as
Patrick Henry and William Fleming renew their rivalry in a pre-Christmas
The girls game between the two schools just got started.
The varsity game tips off tonight at 7:30.
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;