The verdict is in... in the Abed racketeering case.
We'll hear from some of those acquitted- -from the prosecutor- -and get an explanation from the jury foreman on what took so long... 11 days in deliberation.
And Dr. Kevorkian helps a Roanoke woman commit suicide in Michigan.
Tonight in sports, the ACC tournament rolls on a Maryland and North Carolina advance to the semi-finals.
Roy Stanley checks in from the State wrestling tournaments at the Salem Civic Center.
And practice and qualifying turned out to be a little too exciting for rookie Steve Park who broke his leg during a wreck at Atlanta this afternoon.
A Cloudy weekend is on tap-- and the extended forecast promises a return to winter.
Forecast details coming up.[Abed]
[**Note Anchor Tag**]
They won some; they lost some.
Both sides got something to brag about in the Abed racketeering case.
It was not a slam-dunk for the government- -but only three of the nine defendants walked free.
[IN Q=I'm innocent]
[SUPER=01-Riyadh Gibriel/Acquitted Defendant;:16]
[SUPER=03-Salem/April 2, 1994; :08]
[SUPER=01-Ahmad Thiab/Acquitted Defendant;:23]
[SUPER=01-David Damico/Abed Jamil Abdeljalil's Atty;1:21 quick]
[SUPER=01-William Moore/Jury Foreman;1:49]
[OUT Q=of emotion.]
(((( I'M INNOCENT. I TOLD THEM FOUR YEARS AGO.))
Four years ago Riyadh Gibriel managed a restaurant and lounge that was destroyed in a spectacular fire in Salem.
He lost his business and then state, local and eventually FEDERAL authorities began investigating him for arson and insurance fraud.
((Why did the federal government go after you?
BECAUSE I'M ARAB ORIGINALLY. I'M A U.S. CITIZEN, BUT ORIGINALLY I'M ARAB.))
((IT'S A QUESTION OF RACISM. BECAUSE WE ARE ARAB THEY PUT US TOGETHER.))
Ahmad Thiab was Gibriel's partner at Mixers.
Though he was acquitted, this Iraqi native is still bitter about being lumped in with the Abed's.
((I AM STILL VERY BITTER. IT WAS AN UNFAIR ACCUSATION IN THE FIRST PLACE. THE GOVERNMENT KNOWS FOR A FACT THAT WE ARE NOT ASSOCIATED WITH THE ABED FAMILY.))
[ 13:37:35 racism]
((I THINK THAT'S ABSOLUTE BULL.))
The prosecutor said Thiab and Gibriel were lucky to have been charged with members of a racketeering conspiracy
((COMPARED TO THEM THEY LOOKED LIKE BUSINESSMEN AS OPPOSED TO THUGS OUT COMMITTING VIOLENT CRIMES.))
Joe Abbott WAS convicted on four of the 12 counts in which he was charged.
But not all the racketeering suspects were convicted. Abed Jamil Abdeljalil praised his attorney and in turn won the applause of family members as he was released from jail this afternoon.
((I ALWAYS HAD HAD CONFIDENCE THAT ABED WAS INNOCENT.))
[ STANDUP 14:05:58]
((AFTER DELIBERATING FOR 11 DAYS IN THIS CASE, THE JURY WAS IN NO HURRY TO LEAVE THE COURTHOUSE. IN FACT THEY WENT BACK IN THE COURTROOM, AFTER ALL THE PARTIES AND LAWYERS HAD LEFT, TO HAVE THEIR PICTURE TAKEN WITH JUDGE SAM WILSON.))
When the jury finally left, the foreman said the time jurors spent in federal court was a positive experience.
(( I THINK EVERYBODY, EVEN THE LAWYERS EXPECTED YOU BACK IN A DAY OR TWO- -OR NO MORE THAN THREE OR FOUR IS THAT UNREALISTIC.
IT IS UNREALISTIC, BECAUSE WE WOULD HAVE HAD TO DO A LOT OF HIP-SHOOTING -WHAM-BAM-THANK YOU MA'M TYPE OF THINKING.))
To the contrary, said this retired Army Captain from Campbell County. The verdict was reached without haste, without any shouting or expressions of emotion.))
[DISSOLVE TO FULLSCREEN/WDBJ HOMEPAGE ADDRESS]
You can find the Abed verdict on the WDBJ homepage--at w-d-b-j 7 dot com.[Kevorkian]
Doctor Jack Kevorkian has apparently assisted in the death of a Roanoke woman.
The woman has not yet been identified. She was 61 years old and apparently suffered from rheumatoid arthritis.
Her body and the body of a 42 year old man from Boston, Massachusetts, were both left at two hospitals in the Detroit area last night.
Both had died from lethal injections.
Kevorkian has assisted in at least 80 deaths since 19-90.
The decision to suspend four Pulaski County elementary students for passing out and eating vitamins at school may anger some parents.
But they're not getting much sympathy from the county's highest ranking school official.
The incident happened Tuesday at Snowville Elementary School.
Superintendent Bill Asbury says the school system has a strict policy that forbids students from possessing over the counter medication.
Asbury says school officials feel vitamins fall into that category.
[IN Q=We don't]
((BILL ASBURY/PULASKI CO. SUPERINTENDENT: WE DON'T WANT SUBSTANCES BEING BROUGHT IN TO SCHOOL, AND DISTRIBUTED TO OTHER CHILDREN BY OTHER CHILDREN, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, IT COULD CAUSE A HARMFUL EFFECT. ))
[SUPER=01-Bill Asbury/Pulaski Co. Superintendent; :00]
[OUT Q=harmful effect.]
Asbury says the policy spells out that students who bring substances to school will be subject to suspension.
He says the school system NEVER considered expelling any of the children.
One Virginia Senator thinks school boards have "run amok" in the drug fight.
((SEN. DICK SASLAW/D-SPRINGFIELD: UNFORTUNATELY, KIDS ARE BEING SUSPENDED FOR ADVIL, FOR BUYING A BAG -- A KID BROUGHT A BAG OF PARSLEY TO SCHOOL AND THEY SAID IT COULD HAVE LOOKED LIKE A BAG OF MARIJUANA. HE GOT THROWN OUT AND EVEN HAD TO CHANGE SCHOOLS. THE GIRL THAT HAD THE ADVIL, SHE AND HER PARENTS WERE TOLD THEY HAD TO GO TO DRUG COUNSELING. AND NOW I FIND OUT THAT SOMEBODY HAS BEEN SUSPENDED IN PULASKI FOR BRINGING A BOTTLE OF VITAMINS TO SCHOOL.))
[SUPER=01-Sen. Dick Saslaw/(D) Springfield;]
[OUT Q=to school.]
So Saslaw has a bill that's passed the Senate and goes before a House committee Monday.
It would direct school boards to allow "mere possession of medically necessary, non-prescription drugs, with the permission of parents."
But under the bill, students could NOT give those drugs to other students.[Rainbow-Bakery]
Despite the concern of some employees, there is no evidence of asbestos contamination at Roanoke's Rainbow Bakery.
That's according to Mark Dirkes, an executive with the company that owns the bakery.
Dirkes says federal inspectors looked through the bakery today and found NO asbestos problems.
There will be additional testing.
This is not the first time the bakery has been inspected because of asbestos contamination concerns.
The government opened a case file on the bakery late last year, but found no major problems. It was noted that the bakery had not properly labelled asbestos and had not properly informed employees of the presence of asbestos.
[HARD MUSIC UNDER]
It's called block scheduling--students spend longer periods of time studying one subject. They're thinking about switching to it at one area high school, and we'll tell you more coming up on News 7 at Six.
And the News 7 Weather Center has a new home away from home--a new exhibit at the Science Museum of Western Virginia.
Robin Reed will give us a tour later, but first let's check in with Andrew Freiden.
[wx ad lib]
[MUSIC UP FULL]
[SUPER=82-0.00''/minus 0.60''/15.97''/plus 9.71'';]
[SUPER=83-Down 0.67 foot/Down 1.69 feet;Lake levels][L'burg-Plane]
A Lynchburg man says there wasn't time to be scared when he was forced to crash land his plane in Campbell County yesterday afternoon.
Stewart Hobbs and two other men were flying to North Carolina, when the engine in their Beechcraft failed.
Two minutes later the plane was on the ground, and all three men had walked away from the crash.
[IN Q=And in this]
((STEWART HOBBS/PILOT: AND IN THIS CASE I WAS JUST SO BUSY GETTING THAT PLANE DOWN INTO A FIELD THAT THERE WASN'T TIME TO BE FRIGHTENED. NOW WE ALL GOT OUT AND I THINK WE SORT OF WALKED AROUND IN CIRCLES, INDIVIDUALLY, TRYING TO CALM DOWN A LITTLE BIT.))
[SUPER=01-Stewart Hobbs/Pilot; :00]
[OUT Q=a little bit.]
Hobbs suffered a cut above his right eye that required ten stitches.
The plane was a total loss.
A leaking oil line is being blamed for the accident.
The F-A-A is investigating.
A long term plan to bring thousands of jobs to the New River Valley is on hold for another year.
But project supporters remain optimistic.
Teresa Hamilton has this update.
[SUPER=03-Pulaski Co.; :00]
[SUPER=01-Stuart Gilbert/NRV Economic Dev. Alliance; :18]
[SUPER=01-David Rundgren/NRV Planning District; :36]
[OUT Q=NEWS 7, Pulaski Co.]
(( Plans to build an industrial park on a THOUSAND or more acres adjacent to the New River Valley airport have been talked about for years.
From a development standpoint-- the site-- is ideal.
It's relatively flat, has rail and interstate access-- not to mention accessibility to water and sewer.
[IN Q=What this]
((STUART GILBERT/NRV ECONOMIC DEV. ALLIANCE: WHAT THIS DOES FOR SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA, IT ALLOWS ALL THE OTHER 14 INDUSTRIAL PARKS IN THE NEW RIVER VALLEY TO OBTAIN SUPPLIERS TO A MAJOR COMPANY THAT WOULD COME IN.))
[OUT Q=come in.]
Supporters would like to snag a major manufacturer that would offer thousands of high tech, high paying jobs.
[IN Q=It may be]
((DAVID RUNDGREN/NRV PLANNING DISTRICT:IT MAY BE A COMPUTER CHIP COMPANY, OR THOSE KINDS OF COMPANY THAT HAVE LOTS OF INVESTMENT IN THEIR TOOLS OF TRADE. ))
[OUT Q=tools of trade.]
What makes this project unique is that the state has allowed other areas to invest and profit.
So far-- 16 jurisdictions-- are interested.
To get the land ready-- will cost anywhere from 35- to 40 million dollars.
This term-- Senator Bo Trumbo was unsuccessful in securing senate funds.
But he's holding out hope from another source.
[IN Q=The house]
((SEN. BO TRUMBO/R-FINCASTLE:THE HOUSE HAS SEEN A DIFFERENT LIGHT ON THE BUDGET, THEY'VE APPROACHED IT IN A DIFFERENT WAY, THEY STILL HAVE THREE MILLION DOLLARS IN THE HOUSE BUDGET. ))
[OUT Q=house budget.]
Regardless of what happens--project supporters hope to make progress April ninth.
That's when officials from the different localities are scheduled to come together to share new information and ideas.
Teresa Hamilton, NEWS 7, Pulaski County.))[Stocks]
With a big push today, Wall Street more than recovered yesterday's sharp losses.
[TAKE DOW & NASDAQ PAGE ]
The Dow gained 125 points to finish the week at 85 hundred 69.
NASDAQ was UP 41 points.
Would longer class periods help Botetourt County high school students?
Superintendent Jack Thomas thinks so -- he wants to spend an extra 220 thousand dollars to switch to a block schedule in 1999.
Students would take four classes a semester, then switch to another four classes the following semester.
Each class period would last an extra forty minutes.
Thomas says this would allow students to take an extra two classes a year and meet new state requirements.
He also says longer classes would mean less time spent in the halls and more contact between teacher and students.
Some students we talked to today predict the idea will fail.
[IN Q=I'm against block]
((BECCA DEPPENSMITH: I'M AGAINST BLOCK SCHEDULES BECAUSE I THINK TWO HOURS IS AN AWFUL LONG TIME FOR A STUDENT TO SIT IN CLASS AND APPLY THEMSELVES TO THE INFORMATION. HEAVY CLASSES LIKE A-P CLASSES OR CHEMISTRY CAN BE REALLY TOUGH FOR A STUDENT TO SIT THERE AND GET IN ALL THE INFORMATION THEY NEED TO.))
[OUT Q=they need to]
The superintendent says the 220 thousand dollar figure represents the cost of hiring more teachers to teach block schedules.
If you can't read and read well, you'll have trouble getting by in life. That's the message behind March as "Reading Month" at one Pittsylvania County school.
[IN Q=If you have to dry]
((PAT BRACHMAN/RETIRED TEACHER: IF YOU HAVE TO DRY THE DISHES AND YOU DROP ONE ON THE FLOOR, MAYBE THEY WON'T LET YOU DRY THE DISHES ANYMORE (LAUGH).))
[SUPER=01-Pat Brachman/Retired Teacher;]
[OUT Q=the dishes anymore (laugh).]
Students at Dan River Middle School heard poetry and dramatic readings today from retired teachers.
The assembly kicked off a month-long list of activities aimed at getting the kids excited about books.
Teachers are encouraging these fifth, sixth, and seventh graders to read in school, at home, anywhere they can.
March was chosen as "Reading Month" in honor of Doctor Suess's birthday.
Coming up tonight in sports, ACC highlights from the quarterfinals and Maryland Carolina advance.
We'll check on qualifying from Atlanta.
And Roy Stanley checks in from the state wrestling tournaments at the Salem Civic Center with an inspirational story for us all.
We begin tonight down at the Atlanta Motor Speedway where qualifying was overshadowed by a wicked wreck during practice.
[SUPER=03-Hampton, GA/espn2; :00]
Rookie of the year candidate, Steve Park, driving the Dale Earnhardt owned Pennzoil Chevrolet was exiting turn four when his car slammed into the outside wall.
The car hit the outside wall two more times before it headed left through the trioval. The puddles of rain slowed it a bit in the grass, but the car still crashed into the pit wall.
It took 15 minutes to cut Park out of the car. He has a broken femur in his right leg and is being treated at Baptist Hospital.
Here's your top 25.
[WIPE TO CHYRON BOARDS]
[SUPER=0107-1. John Andretti/192.956/2. Todd Bodine//3. Dick Trickle//4. Dale Jarrett//5. Kenny Irwin//;]
[SUPER=107-6. Mark Martin//7. Robert Pressley//8. Terry Labonte//9. Jeff Gordon//10. Jeff Burton//;]
[SUPER=107-11. Jimmy Spencer//12. Wally Dallenbach//13. Lake Speed//14. Bobby Labonte//15. Johnny Benson//;]
[SUPER=107-16. Mike Skinner//17. Ward Burton//18. Geoff Bodine//19. Derrike Cope//20. Gary Bradberry;]
[SUPER=107-21. Joe Nemechek//22. Rusty Wallace//23. Ricky Rudd//24. Kenny Wallace//25. Rick Mast//;]
Todd Bodine's outside pole run is amazing considering he hadn't qualified any of the first three races this year.
Earnhardt was 30th and Elliott 31st.[S-ACC]
The Terrapins and Tarheels have joined the Blue Devils in the semi-finals of the 45th ACC tournament down in Greensboro.
[SUPER=03-Greensboro, NC/Raycom-JP; :00]
In the opening quarterfinal game of the day this afternoon, Maryland beat Georgia Tech 83-to-65 as Laron Profit scored 19 points.
The Terps held Matt Harpring to just 8 of 30 shooting as they advance to meet North Carolina.
[SUPER=04-Tarheels vs. Wolfpack;]
The Tarheels turned a three point first half lead into a 27 point win over N.C. State this afternoon.
Antawn Jamison led the way with 25 points and everyone played and contributed as the Heels win it 73-to-46.
[wipe to pinnacle page[S-Tonite]
[PINNACLE FULL SCREEN]
Coming up later tonight the ACC action resumes with the final quarterfinal game of the day as Wake Forest battles Clemson at seven o'clock right here on WDBJ-7.
The Virginia High school league state basketball tournaments begin tonight for two area teams.
Glenvar plays Haysi in the Single A quarterfinals down at the Dedmon Center in a 6:30 tip.
And at the Vines Center in Lynchburg, Liberty hosts Graham in a Double A quarterfinal game.
Highlights from both contests tonight at 11.[S-Express]
The Express is in South Carolina tonight for a non divisional game against the Sting Rays.
Roanoke is in the midst of a three game losing streak that the Express will try and snap tonight. The 34-19 and 6 Express has 11 games remaining and must focus it's attention on each opponent and forget the outside distractions that have affected the team of late.
[IN Q="I think]
((FRANK ANZALONE/EXPRESS HEAD COACH:))
[SUPER=01-Frank Anzalone/Express Head Coach; :00]
[OUT Q=...take the thing"]
The Group A and Two A state wrestling is underway at the Salem Civic Center.
And Roy Stanley says for one wrestling its his final chance to fulfill a dream of placing in the state Tournament.
[IN Q=First audio]
[SUPER=01-Rory Benson/Botetourt Head Coach; :17]
[SUPER=01-Matt Hall/140 Pound Wrestler; :24]
[SUPER=01-Kevin Dresser/Christiansburg Head Coach; :30]
[OUT Q=......news 7 sports."]
((The civic center floor was full of wrestlers warming up for this weekends event.
And right in the middle was Botetourt wrestler Matt Hall.
Forget that Hall, who competes at 140 pounds, has no legs he's one of the top competitors in the Blue Ridge District.))
((RORY BENSON/BOTETOURT HEAD COACH: ))
((MATT HALL/140 POUND WRESTLER: ))
((KEVIN DRESSER/CHRISTIANSBURG HEAD COACH: ))
((Hall is 24 and 7 this year. And four of his losses were to the same guy.
But Hall a two time runner up in the regionals, has directed all his energy to this years state tournament and he has a legitimate shot at placing a goal he set at the beginning of the season.))
((ROY STANDUP: ))
(Andrew Ad lib)
...Are you wondering where Robin is?
[IN Q=actually, we're...]
[OUT Q=saturday at 10 AM]
[SUPER=330-Clouds &/Patchy Drizzle/35-39/Clouds &/Scattered Showers/48-52;]
[SUPER=331-Cloudy With/Sprinkles Possible/35-39/Cloudy With/Periods of Rain/50-55;]
[SUPER=332-Clouds With/Scattered Drizzle/33-37/Rain & Drizzle/Possible/45-49;]
[SUPER=333-Clouds &/Sprinkles/35-39/Clouds &/Scattered Showers/48-52;]
[SUPER=X5001;][SUPER=334-Clouds/& Drizzle/33-37/Clouds &/Rain/47-49;]