He's having second thoughts.
Louis Ceparano says he didn't kill G-P Johnson, says he's not a racist.
He actually hopes to be released from prison one day, despite pleading guilty to robbery and murder.
A jail-house interview tonight on NEWS 7 at SIX.
Tonight in sports, the big Trebark pro-am archery tournament is underway in Franklin County, we'll take another look at Mark McGwire's latest feat.
Plus, Jeff Gordon brushes the outside wall during qualifying today but still wins the pole for the Pocono 500 in Pennsylvania.
Showers push through early today, paving the way for a sunny, hot & humid forecast for Father's Day weekend. We'll also check in with Robin Reed in St. Louis.
[SOT at 14:23:04]
[IN Q=It's hot and]
[OUT Q=be back]
[Talent=Keith 3 shot set]
News 7 at Six is next.
[TAPE#98-32 TC 1:17:21]
Now that he's serving two life sentences without parole, Louis Ceparano is having second thoughts about his plea in the Garnett "GP" Johnson murder case.
Johnson, a former Marine, was burned and beheaded last summer in Grayson County.
[Double Boxes=Keith and Teresa/Microwave]
Teresa Hamilton spoke with Ceparano by phone and joins us from our Blacksburg newsroom.
Keith-- Ceparano wants people to know he's NOT a violent person and he considered Johnson a friend.
He also believes he acted hastily when he agreed to enter an Alford plea, which guaranteed him life in prison over a possible death sentence.
[IN Q=They said]
[SUPER=01-Jimmy Turk/Ceparano's Attorney; :40]
[SUPER=03-Independence/File Tape; 1:00]
[OUT Q=along okay outside.]
[IN Q=They said]
((LOUIS CEPARANO/CONVICTED MURDERER:THEY SAID, YOU KNOW, IF I HAD BEEN FOUND GUILTY THAT IT WAS A GREAT POSSIBILITY THAT THE JURY WOULD WANT TO SEEK THE DEATH PENALTY AND YOU KNOW, HOW COULD I FEEL ABOUT THAT WITH HAVING, YOU KNOW, MY CHILDREN SURVIVING, AND HOW MUCH THAT WOULD HURT THEM, YOU KNOW, IF THEIR FATHER WAS PUT TO DEATH, SO I GUESS THAT KIND OF HIT MY EMOTIONAL SPOT AND I AGREED TO IT.))
[OUT Q=agreed to it.]
Ceparano says he doesn't blame his attorneys--who themselves say Ceparano's family also encouraged the deal.
[IN Q=His ex-wife]
((JIMMY TURK/CEPARANO'S ATTORNEY: HIS EX-WIFE DID IN FACT TELL US THAT SHE FELT THAT THE CHILDREN WOULD BE ABLE TO LIVE WITH THE FACT THAT THEIR FATHER HAD RECEIVED A SENTENCE OF LIFE IN PRISON BUT SHE FELT LIKE THE CHILDREN WOULD HAVE ABSOLUTELY BEEN DEVASTATED, IT WOULD HAVE ABSOLUTELY DESTROYED THEM, HAD THEIR FATHER EVER RECEIVED THE DEATH PENALTY. ))
[OUT Q=death penalty.]
Ceparano now believes he could have beaten the robbery charge-- and avoided two life terms.
He denies burning and beheading "GP" Johnson last summer-- pointing the finger at co-defendant Emmett Cressell, Junior.
But he does admit he was drinking heavily and taking prescription drugs that night.
He also strongly denies being a racist and continues to hold out hope he will one day be free.
[IN Q=That hurts]
((LOUIS CEPARANO/CONVICTED MURDERER: THAT HURTS, REALLY BAD, NOT BEING ABLE TO, I MEAN, I HAD A FAIRLY NICE PLACE, THE HOME I HAD AND, IT HURTS A LOT THAT I CAN'T, YOU KNOW, EXCEL EVEN IN MY OLDER AGE, THAT I CAN'T PARTICIPATE IN SOCIETY, I MEAN, I GOT ALONG OKAY OUTSIDE. ))
[OUT Q=ok outside.]
Ceparano's attorney, Bobby Turk, says it's only natural that his former client would have second thoughts but doubts that anything can be done about it.
[Double Boxes=Keith and Teresa/Microwave]
(Teresa, what are Ceparano's options?)[Partial-Birth]
[TAPE#98-48 TC 16:13]
Negotiations over Virginia's newest abortion law have fallen through tonight.
The Virginia Attorney General's office was negotiating toward a "temporary settlement" on the July first enactment of the ban on so-called partial birth abortions.
Neither the Attorney General's office or the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy will say what points of the law were negotiable.
In his last court filing, Attorney General Mark Earley blasted the challenge to the new law, writing:
"Defeated by the democratic process, they now conjure spurious constitutional claims as they press for a judicial veto of the new law..."
"...they feign an inability to understand the law, denigrating as vague language the American Medical Association has praised as clear."
Despite those words, Earley may fear the law leaves open a situation like what happened in Wisconsin.
In that state, prosecutors did NOT enforce the parts of the law they thought were vague.[Strickler]
[TAPE#=98-39 TC 1:06:49]
Convicted killer Tommy Strickler's bid for a new trial was short-lived.
Last October a judge nullified Strickler's conviction in the abduction and murder of a 19 year old Roanoke woman in Augusta County.
The judge ruled prosecution evidence was improperly withheld from his lawyers.
But now a three judge panel of the Fourth U-S Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed that decision.
The appeals court judges said Strickler's lawyers had enough
The panel said by not raising the issue in state court, Strickler is barred from raising it now.
Dennis Eaton was pronounced dead at 9:09 last night, in Virginia's execution chamber.
But Virginians may NOT have heard the last of his execution and the four person killing spree that brought him there.
That's because of the high profile of one of his victim's sisters-- who fought to spare the killer's life.
[IN Q=I will]
((MARIA HINES/SLAIN TROOPER'S SISTER:
I WILL NOT DO ANYTHING TO PROFIT FROM MY BROTHER'S DEATH. AND IF THAT WERE TO HAPPEN, THEN I WOULD DECIDE WHERE THAT MONEY WOULD GO. TO SOME CHARITABLE CAUSE.))
[SUPER=01-Maria Hines/Slain Trooper's Sister;]
[OUT Q=charitable cause.]
A video crew for the human rights group Amnesty International documented last night's execution.
[TAPE#=98-46 TC 19:36]
The strike in Michigan that has shut down General Motors production lines across the county has hit southwest Virginia.
The Kingston-Warren plant in Wythe County is running a reduced schedule with just 50 people.
Some 180 workers have been laid off for ten days now; a plant spokesman says he has no idea when they might be recalled.
The company makes rubber seals for car doors and windows and is a main supplier for GM.
[HARD MUSIC UNDER]
Some Hill City firefighters say they're fighting manpower shortages as well as fires--and public safety may be jeopardized. We have more on that just ahead--
Also coming up on News 7 at Six-- these guys are NOT perched on a float in the Rose Bowl Parade.
We'll tell you what they ARE up to....but first a look at weather.
[wx ad lib]
[MUSIC UP FULL]
[TAPE#=98-45 TC 30:38]
The oldest house in Roanoke may stay standing after all -- if a buyer comes forward.
This two-story log cabin, built around 1800, is due to be dismantled by July second.
But contractor Paul Levi says he will wait a week to take it down.
In the meantime he says he's accepting offers to buy the cabin.
Only today -- he found a card from a hotel, dated 1827, wedged between the logs.
[IN Q=Our heart is]
((KEN GREENE/CONTRACTOR: OUR HEART IS PRESERVING EARLY AMERICA ... THERE'S NO MORE.))
[OUT Q=there's no more]
Crews are currently clearing debris from the cabin, as historians record all the information they can from the logs.
[TAPE#98-42 TC 40:42]
For years, the Lynchburg Fire Department has had to constantly shift personnel to accomodate for manpower shortages, but now recent changes in federal law have made the problem worse.
Firefighters are worried that Hill City residents will soon be paying the price.
Steve Smalshaw reports.
[IN Q=Federal law now]
[SUPER=03-Lynchburg/File Tape; :00]
[SUPER=01-Mike Hagar/L'burg Firefighters Assoc'n; :19]
[SUPER=01-Fred Mills/Lynchburg Fire Chief; :48]
[OUT Q=News7, Lynchburg.]
(( Federal law now requires at least two firefighters to be OUTSIDE a burning building before two others can go in and start extinguishing the blaze.
The problem is Lynchburg only puts THREE firefighters on each engine.. the first crew to arrive then has to wait for backup before making an interior attack.
[IN Q=Our job is]
((MIKE HAGAR/L'BURG FIREFIGHTERS ASSOCIATION: OUR JOB IS BASED IN MINUTES. THE QUICKER WE CAN GET THERE, THE QUICKER WE CAN HELP PEOPLE AND MINIMIZE EITHER INJURY OR FIRE LOSS.))
[OUT Q=or fire loss.]
Another problem is city firefighters have amassed 16- thousand hours of comp time.. giving people the day off forces equipment like these squad trucks to be put out of service.
According to an outside consultant's report one solution would be the purchase of five "quints"... a combination of both a ladder and pumper truck.
But fire chief Fred Mills says unless you also add more people, quints may not be the answer.
[IN Q=In the city]
((FRED MILLS/LYNCHBURG FIRE CHIEF: IN THE CITY THE SIZE OF LYNCHBURG, IF WE HAD EIGHT QUINTS IN SERVICE FOR INSTANCE, ONE AT EACH FIRE STATION, A TYPICAL FIRST ALARM ASSIGNMENT WOULD TAKE HALF OF OUR ON-DUTY RESOURCES.))
[OUT Q=on-duty resources.]
[IN Q=The bottom line]
((The bottom line, according to the fire department, is they need more money and more manpower. The city appears willing to listen. A task force will be appointed to study the problem and hopefully come up with some solutions in the next few months. Steve Smallshaw, News7, Lynchburg.))
[OUT Q=News7, Lynchburg.]))
The stock market was mixed in heavy trading.
[TAKE DOW & NASDAQ PAGE ]
The Dow dropped 100 points to finish the week at 87 hundred 13.
NASDAQ gained almost nine points.
[ AE /ATT /Bell/Columbia/Crestar;]
[Dana/Dimon/Dominion Resources/First Union/First VA]
[General Electric/Kroger/Nationsbank/Norfolk Southern/Optical Cable]
[phillip morris/roanoke electric steel/trigon/wachovia/walmart]
[TAPE#=98-40 TC 1:06:03]
[GRAPHIC=Smith Mountain Lake]
A water amusement park is about to open at Smith Mountain Lake.
Waterworld is scheduled to open by June 30th.
It will feature a go-Kart track with Nascar model cars and a bumper boat pool.
[IN Q=There's not a lot]
((CRAIG CARON/DEVELOPER: THERE'S NOT A LOT RECREATION WISE ... AND FAMILY ORIENTED.))
[OUT Q= and family oriented]
For now, Caron is targetting a mostly local market.
But he says next summer, he will add two water slides and a 300-foot wave pool to attract tourists from farther away.
So far, Caron has spent 700-thousand-dollars on the park.
[TAPE#98-31 TC 1:40]
Sometimes a perfectly good dry-day idea becomes almost unworkable when Nature's elements don't co-operate.
The idea was a promotional event for Roanoke radio station W-J-L-M.
Three guys sit in Lazy-Boy-type recliners all day perched on top of a hydraulic lift.
Then the guys get to take the chairs home for Father's Day.
((IT'S A WAY TO SPEND A DAY OFF. IF YOU'RE GOING TO PLAY HOOKY FROM WORK, YOU MIGHT AS WELL HAVE SOMETHING WILD TO DO.))
[OUT Q=wild to so.]
[* * * Keith on ENG * * *]
A passing thunderstorm made it even wilder than Bristol bargained for.
An on-looker at the gas pumps below feared they were too close to the powers lines.
((Some people will do anything for something free, I think, you know? I AIN'T THAT DESPERATE YET. On a nice day it would be crazy. OH YEAH. IT WAS NICE THIS MORNING. SO A LITTLE RAIN WON'T HURT US.))
[SUPER=07-David Scoggins; :05]
[OUT Q=won't hurt us.]
All they needed was a T-V, a cooler- -and a decent day to sit outside.
Well, you can't have everything.
Coming up tonight in sports, Gordon hits the wall in qualifying and still wins the pole, the US Open play continues out west, and
Roy Stanley checks in from Franklin County where the arrows were flying during teh opening day of the annual Trebark Pro Am.
The Winston Cup cars are in Pennsylvania this weekend for the Pocono 500.
And today in qualifying Jeff Gordon and Rusty Wallace, adversaries at Richmond, nailed down the top two starting spots for Sunday's race.
[SUPER=03-Pocono, PA/SpeedVision; :00]
45 cars qualified this afternoon but Gordon was unbeatable.
He won the pole with a lap at 168 point 042 miles an hour, and he did so despite brushing the wall with his right quarter panel.
[IN Q="Thisis half...]
[SUPER=01-Jeff Gordon/Pocono 500 Pole Winner; :00]
[OUT Q=...for you."]
Rick Mast made the top 25 putting the Remington Ford in the 24th sapot.
Here's a look at the first round drivers who also made it.
[WIPE TO MOTION]
[SUPER=0107-1. Jeff Gordon/168.042/2. Rusty Wallace//3. Jeremy Mayfield//4. Ken Schrader//5. Ward Burton//;]
[SUPER=0107-6. Mark Martin//7. Joe Nemechek//8. Ted Musgrave//9. Dale Jarrett//10. Chad Little//;]
[SUPER=0107-11. Dale Earnhadt//12. Terry Labonte//13. Kenny Wallace//14. Wally Dallenbach//15. Sterling Marlin//;]
[SUPER=0107-16. Bobby Hamilton//17. Kyle Petty//18. Darrell Waltrip//19. John Andretti//20. Mike Skinner//;]
[SUPER=0107-21. Dick Trickle//22. Bill Elliott//23. Bobby Labonte//24. Rick Mast//25. Hut Stricklin//;]
[OUT Q=... LAST DRIVER."]
The second round of the US Open on the treacherous Olympic Club course in San Francisco continues at this hour.
[SUPER=03-San Francisco, CA/NBC; :00]
Already today some magnificent shots have been hit on the course out by the Bay.
Take a look at defending champ Ernie Els, who struggled badly yesterday score the eagle from the fairway today on the 10th hole.
Matt Kuchar, the amateur from Georgia Tech is still smoking. He's at one under for the tournament thanks in part to this ship in on the 15th hole.
And take a look at Nick Price's third shot on the first hole of the day bounce and bump and run its way into the hole for yet another eagle.
Jeff Maggert is tied for the clubhouse lead at this time with a 2 under par score along with Bob Tway.
Payne Stewart is still on the course and five under through 8 holes.
Tiger Woods is still on the course and right now he's at eight over par through six holes and is in jeopardy of making the cut.
Some of the best archers in the world are in Franklin County this weekend for the Trebark Pro/Am Championship.
The event draws amateurs as well as pros. Roy Stanley has more.
[IN Q="Before the..]
[SUPER=03-Franklin Co.; :00]
[SUPER=01-Bradley Taylor/Archer; :17]
[SUPER=01-Jeff Hopkins/1997 World Champion; :41]
[OUT Q=...news 7 sports."]
((Before the weekend is over, 12-hundred archers from all over the world are expected to compete in the event.
The archers will shoot at 3-d targerts as well as the challenge pop and walk out target system.))
((Jeff Hopkins, the 1997 world champion, learned to shoot at the age of 9. He's competed in this tournament the last three years. And it was a very important stop on his quest for the championship he won last year.))
((JEFF HOPKINS/1997 WORLD CHAMPION:))
((Hopkins finished third in this event last year. A strong showing could help him in his goal to repeat as the World champion.))
The Mark McGwire watch in the big leagues continues this weekend as he continues to close in on 40
[SUPER=03-Houston, TX/Last Night; :00]
homers before the all-star break.
Last night in Houston, McGwire hit his 33nd homer of the year against the Astros.
The blast went into the upper deck in left field.
The rocket shot was measured at over 450 feet.
[TAPE#=98-54 TC 9:49]
Meterologists from around the country have gathered in Saint Louis this week, gathering the latest information on weather trends. Our own Robin Reed is there and filed this report for us.
[IN Q=From the gateway]
[SUPER=03-St. Louis, MO; :19]
[SUPER=01-James Baker/NOAA; :42]
[OUT Q=this weekend]
[WIPE WIPE WIPE]
[SUPER=330-Cloudy/Evening Showers/63-66/Partly Sunny/& Hot/85-88;]
[SUPER=331-Evening Showers/Mostly Cloudy/64-68/Sunny/& Hot/87-90;]
[SUPER=332-Partly Cloudy/Showers & Storms/60-63/Mostly Sunny/& Hot/84-87;]
[SUPER=333-Cloudy/Showers Ending/60-64/Partly Sunny/Quite Warm/83-86;]
[SUPER=334-Partly Cloudy/Patchy Fog/60-63/Mostly Sunny/& Warm/82-85;]