The verdict is in ...in a murder case loosely linked to a fatal rooming house fire in Roanoke. No clue on who set the fire- -but the murder suspect is a free man tonight.
Details on all that coming right up on NEWS 7 at SIX.
And another heart-rending story involving the maternity ward at the U-V-a Medical Center.
Tonight on News 7 sports, we'll check in with the surging Ferrum Panthers, the some to be set Roanoke Express, and a
hall of fame bound high school football coach.
And Frank Beamer hopes to be on winning side of the postgame handshake tonight after the Hokies battle Boston College.
Hefty rainfall amounts over the last 24 hours. The numbers and the forecast coming up next.
[SUPER=#4054; News 7 at Six Headline Banner]
A stunning surprise in a Roanoke murder trial tonight.
A Roanoke jury found Willie Caldwell NOT guilty on all counts.
Witnesses in the room right after it happened, said the 38-year old suspect had stood over Kevin Jones with gun in hand and asked him how it felt to know he was going to die.
Caldwell was acquitted a little more than an hour ago.
Joe Dashiell is at the courthouse with the latest developments.
( ad lib)
(Rollcue: a complicated and difficult case.)
[IN Q=We the jury]
[SUPER=02-Judge Robert Doherty; :00]
[SUPER=01-Steve Milani/Caldwell's Attorney; :24 QUICK!!]
[SUPER=01-Mable Jones/Victim's Mother; :30]
[OUT Q=I want you to know this.]
( ad lib)
This was a bizarre day in court... even before the trial ended in acquittal.
[SUPER=01-Stephenie Miller/Defendant's Girlfriend;]
[SUPER=04-May 18; ]
[SUPER=01-Willie Caldwell/Murder Defendant;]
[OUT Q=pistol whip me.]
First: a jail-house snitch testified for the Commonwealth. Then Caldwell took the stand in his own defense.
By the time the jury began deliberating, the judge had revoked bond for the defendant ...before the last witness was called.
It was undisputed that Kevin Jones and another man beat Caldwell three days before the shooting. Caldwell suffered a dislocated shoulder.
A girlfriend of his testified the assailants threatened worse.
[IN Q=They was yelling]
[OUT Q=we have to.]
Someone DID set fire to the rooming house at 502 Church Avenue- -though another witness to the earlier incident insisted in court that NO threats were made.
Steve Garrity- -the jail-house snitch- -came forward with a 23-page log of telephone calls he overheard Caldwell make from the jail.
He made Caldwell sound like a stone-cold killer who said it was "good" that one of his neighbors died in the fire because the man knew Caldwell planned to kill him anyway.
Caldwell apparently convinced the jury that Jones started the fight and that the gun went off in the midst of a struggle over the weapon.
[IN Q=He had it]
[OUT Q=whip me.]
The University of Virginia hospital has re-hired an Atlanta public relations firm after the third public disclosure this year of a baby mix-up.
In the latest case, a miscarried fetus was separated from the placenta-- and only the placenta turned over to the funeral home for burial.
[Double Boxes=Keith and Ellen/Microwave]
Ellen Qualls is in our Richmond newsroom with more.
Keith, the latest mix-up happened in the U-VA morgue almost two years ago.
The hospital apparently discovered it later -- and was then unable to contact the mother.
The hospital reported the incident to the state Division of Risk Management in July 1997.
But it was NOT until U-VA's top attorney told Attorney General Mark Earley last week that the Governor was made aware of the latest incident.
[IN Q=We asked]
[OUT Q=patient encounters.]
(( We asked the Governor if his alma mater's research hospital was badly mismanaged.
((GOV. JIM GILMORE: I THINK WE NEED TO FIND OUT. WE NEED TO DETERMINE THE FACTS AND THAT'S WHY I'VE ASKED FOR AN INVESTIGATION INTO THESE MATTERS. YOU KNOW, MY ADMIRATION FOR UVA IS UNPARALLELED, BUT ENOUGH'S ENOUGH AND I THINK THE TIME HAS COME TO GET A HANDLE ON EXACTLY HOW THESE MATTERS ARE BEING HANDLED AT UVA HOSPITAL.))
U-V-A officials declined any comment on camera today.
But in written statements they explained the latest incident was simply a case of the morgue wrapping the fetal remains separately... and then only handing over one package to the funeral home.
They also point out they handle 600-thousand out-patients and 21-thousand in-patients a year...and say "a lot can go wrong" in those patient encounters.))
So, at this point, we have two separate state probes -- the first into the nursery switch that led to the Rebecca Chittum and Callie Conley mix-up.
We have lawsuits or settlements still pending.
And we have a Texas congresswoman sponsoring a federal bill to punish criminal baby-switching that was inspired by that case.
[Double Boxes=Keith and Ellen/Microwave]
(([Q&A]KEITH: So when will we next learn anything?
Well the University's Board of Visitors starts its quarterly meeting tomorrow morning.
We'll be there to hear what's reported to them-- IF they open those comments to the public.))
[HARD MUSIC UNDER]
Monday's hospital fire may mean delays for scheduled surgery. Still ahead, we'll tell you what could be affected.
And next, this man is paralyzed after a scuffle with police. As he recovers, the case is bringing Johnny Cochran to town.
[wx ad lib]
[MUSIC UP FULL]
[SUPER=82-1.45''/plus 0.61''/41.83''/plus 9.87'';]
[SUPER=83-Down 2.92 feet/Down 0.57 foot;Lake levels][Bluefield-Police]
A West Virginia man paralyzed during a scuffle with Bluefield police will be getting legal advice from a well known source.
Johnnie Cochran, who gained fame during the O-J Simpson trial, has agreed to represent Robert Ellison.
Teresa Hamilton reports.
[IN Q=Robbie Ellison]
[SUPER=03-Bluefield, WV; :06 ]
[SUPER=01-Bobby Ellison/Robbie's Uncle; :12]
[SUPER=01-Edison Hill/Ellison's Attorney; :41]
[SUPER=01-John Feuchtenberger/Bluefield City Atty.; 1:14 QUICK!!!!!!!!! ]
[SUPER=@Teresa1; 1:30 ]
[OUT Q=Bluefield, WV.]
(( Robbie Ellison is currently being cared for at a Bluefield hospital.
Family members say the 20- year old is paralyzed from the neck down and that money won't heal his pain.
[IN Q=They took]
((BOBBY ELLISON/ROBBIE'S UNCLE:THEY TOOK THIS MAN'S LIFE ACTUALLY, IN MY OPINION, HE'S DEAD BECAUSE HE CAN'T DO ANYTHING ELSE, I MEAN HE CAN'T GO TO THE RESTROOM. ))
[OUT Q=to the restroom.]
Bobby Ellison is Robbie's uncle.
He says his nephew was sitting in a car outside a Bluefield nightclub when he was approached by police.
After an exchange of words-- he says Robbie was placed in handcuffs, slammed against the trunk, thrown to the ground and then dragged.
Ed Hill is helping Johnnie Cochran file a civil rights lawsuit for more than just money.
[IN Q=The history]
((EDISON HILL/ELLISON'S ATTORNEY:THE HISTORY OF THIS POLICE DEPARTMENT IS THAT IN THE PAST THERE HAVE BEEN MULTIPLE REPORTS OF USE OF EXCESSIVE FORCE WHERE INDIVIDUALS HAVE BEEN INJURED AND WE HOPE A LAWSUIT WILL CORRECT THAT PRACTICE.))
[OUT Q=that practice.]
It's a charge the city's attorney says is UNfounded.
John Feuchtenberger also defends the chief's decision to allow the officers to return to work.
He says the chief determined it appears the officers acted appropriately.
[IN Q=He saw]
((JOHN FEUCHTENBERGER/BLUEFIELD CITY ATTY.: ON THE FACE OF IT, HE SAW NO ACTION TO PLACE THE OFFICERS ON ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE. ))
However, he says an internal investigation by the pd is underway.
The main officer involved says Robbie Ellison struck him twice and that Ellison was NOT handcuffed when the two ended up on the ground.
The F-B-I is also involved conducting it's own investigation into whether criminal charges should be placed against the officers.
Teresa Hamilton, NEWS 7, Bluefield, WV.
Traffic is busier than usual at Roanoke Memorial Hospital's emergency room.
That's where they're sending patients who normally would go to Community Hospital.
Carilion said Community's emergency room will stay closed indefinitely, until power can be restored.
The power has been out since Monday's electrical fire.
All surgeries -- other than delivering babies -- also are taking place at Memorial.
A Franklin County company has been fined 68-thousand-dollars for not reporting toxic chemicals used to make windows.
[SUPER=03-Franklin Co.; :00]
[SUPER=04-File Tape; :08]
The Environmental Protection Agency says M-W Manufacturing used manganese and toluene in 1994 and 1995 but did not report them.
High levels of these chemicals can damage the nervous system.
The E-P-A says residents and law enforcement officials should know when these chemicals are used at the plant.
Plant officials say it's nothing more than a paperwork error, adding no one was hurt, nothing was damaged, and these chemicals are no longer used there.
M-W plans to appeal the 68-thousand-dollar penalty.
Another wild ride on Wall Street today. The Dow was down more than 275 at one point ..
[TAKE DOW & NASDAQ PAGE ]
.. but it recovered to close about 10 points lower. NASDAQ took another big hit, down more than 43.
[ AE /ATT/Bank of America/Bell/Columbia;]
[Crestar/Dana/Dimon/Dominion Resources/First Union;]
[First Virginia/General Electric/Kroger/Norfolk Southern/Optical Cable]
[phillip morris/roanoke electric steel/trigon/wachovia/walmart]
[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!)[Impeachment]
The Republican-controlled U-S House of Representatives has voted in favor of an open-ended impeachment inquiry against President Clinton.
Today, Virginia Democrat Rick Boucher tried in vain to limit the scope of the inquiry ... and to finish it by the end of the year.
[IN Q=the country]
((REP. RICK BOUCHER: THE COUNTRY HAS ALREADY UNDERGONE SUBSTANTIAL TRAUMA. IF THE COMMITTEE CARRIES THIS WORK BEYOND THE TIME THAT IS REASONABLY NEEDED TO CONDUCT ITS COMPLETE AND THOROUGH REVIEW, THAT INJURY TO THE NATION WILL ONLY DEEPEN.))
[OUT Q=ONLY DEEPEN]
One of the Republicans who voted against Boucher's proposal was fellow Virginian Bob Goodlatte.
He said Congress needs an open-ended investigation to "follow the truth wherever it leads."
[IN Q=the country]
((REP. BOB GOODLATTE: THE CHARGES AGAINST THE PRESIDENT INCLUDE PERJURY, WITNESS TAMPERING AND OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE. THESE ARE SERIOUS CHARGES, CHARGES THAT CANNOT BE WIPED AWAY WITH A MERE WINK AND A NOD AND AN APOLOGY. OR SOMEONE'S INTERPRETATION OF THE LATEST OPINION POLL.))
[OUT Q=opinion poll]
The chairman of the committee that conducts impeachment hearings promised to wrap things up "as expeditiously as possible."
Interstate-73 will take years to go from plans to pavement.
And as the highway is built, the General Assembly wants to stay in touch with its progress.
[SUPER=03-Henry Co./This Morning;]
The I-73 Communications Committee held its first meeting today in Henry County.
This group of state legislators and local business people was created to keep the General Assembly up-to-date with the highway project.
The committee learned that VDOT is now trying to determine the exact path of I-73.
Many believe the highway will be vital to the portion of Virginia it will pass through.
[IN Q=We've had tremendously]
((DEL. WARD ARMSTRONG/(D) 11TH DISTRICT: WE'VE HAD A TREMENDOUSLY DIFFICULT TIME RECENTLY WITH ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. A LOT OF OUR MANUFACTURING PLANTS HAVE CLOSED AND WE THINK THAT THIS INTERSTATE HIGHWAY WILL BREED NEW LIFE INTO THE ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT HERE IN MARTINSVILLE AND HENRY COUNTY AND OTHER PARTS OF THE STATE.))
[SUPER=01-Del. Ward Armstrong/(D) 11th District;]
[OUT Q=parts of the state.]
When will you be able to drive on Interstate-73?
Delegate Armstrong says a rough estimate is 10-to-12 years.
Six of Danville's public schools are taking a new approach to learning-- thanks to a nearly five million dollar federal grant.
At a news conference this afternoon, the school superintendent announced the creation of "magnet schools" for elementary and middle school students.
Each school will incorporate a theme-- like the arts, technology, and environmental science-- into its core curriculum.
[IN Q=We wanted to keep]
((ANDY OVERSTREET/DANVILLE SUPERINTENDENT: WE WANTED TO KEEP NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS BUT WE ALSO WANTED TO PROVIDE AS MANY SPECIALTY CENTERS AS WE COULD TO MAKE MORE CHOICES AVAILABLE. WE THINK CHOICE IS A KEY COMPONENT IN IMPROVING QUALITY OF SCHOOLS ESPECIALLY AS WE HEAD INTO THE NEXT CENTURY.))
[SUPER=01-Andy Overstreet/Danville Superintendent;]
[OUT Q=into the next century.]
Five of the six new magnet schools are already operational.
The old Woodrow Wilson School on North Main Street will reopen as a center for classical and contemporary arts.
Coming your way tonight on News 7 sports, the Hokies and BC are just two hours away from what promises to be a wet Big east battle.
Ferrum talks about its "Road Warrior" status.
And George "Kila" Miller is returning to his college stomping ground in the Tarheel state this weekend to enter a prestigious hall of fame.
17th ranked Virginia Tech puts it's perfect 2 and OH conference record on the line against another 2 and OH beast from the Big East in Boston College.
[SUPER=03-Blacksburg/October 11th, 1997; :]
The Hokies controlled the line of scrimmage last year against BC, holding the Eagles to 7 points and just 276 yards of total offense. The BC attack is again tops in the conference, with a superior offensive line
[IN Q="they have]
[SUPER=01-Frank Beamer/Virginia Tech Head Coach; :10]
[OUT Q=...gang up a little bit"]
The Hokies improved to 4 and OH for the second straight year with a 27-7 win over Pitt two Saturdays ago in front of over 50 thousand. Tonight the Hokies get the chance to showcase their talents in front of a national cable audience.
[IN Q="i think]
[SUPER=01-Pierson Prioleau/Virginia Tech Rover; :00]
[OUT Q=...in the NFL]
This weekend George "Kila" Miller will return to his alma mater Elizabeth City State in North Carolina.
[SUPER=04-Friday Football Extra; :00]
Miller, who is Fleming's head football coach, was a two sport star during his playing days at the college. He will join four others being inducted into the Elizabeth City State sports Hall of Fame on Saturday night.
[SUPER=01-George "Kila" Miller/Elizabeth City Hall of Famer; :]
Miller was a 4 time all conference champion and a 4 time N-A-I-A champion in wrestling at the university. He was also captain on a football team that won the school's only conference championship.
And while Miller is appreciative of the recognition, his biggest honor is helping the students and athletes at William Fleming High school.
[IN Q="I think...]
[OUT Q=...become successful."]
The Ferrum College Panthers are back in the national spotlight.
The Panthers are ranked 30th in the USA top 30 poll and last weekend Ferrum beat Methodist to move into the top spot in the Atlantic Central Football conference.
[IN Q="For at least...]
[SUPER=01-Dave Davis/Ferrum Head Coach; :]
[OUT Q=....with that."]
Davis is also satisfied with the fact that the Panthers are undefeated at 4 and 0 and three of the wins have come on the road.
[IN Q=...That's hard..]
[OUT Q=...job of executing."]
The Panthers are on the road at Guilford this Saturday kickoff is 1 o'clock.
If you want to see them play this season you have to pick your spots. They only have four home games all season. Their next home contest Octboer 17th against Chowan.
The Roanoke Express is on the road tonight at Huntington for the team's season exhibition opener.
[SUPER=03-Roanoke/last Night; :00]
Last night, the Express treated fans to the annual green/white game at the Round House. With the goalie situation intact, the only early challenges seem to be a relatively new defense and offensive scoring. Forward Kris Cantu is already making his presence known.
[SUPER=01-Kris Cantu/Express Forward; :00]
[OUT Q=...a lot this year"]
[SUPER=330-Variable Clouds/Wind NW-10/52-54/Considerable/Cloudiness/64-66;]
[SUPER=331-Variable/Cloudiness/52-57/Mix Of/Clouds & Sun/64-68;]
[SUPER=333-Clouds And/Spotty Drizzle/50-52/Cloudy/Wind N-10/58-62;]
(Weekday 6 only)
[SUPER=x4032; e-mail/Most Watched/Copyright/WEEKDAYS]
SUPER=x4033; Fax/Most Watched/Copyright/WEEKDAYS
(Weekend 6 only)