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Samuel Hale has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
After three hours of deliberation, the jury delivered the guilty verdict — choosing manslaughter over first-degree murder — just before noon today in Salem Circuit Court.
Hale, 25, was accused of fatally stabbing his roommate and longtime friend Joshua McCoy at their Salem apartment during an argument Jan. 16.
The jury broke for lunch and is scheduled to begin its sentencing deliberations at 1:15 p.m.
The Roanoke Times has more on this story.
Side effects from hearing 2,000-year-old stories have a tendency to cause extreme drowsiness when told unimaginatively, even when the themes and storylines form the basic tenets of one’s religion. It happens even when that story comes from a book called the New Testament.
Actor Brad Sherrill seems to have found a way to battle that – he has memorized the entire gospel of John and has a unique way of reciting it, although he wouldn’t call his performance a resuscitation. He considers the show his ministry and has performed “The Gospel of John” 600 times across the United States and worldwide since 2001.
“I feel that too often we can look at it as a story that we’ve known our whole lives [and say] ‘Well, this happened 2,000 years ago.’ And I think if you do that, the scriptures become flattened out,” Sherrill said. “My point is that the scriptures are alive and relevant to us today.”
Sherill will bring his act to Salem Presbyterian Church at 4 p.m. on Sunday, November 7. So Salem interviewed Sherrill to get more on the story behind the show.
For more information, visit the website at www.gospelofjohn.com or call Salem Presbyterian (located on the corner of Market and Main) at 389-3881. Admission is free.
Q: Where did the inspiration come from to perform an entire book of the bible? How did this all begin?
A: I was led to memorize it kind of as a devotional act. I just went out on my porch and learned the prologue … I never planned to perform it the way I have been doing …
I’d learn three chapters at a time. By the time I got it all learned, in four and a half months, then my church asked me to do it for a service … Now I [have] work [ed on this show] eight months out of the year for the last 10 years. It continues to surprise me and humble me that the response has been so good. It’s a living word, and I just try to bring the strength and clarity it deserves.
Q: When did you begin acting? How did you start your career?
A: Actually, ever since third grade, I’ve been interested in writing plays and being in them. I really began acting at my church, it had a really strong drama ministry. That was when I was 11, and my first play was Camelot … I knew very early on what was speaking to me.
Q: How do you perform entirely alone? What’s the most difficult part?
A: What you learn doing an individual performance is that the audience is your partner … There’s nobody that’s going to help you out if you forget a line.
Q: What’s your favorite moment during the performance?
A: When you’ve done something for ten years and over 600 performances, you find a lot of those moments. But I think what originally drew me to it were the chapters 13 through 17 right before Jesus is arrested … Here is Jesus Christ washing the dirty feet of his disciples saying “Now you do this for one another. Take care of another and serve one another.” And this is the command that is being echoed 2,000 years later…
Q: What do you get out of the show? How has it changed your life?
A: Well, it has transformed my life. You can’t live with this book inside of you for ten years and share it with people all over the world and not have it change you in some way … God is kind of what I’m trying to get closer to – faith is a lifelong pilgrimage and it’s not always easy. So it has changed my life. It’s made things that weren’t as important more important for me. And I think its what our faith calls each of us to do. To maybe not stay in one place but to be on the road a bit because Jesus is always moving in the gospels …
You know, I’m just a conduit. It’s not about me as a performer. I don’t want people to say ‘Wow, he’s a great performer,’ I want people to come and say ‘Wow, what a great story.’
Q: Why is it important for you to wear modern dress during performances?
A: Because I feel that too often we can look at it as a story that we’ve known our whole lives, ‘Well, this happened 2,000 years ago.’ And I think if you do that, the scriptures become flattened out … My point is that the scriptures are alive and relevant to us today … If I’m in a fake beard and a robe and sandals, it’s too much like a play, like ‘Isn’t this nice, it’s about Jesus.’ If I’m dressed up in modern clothes, and I stand up out of an audience, it feels more like ‘Here’s a modern day apostle, telling a story that’s going to impact us now.’
A jury composed of seven women and five men are expected to begin deliberations this morning in the first-degree murder trial of Samuel Hale in Salem Circuit Court.
Hale, 25, is accused of fatally stabbing his roommate and longtime friend Joshua McCoy at their Salem apartment during an argument Jan. 16.
If convicted of first-degree murder, Hale could face a sentence of 20 years to life in prison.
The Roanoke Times has more on the story.
When there are developments, we’ll post them here.
Salem is on the road — down 419 — at Hidden Valley. Glenvar is at home against East Montgomery.
Both games kick off at 7:30 p.m.
Here’s what weather journalist Kevin Myatt says to expect weather-wise:
Friday night will continue this season’s undefeated run of perfect weather, with yet another clear, dry night. It could be quite cold, though, with temperatures creeping down into the 40s, maybe even the upper 30s, during the game.
For more weather news, see Kevin’s Weather Journal blog.
We’re expecting photos from both games, so check back this weekend for those. Or, you can share your own at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joe Thomas Sr. and Dave Repass are well-known. But what of their World War II adventures?
“Two P-38 pilots are left in Salem, and they do have some stories to tell,” Dave’s daughter Linda (Lily) R. Banner emailed.
During a recent dinner that she and husband Mack Banner hosted, she had heard some of the two veterans’ exploits. So with Veterans’ Day nigh, we’ll share them in today’s and next week’s columns. (After Linda and Mack returned to their Thailand home, her brother Mike Repass kindly sent vintage photos and more info. And he and Joe Thomas Jr. gave logistical help for interviews. Thanks, all!)
On a recent Tuesday morning I chatted with Joe Sr. in his Oaks at Richfield room. Now 88, the born-and-bred Salemite has much to tally: living his life on the same farm. Riding his motorcycle to Andrew Lewis High School, where he was drum major. Corps commander at Virginia Tech (VPI), Class of 1943, where he took flying lessons.
“We were kicked out early,” he recalled. “No exams. They gave us diplomas, put us in the Army and said ‘GO!’ I was very excited to go.”
He said he spent a year or two as a combat engineer, then transferred to the Air Force. “I was the only one in my class to fly a P-38: twin engines and twin tails, the fastest airplane at the time … They gave us a book; no instructor!”
He flew fighters in California and Arizona. Stateside service was not without drama: Say, his near-death experience when the landing gear locked halfway. “So I flew two hours to run out of fuel, and bellied in, no wheels. I ran … Once a week I could look at a picture of that wreck and think ‘how lucky!’”
When told combat pilots were no longer needed, Joe left the military. But he continued “serving.” He worked awhile for General Motors, then built his own business as a builder and developer and distinguished community leader. Sample: the scenic Hanging Rock Golf Club, run by Joe Jr., and surrounding homes. He started Virginia Tech’s Athletic Association, hired Frank Beamer and built the coach’s home. (Full disclosure: Joe said he built Salem’s first single-family pool, for my parents. Roanoke College’s gone-now 1939 pool was built by Dr. Gene Senter, said son Bill Senter.)
And that’s his name behind Richfield’s Joseph C. Thomas Center. Yet no bragging, just “I’ve been very fortunate.”
He was also most fortunate in another incident: a mowing machine turned over on him, spilling gas all over – yet did not catch fire. “The Lord has saved me several times. I guess he had things for me to do,” he mused.
Of all his lofty accomplishments, Joe Thomas Sr. has placed family at the pinnacle. He greatly misses his late, dear Sue, to whom he was married for 62 years. The couple reared two fine children: Joe Jr. and Julie Arthur.
And as we said goodbye, again the gentleman insisted, “I’ve just been so very fortunate.”
NEXT WEEK: Dave Repass’ overseas service.
On Monday, Salem City Council became one of a growing number of localities asking the state to ban so-called “synthetic marijuana,” popularly called “Spice.” (You read more here.)
Today, state Sen. Ralph Smith, R-Botetourt, who represents Salem in the state Senate, says he has moved to introduce legislation to that effect in the next General Assembly session.
Here’s the full text of a letter Smith sent to the leaders of Salem, Roanoke County and Roanoke: Read more »
Roanoke College’s Lucas Hall reopened this fall after an impressive makeover. Renovations and an addition, which nearly doubled its size, make Lucas prominent in stature. Provisions in maintaining its beauty and enhancing its efficiency make it a state-of-the art facility.
A ribbon cutting will be held on Friday, October 29 at 5:30 p.m. and the building is open for tours at this time as well.
The new Lucas Hall is rich in technology, environmentally friendly and still classic. The original character of the structure remained intact while the College took it from 13,449 square feet to over 26,000. On certification, Lucas will represent Roanoke College’s first LEED project, signifying the campus’s commitment to sustainability.
Early on, a commitment was made to seek LEED certification from the United States Green Building Council. Sustainable features in Lucas include mechanical, lighting and electrical systems designed to achieve increased energy efficiency, dual flush toilets, motion-activated faucets and light fixtures as well as high performance windows. A storm water treatment system captures and removes pollutants and rainfall runoff.
Ninety-five percent of existing walls, floors and roof areas were retained or reused. At least 87 percent of non-hazardous construction waste was recycled and diverted from landfills. Over 50 percent of all wood products are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, and more than ten percent of all materials used to renovate Lucas Hall came from recycled products.
Design elements that include cutting-edge technology and flexibility of space were incorporated as often as possible. The building includes a high-tech media classroom, a computer lab, larger workspaces to accommodate more modes of technology and audio-visual equipment prominent in classrooms and meeting spaces. Two classrooms have retractable walls, which can be used to create one much larger space if needed. Television monitors in lobby areas will air telecasts related to foreign languages curricula. A rooftop garden terrace provides additional outdoor space to enhance the meeting and teaching experience.
The successful renovation and expansion of Lucas Hall provides a lynchpin for Roanoke’s commitment to maintaining its classic college setting while minimizing its impact on the environment.
Submitted by Roanoke College
Samuel Hale took the stand in his own defense Thursday morning in Salem Circuit Court.
For more than an hour, he described the events of Jan. 15 and 16, leading jurors through the circumstances that culminated with him being charged with first-degree murder for allegedly stabbing his friend and roommate Joshua McCoy.
Reporter Neil Harvey of The Roanoke Times has more on the trial.