Billy Graham’s coffin was built by a convicted killer who found faith in prison

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 11:19 AM

Christian evangelist Billy Graham has died. Word came this morning that the 99 year-old passed away. Danielle Nottingham looks back at his life.

Rev. Billy Graham died Wednesday at 99-years-old and despite his fame and profound impact, he may be buried in a simple plywood coffin built by some unexpected craftsmen.

Graham, a famed evangelist who met with at least a dozen presidents and preached to millions of people, is to be buried in a coffin built by prisoners.

Convicted murderer Richard Liggett led a team of prisoners at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in building caskets for both Graham and his wife Ruth, the Associated Press reported in 2007. Ruth Graham died in June 2007 at age 87.

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Liggett, who died in March 2007, was serving a life-sentence for murder and said he had found God while in prison. He had built the coffins for fellow prisoners before crafting a set for the Grahams, the AP reports.

The coffins were made of birch plywood and were lined with mattress pads covered by fabric. They were adorned with brass handles and a cross on top and cost $215, according to reports.

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Graham’s son, Franklin Graham, purchased the coffins after seeing them and admiring their simplicity during a visit to the prison, which is located in Angola, Louisiana.

The coffin represents a “beautiful way in death that we would see this marvelous picture of forgiveness” Graham had for people, said Dan DeWitt, director of the Center for Biblical Apologetics and Public Christianity at Cedarville University.

The prisoners are known to have built a coffin for only one other person.

FIRST REPORT: Evangelist Billy Graham dies at 99

Awana Clubs International ministry co-founder Art Rorheim was buried in one earlier this year, said his granddaughter Kim Ahlgrim, director of The Cove at Cedarville University. Rorheim, 99, died in January, according to his obituary.

Ahlgrim called the casket “a beautifacl act of love from these men who had appreciation for him.”

“Our understanding is they’ve only done it twice,” Ahlgrim said. “They built a casket for my grandfather and a casket for Billy Graham (and his wife).”

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Winter Storm Watch for southwestern Miami Valley beginning late Friday 

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 3:32 AM
Updated: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 8:55 PM

Sunshine is expected today in the Dayton area, with snow returning Saturday.

Mainly clear skies are in the forecast this evening with temperatures slowly falling through the 30s, Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell said.


  • Clear and quiet Friday
  • Winter storm to brush Miami Valley starting this weekend 
  • Warmer pattern setting up next week 

>> Winter Storm: ‘Either Dayton or Cincinnati could get nailed’

>> Live Doppler 7 HD Interactive Radar


>> Whio Weather App

Friday: Skies will be mostly sunny with temperatures rebounding into the middle 40s.

Saturday: Skies will be cloudy with snow likely, especially south. The snow may be heavy with accumulation likely depending on the storm track. Highs will hold in the upper 30s.


RELATED: Frostbite, hypothermia warning signs

Sunday: Skies will clear with temperatures climbing back into the lower 40s.

>> County-by-County Weather

Monday: Clouds will be on the increase. Temperatures will rebound to near 50 degrees.

Tuesday:  Milder temperatures arrive but so will the threat for showers. Highs will top out in the middle 50s.

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Florida girl says she should be allowed to play on boys' flag football team

Published: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 1:50 AM

Armoni Peppers played for the boys' flag football team at her Florida junior high school.
Armoni Peppers played for the boys' flag football team at her Florida junior high school.(

A group of Florida junior high school students lost their final flag football game of the season Thursday, but they won an equal opportunity fight for boys and girls.

>> Read more trending news

Forget powder puff. Armoni Peppers knows how to play with the boys.

"She's awesome. I love her," coach Bobby Burke said. "She's aggressive. She can catch."

Peppers tried out for Brevard County’s Odyssey Charter School's junior high flag football team and made it.

"It makes me feel good, and also, it gives me muscle mass and stuff," the seventh-grader said.

But after several games, the Space Coast Christian Athletic Association told her that girls can't play on the team.

"At first, I was, like, kind of sad," she said.

"She was very upset. She was crying," Kimberly Peppers-Coney said. "I said, 'We're going to work on this.'"

The 12-year-old walked up to her final game Thursday in uniform, but the league's athletic director told her that she couldn't go on the field.

The athletic director declined an on-camera interview, but said that two years ago, the association voted to make football a boys-only sport and volleyball a girls-only sport.

"If they established that, I was never told that," Burke said. "The actual A.D. of our school didn't know that."

The league's athletic director said the rule keeps girls from being grabbed in their genitals or losing their pants by accident.

"That should be my decision," Peppers-Coney said. "I keep her fully dressed. She wears another outfit underneath her uniform."

The uniforms that the Pepper family wore Thursday carried a clear message -- and it worked, because the opposing team's coach gave the OK and the league let Armoni play.

"I think with the presence of having us here and the media they have allowed her to play today," Peppers-Coney said.

Next season is up in the air for now, but Armoni's dreams go far beyond the field.

"Flag pulling is easy," she said. "But, like, tackling -- I could do that easier."

Peppers plays like a girl -- one without limits.

"It doesn't matter if boys are better," she said. "If you like it and you want to do it, then you can go out and do it. You can accomplish anything when you put your mind to it basically."

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Officials investigate after person is shot in the mouth in Trotwood 

Published: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 12:32 AM
Updated: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 2:22 AM

UPDATE @ 2:25 a.m: Officials continue to investigate after a person was shot in the mouth in Trotwood early Friday morning.

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Initial reports indicate the shooting occurred in the 4700 block of Knollcroft Road just after midnight. 

The suspect was not on scene when authorities arrived, but officials are describing the suspect vehicle as a black Lincoln SUV. 

The victim was transported to Miami Valley Hospital on unknown conditions.


Crews are responding to the 4700 block of Knollcroft Road in Trotwood on a reported shooting that occurred early Friday morning.

The incident was dispatched around 12:20 a.m., per initial reports.

We will continue to update this story with more details. 

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Dayton traffic from the WHIO Traffic Center

Published: Friday, March 02, 2018 @ 2:52 AM
Updated: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 1:22 AM

Traffic issues can be reported by calling our newsroom at 937-259-2237 or tweeting @WHIOTraffic .

Traffic conditions are updated every six minutes on AM 1290 and News 95.7 FM.

Major Highway Incidents

  • No incidents to report. 

Surface Street Incidents

  • No incidents to report. 

>> RELATED: WHIO App-Winter

>> RELATED: Track the latest conditions in your neighborhood on our live WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

Ongoing Construction & Other Closures 

Live look at highways on our traffic cameras here.

Latest traffic conditions are also available on our traffic map. 


  • Arlington Road between Pleasant Plain and Upper Lewisburg Salem Road, BRIDGE CLOSURE, March 5 - Sept. 30. All ramps for I-70 will remain open. 
  • Keowee Street north of Stanley Avenue, bridge closed until 2019. The official detour is: Keowee Street to Stanley Avenue to I-75 to Wagner Ford Road and back to Dixie. More information is available here.
  • Stewart Street Ramp to US 35 East, RAMP CLOSURE March 28 - Sept 30, 2018. The official detour is: Stewart Street to Edwin C. Moses Boulevard to I-75 north to US 35 west to James H. McGee Blvd. to US 35 east.
  • SR 48 between First Street and Riverdale Street, Lane closures March 19 - April 1. One lane will remain open in each direction.
  • SR 4 north/south between I-70 and Lower Valley Pike, Lane closure April 2 - 26. One northbound and two southbound lanes will remain open. 
  • I-75 north Ramp to US 35 west, RAMP CLOSURE, March 12 - Sept. 30. The official detour is: I-75 north to US 35 east to Jefferson/Main Street to Ludlow Street to US 35 west. 
  • I-75 north Ramp to US 35 west and east, Lane width restriction until Apr. 1, 2018. One lane will remain open on the ramp with a width of 11 feet.
  • US 35 east between Edwin C. Moses Boulevard and Jefferson Street, Overnight lane closures March 19 at 8 p.m. - March 20 at 6 a.m. Two eastbound lanes will remain open.


  • N. Market Street between Foss Way/Kirk Lane and Stonyridge Avenue, ROAD CLOSURE March 5 at 7 a.m. - Aug. 10 at 5 p.m. 
  • US 36 westbound between Scott Drive and Kienle Drive, Lane closure March 26 - June 30. One westbound lane will remain open. 


  • SR 47 between Fifth Avenue and Wilkinson Avenue, Lane closures Jan. 21 - Nov. 27. One lane will remain open in each direction at all times. 
  • SR 274 between Shroyer Road and Island Avenue, Lane closure April 9 - June 9. One lane will remain open in each direction. 


  • SR 121 between Washington Street and Fairview Street, ROAD CLOSURE Mar. 12 - April 13. The official detour is: SR 722 to US 127 to SR 503. 
  • SR 121 between Arnold Street and Harter Road, ROAD CLOSURE Mar. 12 - April 13. The official detour is: SR 722 to US 127 to SR 503. 


  • I-70 east Ramp to I-675 north, RAMP CLOSURE March 15 - Aug. 15. The official detour is: I-70 east to I-675 south to SR 444 to I-675 north


  • US 68 between SR 508 and Township Road 310, ROAD CLOSURE April 23 - 27. The official detour is: US 68 to SR 296 to SR 29 to SR 235 to SR 47 to US 68. 

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