Channon Christian & Hugh Newsom, Jr. carjacked,raped,tortured & murdered in 2007/Convictions of Davidson, Cobbins, Thomas, Coleman & Boyd have now been set aside after presiding Judge pleads guilty to misconduct/Coleman again found guilty

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Normal Re: Channon Christian & Hugh Newsom, Jr. carjacked,raped,tortured & murdered in 2007/Convictions of Davidson, Cobbins, Thomas, Coleman & Boyd have now been set aside after presiding Judge pleads guilty to misconduct/Coleman again found guilty

Post by raine1953 on Thu Nov 08, 2012 7:53 pm

The Torture Murders of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom
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Normal Judge Blackwood removed from Christian/Newsom retrials

Post by raine1953 on Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:00 pm

In a major ruling on Thursday, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals has recused Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood from presiding over the retrials in the Christian/Newsom murders.

Channon Christian and Chris Newsom were carjacked, raped, and murdered in 2007. Four people were found guilty in connection with their deaths, but those convictions were overturned by Judge Blackwood after the presiding judge, Richard Baumgartner, pleaded guilty to official misconduct and admitted to a prescription drug addiction.

A legal battle ensued, with attorneys for the defendants arguing that their clients should be retried. Judge Blackwood granted those trials on the basis that he, as replacement judge, could not act as the 13th jury in affirming those convictions. Prosecutors disagreed, and have been fighting to get Blackwood removed from the case, arguing that he has lost his objectivity.

The retrials in three of those cases, Lemaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, and George Thomas, who were all convicted of first degree murder, were stayed until the legal battle was finished. The fourth, for defendant Vanessa Coleman, who was found guilty of facilitation in Christian's death, is set for next month.

Now, those stays will stay in place until a new judge can be appointed to oversee the cases.

In the ruling, the Court "acknowledges that Senior Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood undertook difficult tasks in presiding over the cases involved in this appeal and the State prosecution of former Judge Richard Baumgartner. We have no doubt that Judge Blackwood
subjectively has made every effort to approach these cases in an unbiased manner. We,however, are required to review the record to determine if Judge Blackwood's impartiality could reasonably be questioned by an objective person."

Reviewing all the records from these cases, the Court concluded that "the combination of actions and comments by Judge Blackwood, as detailed in this opinion, would lead an objective person to reasonably question the impartiality of Judge Blackwood in these three cases."

The ruling goes on to say that is very important that the public "have confidence in the fairness and uprightness of the judges created to serve as dispensers of justice.

The Chief Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court will enter an order appointing a replacement judge to rule upon the thirteenth juror issues in all three of these cases, and determine if Davidson, Cobbins, and Thomas should be granted new trials.
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Normal Vanessa Coleman found guilty in 13 of 17 counts in Christian-Newsom case

Post by raine1953 on Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:41 pm

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Jurors delivered a guilty verdict on 13 of 17 counts Tuesday in the retrial against defendant Vanessa Coleman.

Jurors were tasked with deciding her guilt on 17 charges that she facilitated and participated in the torture, rape and murder of 21-year-old Channon Christian.

They found Coleman guilty on 13 charges and not guilty on 4 charges.

She was found guilty on charges of facilitating first-degree murder, second-degree murder, theft, rape, kidnapping, and theft.

Coleman was not found guilty on Count 7, a charge of facilitating first-degree murder, and Counts 42, 43, and 44, three charges of facilitating aggravated rape.

Christian's parents, Gary and Deena, said after the rulings that they were satisfied with the results.

"We got some justice today," said Deena Christian. "She deserves to spend the rest of her life in jail."

"When they came down with the first not-guilty verdict, I thought I was going to have a heart attack," said Gary Christian. "When you're that guilty, you can't hide it."

The parents of Christian's boyfriend Chris Newsom, Mary and Hugh Newsom, were also happy with the verdicts.

"This was more about Channon. Channon got the justice she deserved. I feel fine with it," said Mary Newsom. "We're happy she was charged with what she was charged with."

"I think the community is ready for this to be over and we're definitely ready for this to be over," she continued. "We're ready to get our lives back."

Defense attorney Theodore Lavit said Vanessa Coleman and the defense team was also pleased.

"Vanessa feels very good. I think she's relieved and she can see the future as a young lady," Lavit told 6 News.

He also said that he believed the verdict was a compromised verdict, but would not go into details.

Coleman's defense team said they were pleased because they expect her sentence to be shorter than the sentence she received in her first trial.

They also said they plan to argue for even less jail time during the sentencing.

Coleman received 53 years of jail time in her original trial.

6 News Legal Analyst Greg Isaacs said after the verdicts were read that he believes Coleman will receive a sentence of between 25 and 50 years.

On Tuesday afternoon, the jury returned to the courtroom briefly to ask Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood about the rape charges against Coleman.

They asked the judge if each count pertained to a different individual.

The judge told them that the different charges were for the different methods in which Channon Christian was raped - anally, orally and sexually.

The jury said that Judge Blackwood had answered their question and continued deliberations.

Coleman was initially charged for her role in the crimes against Christian's boyfriend Chris Newsom, but was acquitted during her original trial.

Because of double jeopardy laws, she was not tried again for any crimes against Newsom in the latest trial.

On Monday, attorneys wrapped up five days of testimony in the case. Jurors heard from friends and family of Coleman, as well as an extensive list of law enforcement officials and experts that played a role in the investigation.
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Coleman was found guilty on 13 charges and not guilty on 4 charges.

"We got some justice today," said Channon's mother Deena Christian.

"Channon got the justice she deserved. I feel fine with it," said Chris' mother Mary Newsom.
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Normal Lemaricus Davidson to use failed defense again in retrial effort

Post by raine1953 on Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:27 am

Lemaricus Davidson is hoping to leap the highest legal hurdle he faces in garnering a new trial by invoking the same defense that already has failed him once — he was a drug dealer to both torture-slaying victims and had a sexual affair with one of them.

Davidson, his brother, Letalvis Cobbins, and Cobbins friend, George Thomas, on Thursday will try to convince Senior Judge Walter Kurtz to honor his predecessor's granting of new trials to the trio in the January 2007 slayings of Channon Christian, 21, and Christopher Newsom, 23.

To be successful, the trio must show that the credibility of witnesses in their original trials was tantamount to their convictions, and Kurtz cannot judge the truthfulness of those witnesses without seeing firsthand their testimony.

Thomas has the easiest legal row to hoe as there is no forensic evidence linking him to the crimes. He has conceded only being at Davidson's Chipman Street house when the crimes occurred. Mere presence is not enough to sustain convictions, so the testimony of witnesses was key in his original trial.

Not so with Davidson and Cobbins.

There was DNA evidence linking both men to the rapes of Christian. Davidson's prints were on trash bags wrapped around Christian's body.

Davidson is discounting the power of that DNA evidence in garnering him convictions and ultimately a death sentence in his first trial by once again claiming his DNA was "transferred" onto Christian's jeans and her vaginal region from consensual sex the two shared in the days before the crimes.

"It was Mr. Davidson's theory at trial that he knew Channon Christian, had a sexual relationship with her, and that he was not present at the time she and Mr. Newsom were murdered in his residence" by Cobbins, Thomas and Cobbins' girlfriend, Vanessa Coleman, wrote his attorneys, David Eldridge and Doug Trant.

He also contends Christian and Newsom were not kidnapped but, instead, visited his home to buy drugs. He pointed to testimony Christian and Newsom both had alcohol in their system. Newsom also had marijuana and a stimulant in his system. There also was testimony both on occasion used a drug designed to treat hyperactivity in children but often abused as a stimulant.

Because his version of events clashed with the state's theory and each side presented witnesses in support of their respective positions, Davidson's attorneys argue the credibility of those witnesses is just as key as in Thomas' case. Therefore, they argue, Kurtz has no choice but to grant Davidson a new trial.

There is no forensic evidence tying any of the men to the crimes committed against Newsom.

Cobbins and Thomas have not yet filed any new motions in the run-up to Thursday's hearing but both have previously insisted they, too, are due new trials in the wake of a pill scandal involving the judge who presided over their original trials.

Senior Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood ordered up new trials in December 2011, citing fundamental constitutional error caused by a drug-addicted judge presiding over the original trials and his inability to judge witness credibility as the so-called "13th juror" from transcripts alone.

The Tennessee Supreme Court disagreed with his constitutional finding but made it clear Blackwood could grant new trials if he believed he could not step into former Judge Richard Baumgartner's shoes as 13th juror. The state pushed back, successfully winning its move to boot Blackwood. Kurtz was tapped to replace him.
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Normal Re: Channon Christian & Hugh Newsom, Jr. carjacked,raped,tortured & murdered in 2007/Convictions of Davidson, Cobbins, Thomas, Coleman & Boyd have now been set aside after presiding Judge pleads guilty to misconduct/Coleman again found guilty

Post by Wrapitup on Fri Dec 14, 2012 3:58 am

Thank YOU, Raine!

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Normal Attorney: Torture-slaying jury sang worship songs, prayed

Post by raine1953 on Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:45 pm

KNOXVILLE — The attorney for a man sentenced to death for the torture slayings of a young Knoxville couple claims the jury spent the majority of its sentencing deliberations singing worship songs and reading Bible verses rather than discussing the case.

A motion filed on behalf of Lemaricus Davidson was recently unsealed along with pages of handwritten hymns and praise songs used by jurors during Davidson’s 2009 trial. His attorney says the impromptu worship service violated Davidson’s rights to a fair trial, due process and impartial jury.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports Senior Judge Walter Kurtz set a Jan. 10 hearing to hear the motion for a new trial.

Davidson was sentenced to death in the 2007 kidnapping, rape and murder of 21-year-old Channon Christian and 23-year-old Christopher Newsom. Kurtz is expected to rule on whether to grant new trials to Davidson; his brother, Letalvis Cobbins; and George Thomas after the previous judge who presided over their trials pleaded guilty to misconduct in a prescription painkiller scandal.

“In this case, it is clear that the biblical references and religious hymns that infiltrated the jury room during sentencing deliberations are of a nature suggesting that jurors’ highest responsibility is to God and that they will be absolved for their actions in determining Mr. Davidson’s sentence,” Davidson’s attorneys wrote in the motion.

A signed affidavit from a bailiff who served during Davidson’s trial said the praise service happened before deliberation, but does not give a timeframe or the location of the service. The affidavit shows that the jury members used the copies of the hymns while one member led them in song while playing guitar. Another juror read a Bible verse.

The documents unsealed also include a message board post from an anonymous person who claimed to be a member of the jury panel. The poster said out of the more than five hours spent in deliberation on the second day, four hours were spent “in prayer and in reading the Bible and reaching the Moral Certainty called for by Law.”
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Normal Re: Channon Christian & Hugh Newsom, Jr. carjacked,raped,tortured & murdered in 2007/Convictions of Davidson, Cobbins, Thomas, Coleman & Boyd have now been set aside after presiding Judge pleads guilty to misconduct/Coleman again found guilty

Post by Wrapitup on Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:23 pm

SPEECHLESS!!!

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Normal Public memorials planned for Channon Christian, Chris Newsom

Post by raine1953 on Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:58 pm

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Monday will mark six years since the brutal murders of a young Knoxville couple and the start of a traumatic chapter for their families and the community.

Family and friends will hold a memorial services for victims Channon Christian and Chris Newsom on Sunday and Monday.

The events have been private in previous years, but this time Chris and Channon's parents are opening them up to the public.

"We don't want to forget Chris," said Newsom's mother, Mary Newsom. "Chris was a good kid. He was a great person."

"After six years we still don't have justice for those kids," said Newsom's father, Hugh Newsom. "We haven't had a life in six years."

Gary Christian, the father of Channon, says there are many things he misses about his daughter.

"I miss her coming down and sitting in my chair, in my lap," said Christian.

Both families say with the pending retrials they need the community's support.

"Until this year that memorial service has been contained to family and real close friends," said Christian. "This year they had a couple of phone calls and they were wanting to open it up to the public with what's all going on with the court cases and everything."

The first memorial service will be held Sunday at 3 p.m. at Chris Newsom's grave at Woodhaven Memorial Garden on Edgemoor Road in Claxton.

The next memorial will be held Monday at 5:30 p.m. at Highland West Memorial Park in West Knoxville where Channon is buried.

"We just need the communities support, continuing support," said Hugh Newsom. "We've have it, but we still need it. Undoubtedly we are not through with the process yet."

If you do decide to come to either memorial the families ask that you please come early so parking can be accommodated before the memorials start.
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Normal Re: Channon Christian & Hugh Newsom, Jr. carjacked,raped,tortured & murdered in 2007/Convictions of Davidson, Cobbins, Thomas, Coleman & Boyd have now been set aside after presiding Judge pleads guilty to misconduct/Coleman again found guilty

Post by Wrapitup on Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:19 pm

This is so damned sad!!

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Normal Crowd gathers to remember Channon Christian

Post by raine1953 on Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:52 am

Family members of a young Knoxville couple, murdered six years ago Monday, are remembering their son and daughter while they prepare to return to court later this week.

Channon Christian and her boyfriend, Chris Newsom, were kidnapped on January 6, 2007. They endured hours of rape, torture, and both were eventually murdered the following day.

Sunday afternoon, about one hundred people showed up at Chris Newsom's gravesite to remember him. This was the first time his family invited the public to take part in the annual memorial. The Christians attended Newsom's memorial.

Monday evening, Channon Christian's family held a similar memorial service, and a balloon release for her at Highland West Memorial park in West Knoxville. This was also the first time her parents have invited the public to attend. The Shepherd's Riding Club escorted the Christian's to their daughter's gravesite. The Newsom's attended Christian's memorial, along with more than a 100 others, including friends and family of the couple.

The Christian and Newsom families have been inseparable throughout the past six years, leaning on each other through every hearing and every trial for suspects Lemaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, George Thomas, and Vanessa Coleman.

Christian's dad, Gary, said he's received many questions over the years, from people neither family knows, about how to support them. Mr. Christian felt like inviting the public to the memorial was the best way for the public to do that, especially since court proceedings enter their seventh year later this week.

Both families plan to be in court on Thursday for a new-trial hearing for Davidson.

"My word to God, Channon will get her justice and so will Chris, no matter how long it takes. I'm not going to quit," said Gary Christian.

The outcome of that hearing could affect the judge's rulings on the retrials for Davidson, as well as Cobbins, and Thomas. Last month, the judge said that he would issue written rulings on the retrials sometime in mid-January.
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Normal Re: Channon Christian & Hugh Newsom, Jr. carjacked,raped,tortured & murdered in 2007/Convictions of Davidson, Cobbins, Thomas, Coleman & Boyd have now been set aside after presiding Judge pleads guilty to misconduct/Coleman again found guilty

Post by Wrapitup on Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:20 pm

cryingagain

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Normal Christopher Newsom, Channon Christian Remembered, 6 Years After Horrific Torture Slaying

Post by Wrapitup on Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:38 pm

Posted: 01/07/2013 5:07 pm EST

Friends, relatives and supporters of the family of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom are marking the sixth anniversary of the young couple's deaths with their first public memorials in Tennessee.

"Until this year [the] memorial service has been contained to family and real close friends. This year they had a couple of phone calls and they were wanting to open it up to the public with what's all going on with the court cases and everything," Gary Christian, the father of Channon, told Knoxville's WATE on Friday.

Despite the passing of six years, the crimes continue to hang over the family like a toxic cloud.

Warning: Graphic Details

Newsom, 23, and Christian, 21, had been dating for about two months when they decided to go out the night of Jan 6, 2007 -- a night later reconstructed by the authorities, court documents and media reports. The couple had planned to catch a movie and visit friends.

Christian had graduated from Farragut High School and was a senior sociology major at the University of Tennessee. Newsom was a 2002 graduate of Halls High School and a member of the Red Devils baseball team.

On Jan. 7, it was discovered that neither Newsom nor Christian had returned to their respective residences. Concerned, their families contacted police and reported the pair missing. As police began to investigate the circumstances of their disappearances, they were notified that a railroad worker had discovered Newsom's body near some railroad tracks in Knoxville, Tenn. Christian, however, was nowhere to be found.

The following day, police obtained records from Christian's cell phone carrier. Using this information, investigators were able to trace her phone to a location on Chipman Street, not far from where Newsom's body was found. There, authorities found Christian's silver 2005 Toyota 4-Runner, but she was not with the vehicle.

Authorities impounded Christian's vehicle and a latent print examiner discovered a fingerprint inside the car that did not match the couple. Investigators entered the print into their database and were able to link it to Lemaricus Devall "Slim" Davidson, a then 25-year-old resident of 2316 Chipman Street.

Police obtained a search warrant and went to search for clues at Davidson's apartment. Davidson was not home at the time the warrant was executed. Investigators began a thorough search and were not on the scene long before they found Christian's body inside a kitchen trash can.

While crime scene technicians processed the house, investigators traced Davidson to an empty house in Knoxville. Shortly after Davidson’s arrest, authorities arrested Eric DeWayne Boyd, then 34, in Knoxville, and George Geovonni Thomas, then 27; Vanessa Coleman, then 18; and Davidson's brother, Letalvis Cobbins, then 24, in Lebanon, Ky.

Investigators then began to piece together what transpired on the night of Jan. 6 and the morning of Jan. 7, 2007.

Authorities ultimately determined that Newsom and Christian had dined at a local restaurant on the night of Jan. 6. Afterward, Christian spoke briefly with her mother and told her that she and Newsom were planning to visit a friend's house to watch a movie. Sometime after that call took place, Christian and Newsom were abducted from an apartment complex parking lot. Over the course of the next several hours, the pair was beaten, raped, tortured and murdered.

According to later court testimony by Knox County Acting Medical Examiner Dr. Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan, Newsom had been repeatedly sodomized with an object. His limbs were bound, he was gagged and blindfolded. At some point in the early morning hours of Jan. 7, 2007, Newsom was dragged outside to a set of nearby railroad tracks, where he was shot execution-style, in the back of his head, neck and back. His body was then set ablaze, Mileusnic-Polchan testified.

The medical examiner said Christian's last few hours on earth were also horrific and unthinkable.

The young woman, he said, was tortured for several hours and sustained injuries to her mouth, anus and vagina. She had been beaten about the head with an unknown object and raped. Afterward, bleach was poured over Christian's body and down her throat, in an apparent attempt to destroy DNA evidence. She was, an autopsy indicated, alive while the torture and degradations occurred. Christian was then hog-tied and covered with several bags before she was placed in a disposal bin, where she slowly suffocated to death, Mileusnic-Polchan testified.

In the wake of the murders, a Knox County Grand Jury handed down multiple indictments in the case.

Davidson, Cobbins and Thomas were indicted on 16 counts of felony murder growing out of rape, robbery, kidnapping and theft, two counts of premeditated murder, two counts of especially aggravated robbery, four counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, 20 counts of aggravated rape and two counts of theft.

Coleman was indicted on 12 counts of felony murder growing out of rape, robbery, kidnapping and theft, one count of premeditated murder (Christian), one count of especially aggravated robbery (Newsom), four counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, 20 counts of aggravated rape and two counts of theft.

Boyd was charged federally with being an accessory after the fact in a carjacking. He was not listed in the indictment.

READ THE INDICTMENT:
Christopher Newsom And Channon Christian Indictments
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In April 2008, Boyd was found guilty in federal court of being an accessory to a fatal carjacking and for failing to report the location of a known fugitive. Boyd was sentenced to 18 years in federal prison for his crimes. He is incarcerated at the medium-security Federal Correctional Institution, Beckley, in West Virginia.

Roughly 16 months later, in August 2009, Cobbins was found guilty in the murders of Newsom and Christian, but was acquitted of Newsom's rape. Cobbins was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. He is serving his sentence at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, Tenn.

On October 28, 2009, Davidson was found guilty in the murders, but not guilty on three counts of the aggravated rape of Newsom. He was, however, found guilty of facilitation of rape. Davidson was sentenced to death. He is incarcerated at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville.

Thomas was found guilty of felony murder and premeditated murder in December 2009. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He is incarcerated in Nashville at the Charles Bass Correctional Complex.

The last defendant, Coleman, was acquitted of first degree murder but found guilty on lesser charges. She was sentenced to 53 years behind bars. Coleman is serving her sentence at the Tennessee Prison for Women in Nashville, the primary facility for female felons in the state.

All of the defendants, with the exception of Boyd, appealed their convictions. It was during this time that it was revealed that the presiding judge had admitted to a drug addiction. He was subsequently disbarred and motions were filed to grant retrials for Cobbins, Davidson, Thomas and Coleman. In May 2012, the Tennessee Supreme Court vacated the motions and the state convictions were permitted to stand. Despite the decision, three of the male defendants continue to seek retrials.

"After six years we still don't have justice for those kids," Newsom's father, Hugh Newsom, told WATE, in regard to the possibility of retrials.

"We haven't had a life in six years," Newsom added.

A public memorial for Christian will be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday, at Highland West Memorial Park in West Knoxville, where she was laid to rest. A similar memorial was held for Newsom on Sunday.

Christian's mother, Deena Christian, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Huffington Post on Monday.

Speaking with WATE, the families said the memorial gatherings give them strength.

"We just need the communities support, continuing support," Hugh Newsom said. "We've had it, but we still need it. Undoubtedly we are not through with the process yet."

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Normal Davidson juror description of worship service doesn't match blog

Post by raine1953 on Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:06 pm

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - LeMaricus Davidson's attorneys failed Thursday to enter evidence they said would prove jurors in his first trial were influenced by prayer and hymn singing during a worship service.

The service took place just before the jury found Davidson guilty of murdering Channon Christian and Chris Newsom.

Christopher Baber, who was a juror during Davidson's trial, was called to testify in Davidson's bid for a new trial.

Davidson is one of four defendants accused of abducting and brutally slaying Channon Christian and Chris Newsom in 2007.

The attorneys' motion contained allegations that the jury in the first trial held a religious praise service while deliberating his death sentence.

The post-trial filing said an unnamed juror blogged about the service. The person claiming to be a juror wrote that out of the five-plus hours spent deliberating, four hours were spent in prayer and reading the Bible.

Baber was called to explain what happened. He said he was a praise leader at his church and during the trial asked a court officer if he could hold a service to "cheer up" the jurors.

"The officer said she could not make it mandatory," Baber said. "And that was okay with me."

He said he could not recall if all of the jurors participated in the service, which lasted about 25 minutes.

Baber was asked if jurors prayed or made any references to the hymns that were sung in the service when jurors began their deliberations. He said he could not recall that happening.

Baber's testimony did not corroborate what was written in the blog.

Attorney David Eldridge told Judge Walter Kurtz the jury considered more than just the evidence in the trial when reaching their verdict and their emotions were impacted by the worship service.

The judge didn't buy the argument. He didn't allow the anonymous blog to be used as evidence, which was to be used as proof that religion was improperly used in deliberations.

It is a decision Channon and Chris's families agreed with.

"I thought it was a very good decision. I think Judge Kurtz has a grasp of reality," said Hugh Newsom.

A ruling on the motion for a new trial will be made next week, Judge Kurtz said.

The victim's families hope justice will be served.

"Two great kids and we miss them terribly and we feel that we may have justice real soon," said Mary Newsom.

"Next week is not the end, we'll be going for many many years," said Gary Christian.

The victims families have plans to talk to lawmakers to prevent this from happening to others.

They say they have a right to a speedy trial and that seven years in and out of the courthouse is too long.

Davidson was convicted of first degree murder in 2009 and sentenced to death. That conviction was set aside and a new trial ordered after the judge at trial was found to be abusing prescription drugs during the trial.

Additional legal wrangling has sent Davidson back to court to again request a new trial.

Two other defendants, Letalvis Cobbins and George Thomas were also granted new trials by Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood. State prosecutors are also fighting the judge's ruling in their cases.

The fourth defendant, Vanessa Coleman, was found guilty of 13 of 17 charges prosecuted in her November 2012 retrial.

She will be sentenced February 1. In her original trial she was sentenced to 53 years in prison.

Judge Kurtz said in December he hoped to make a decision on all three defendants' motions for retrial by the end of January.
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Normal Re: Channon Christian & Hugh Newsom, Jr. carjacked,raped,tortured & murdered in 2007/Convictions of Davidson, Cobbins, Thomas, Coleman & Boyd have now been set aside after presiding Judge pleads guilty to misconduct/Coleman again found guilty

Post by Wrapitup on Fri Jan 11, 2013 5:30 pm

Attorney David Eldridge told Judge Walter Kurtz the jury considered more than just the evidence in the trial when reaching their verdict and their emotions were impacted by the worship service.

The judge didn't buy the argument. He didn't allow the anonymous blog to be used as evidence, which was to be used as proof that religion was improperly used in deliberations.

It is a decision Channon and Chris's families agreed with.

"I thought it was a very good decision. I think Judge Kurtz has a grasp of reality," said Hugh Newsom.
BBM. I am SO GLAD Judge Kurtz made this ruling. There is much I could say here but let's just say I think these juror's had NO "grasp of Reality". Period.

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Normal Channon Christian

Post by raine1953 on Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:00 pm

KNOXVILLE — A senior judge today denied new trials for two brothers convicted in the brutal 2007 slayings of a Knox County couple but granted a new trial for a third defendant.

Senior Judge Walter Kurtz denied a new trial for alleged ringleader Lemaricus Davidson, who was convicted of the kidnapping, rape and murders of Channon Christian, 21, and her boyfriend Christopher Newsom, 23.

He received the death penalty.

His brother, Letalvis Cobbins, who is serving a life without parole sentence, also was denied a new trial.

A third defendant, George Thomas, however, will get a new trial under Kurtz's order.

The issue of new trials arose in the wake of a pill scandal involving Judge RIchard Baumgartner, who presided over the 2009 and 2010 trials for Davidson, Cobbins, Thomas and co-defendant Vanessa Coleman.

Kurtz today said Thomas, convicted of murder, rated a new trial because Baumgartner had not yet ruled on whether he could serve as a"13th juror" in the case as legally required. The key decision was whether the state had presented enough evidence to support Thomas' conviction.

Kurtz ruled all evidence against Thomas, who received a sentenced of life without parole, amounted to the credibility of witnesses and Kurtz, therefore, must actually witness the testimony to act as 13th juror.

Tom Dillard, Thomas' defense lawyer, welcomed the judge's ruling.

"We are looking forward to the (new trial) and we think Judge Kurtz's position was correct all along."

In seeking a new trial, Thomas appeared to have the easiest legal hurdle to overcome.

No forensic evidence linked him to the crimes against Davidson and Cobbins. The defense sought to show in his first testimony that he spent much of the time after Newsom and Christian were kidnapped high on marijuana.

He has admitted only being at Davidson's Chipman Street house when the crimes occurred. Mere presence is not enough to sustain convictions, so the testimony of witnesses was key in his original trial.

Kurtz shot down motions for a new trial by Cobbins and Davidson, noting there was DNA evidence liking them to the killings.

Authorities found DNA evidence tying both men to the rapes of Christian.

Davidson's prints were on trash bags wrapped around Christian's body after the killers left her to die in a trash bin at his rental home.

Davidson tried to discount the power of DNA evidence used against him by claiming his DNA was "transferred" onto Christian's jeans and her vaginal region from consensual sex the two shared in the days before the crimes.

He also contended Christian and Newsom were not kidnapped but, instead, visited the Chipman Street home to buy drugs.

Cobbins testified at his trial that he engaged in oral sex with Christian but that she had offered it in exchange for her freedom.

There is no forensic evidence tying any of the men to the crimes committed against Newsom.

Senior Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood ordered up new trials in December 2011, citing fundamental constitutional error caused by Baumgartner, who resigned in March 2011 after admitting he was addicted to pills and had used criminal defendants to get pills for him during the trials.

Blackwood, in granting new trials, ruled that he could not, as required by law, judge the credibility of witnesses presented during the torture-slaying trials in 2009 and 2010 based on transcripts of the proceedings alone.

The Tennessee Supreme Court disagreed with his constitutional finding but made it clear Blackwood could grant new trials if he believed he could not step into former Judge Richard Baumgartner's shoes as 13th juror.

The state then pushed back, successfully winning its move to boot Blackwood.

Kurtz was tapped to replace him.

Co-defendant Vanessa Coleman, who was Cobbins' girlfriend, already has been granted a new trial. In November, she was convicted — for a second time — of facilitation of some of the crimes committed against Christian. She faces sentencing Feb. 1.

The state did not challenge a retrial for Coleman because Baumgartner was visibly disoriented when jurors announced a verdict in May 2010 deeming her guilty of facilitating the killings.

More details as they develop online and in Wednesday's News Sentinel.

Lemaricus Davidson arrives in court on Thursday for a hearing to request a new trial, which was denied by Senior Judge Walter Kurtz. The judge said Davidson failed to show jurors were influenced by religion in their decision to convict him and sentence him to death in the slayings of Channon Christian, 21, and Christopher Newsom, 23.
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Normal Re: Channon Christian & Hugh Newsom, Jr. carjacked,raped,tortured & murdered in 2007/Convictions of Davidson, Cobbins, Thomas, Coleman & Boyd have now been set aside after presiding Judge pleads guilty to misconduct/Coleman again found guilty

Post by Wrapitup on Tue Jan 15, 2013 11:42 pm

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Normal Retrial date for George Thomas has been set

Post by raine1953 on Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:50 pm

A new trial date is set for a man once convicted in the murders of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom.

Wednesday, Judge Walter Kurtz and attorneys agreed to begin Thomas' new trial on May 13th.

Thomas' attorney says jury selection for the new trial will take place outside of Knox County, but the trial itself will be held here.

Details are being worked out for the retrial of George Thomas, who was previously convicted of 1st degree murder in the deaths of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom.

Thomas was one of four defendants found guilty in connection with the murders. He was granted a retrial because the previous judge, Richard Baumgartner, admitted to a prescription pill addiction during the trial.

Thomas' attorney, Tom Dillard, told 10News that hope to have a date for the retrial set by the end of February. He says jury selection will take place outside of Knox County, but the trial will be held here. Senior Judge Walter Kurtz, who will preside over the retrial, is based in Nashville, so he does not have a courtroom in Knox County, so they will have to find the space to hold the trial.
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Normal Vanessa Coleman requests new trial

Post by raine1953 on Tue Mar 05, 2013 3:31 pm

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The woman convicted twice for facilitating the murder of Channon Christian is asking for another new trial.

Vanessa Coleman's attorney filing a motion for a new trial and a motion calling for her acquittal.

Her defense entered a number of arguments for the motions.

Among the arguments, her lawyer argues she should have received immunity for testifying before a federal grand jury, the state should not have introduced graphic color crime scene photos, the evidence in the case was insufficient and that the racial make up of the jury was unfair because a disproportionate number of black jurors were dismissed because of their criminal backgrounds.

Coleman's recent retrial came as a result of Judge Richard Baumgartner's addiction to prescription painkillers.

She was sentenced to 35 years in prison, but could be paroled in about four and a half years.
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Normal George Thomas' defenders want to keep medical examiner off witness stand

Post by raine1953 on Sat Mar 16, 2013 11:25 pm

The defenders for a torture-slaying suspect facing a second trial on the same set of facts are looking to hindsight to give them a crystal clear vision for what should be kept out this go-round.
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Normal Judge: Family wearing photo buttons of Christian, Newsom must move back

Post by raine1953 on Mon Mar 25, 2013 5:48 pm

KNOXVILLE - A judge today ruled that family members donning photo buttons of two torture-slaying victims must stay clear of the jury box.

Senior Judge Walter Kurtz said relatives of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom may wear the buttons they have sported at previous trials of the accused.
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Normal Vanessa Coleman's request for third trial denied

Post by raine1953 on Wed Apr 17, 2013 3:04 pm

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Christian-Newsom defendant Vanessa Coleman was denied a third trial on Wednesday.

Coleman has been tried twice for her role in the death of Channon Christian, first in 2010 and again in 2012.

The results of her first trial were thrown out and a second trial granted after the presiding judge stepped down and revealed that he was addicted to painkillers while overseeing her trial.

The second trial resulted in a guilty verdict on 13 of 17 charges. In February, she was sentenced to 35 years in prison, with the possibility of parole in four and half years.

She later appealed the ruling and requested another trial.

On Wednesday, a judge overruled her most recent request for a new trial.
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Normal Jury in Thomas trial does not reach verdict; deliberations to resume at 9 a.m. 5/17/13

Post by NiteSpinR on Fri May 17, 2013 12:05 am

May 16, 2013



Thursday

Senior Judge Walter Kurtz is now charging the jury, giving them their instructions before they begin deliberations in the George Thomas trial.

Closing arguments began after the defense rested without calling any witnesses.

The prosecution tried to leave the jury with the fact that even though there was no physical evidence tying Thomas to the carjacking, rape, and murder of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom, he was part of the team, "united with them."

The defense urged the jury to consider only the evidence before them and the law, that Thomas could not be held criminally responsible for something done by the people he was with. They contend he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Update 9:26 a.m. Thursday 5/16/13

Events moved quickly Thursday morning during the retrial of George Thomas.

As expected, the state rested.

Shortly afterwards, Thomas was called to the stand to verify he would not testify.

The defense then rested without calling a single witness and without expert testimony.

The state is expected to rest their case Thursday morning in the George Thomas retrial.

The prosecution is still building its case, outlining for the jury what happened the night and days after Channon Christian and Chris Newsom were carjacked, raped, and murdered.

Representatives from several cell phone companies took the stand Wednesday morning, talking about the calls and locations from the cell phones of the victims.

Then, Stacy Lawson, Thomas' ex-girlfriend, took the stand. She was with Thomas for about a year, including the time when the murders happened. She lived in Kentucky, but recalled visiting Knoxville and the house on Chipman Street twice before the murders. She reiterated the size of the house, saying it was very small and you could hear everyone's conversation. The prosecution is trying to prove that Thomas had to know what was happening to Channon Christian in that house.

Lawson also recognized the other suspects convicted in the case when showed pictures. She recalled shooting a gun with defendant Vanessa Coleman and that alleged ringleader Lemaricus Davidson pointed a gun at her. "I never liked him," she said. She said she never saw Thomas, who she called G, with a gun.

She said after the murders, Thomas and Coleman came back to Kentucky, and didn't look like themselves. She heard about the murders on tv, and recognized pictures of Davidson and another suspect, Letalvis Cobbins, and said she was trying to figure out if Thomas and Coleman were connected. She admitted to lying to police about their location, because she was scared.

She said she loved Thomas, and still did, in a way.

Before they broke for lunch, the jury heard the transcript of an interview George Thomas did with investigations after the murder. You can read that here.

The afternoon session of court saw Knox County Medical Examiner Dr. Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan on the stand. She testified to how Channon and Chris died, and showed graphic images of the bodies. Family members, who've been forced to view these pictures in court several times in the past, were visibly upset. They held on to each other and friends who are with them in the courtroom. Some members of Channon's family left the courtroom, and one juror turned away at one image of Channon's body.

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Normal Guilty again: George Thomas sentenced in torture, murder retrial

Post by raine1953 on Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:37 am

KNOXVILLE — A jury has sentenced a Kentucky man to life in prison with the possibility of parole for the brutal murders of a couple who were kidnapped during a carjacking in Knoxville. Under the terms, 30-year-old George Thomas will still have to spend 51 years in prison before being eligible for parole.
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Normal Updated with video: Judge's order ensures George Thomas will die in prison for 2007 torture-slayings By Jamie Satterfield

Post by raine1953 on Wed Jun 05, 2013 2:20 am

KNOXVILLE - A judge today ensured 2007 torture-slaying defendant George Thomas will die in prison for his crimes.

Senior Judge Walter Kurtz sentenced Thomas to consecutive life terms — one for the death of Channon Christian and one for the death of Chris Newsom.
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Normal Re: Channon Christian & Hugh Newsom, Jr. carjacked,raped,tortured & murdered in 2007/Convictions of Davidson, Cobbins, Thomas, Coleman & Boyd have now been set aside after presiding Judge pleads guilty to misconduct/Coleman again found guilty

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