October 24, 2009 – 12:46pm
Judge Baumgartner is calling for a break for the day. The court will not be in session tomorrow.
He concludes by saying, “Go Vols!”
October 24, 2009 – 12:40pm
Price reads off several different crimes and asked Bradley if he’s the person who was convicted of the crimes. Bradley says he is. The crimes include felony theft and unauthorized use of a credit card. One of the crimes happened just 19 days ago.
October 24, 2009 – 12:28pm
Bradley says when he saw Davidson and the female he’s identified as Christian, the woman was shorter than Davidson. The other woman “wasn’t real skinny.” The arrived in a teal Grand Am.
He turned around and they walked so quickly he never saw them go in the house.
Bradley says Davidson was holding the woman’s shoulder.
Price points out that there was previous testimony that a teal Grand Am was in Kentucky on the weekend of the murders.
October 24, 2009 – 12:23pm
In cross examination by the state, Bradley says he saw Davidson just one other time.
He says on the night he saw the 4Runner it was there with two doors open and a police car with its light on, but he didn’t see any other vehicles there.
October 24, 2009 – 12:21pm
Bradley admits to being convicted of misdemeanor theft charges.
October 24, 2009 – 12:16pm
The defense calls Jeffrey Bradley, a resident on Chipman Street.
He says he saw police around the 4Runner SUV on Sunday. He says a night or two before that he was looking for his mother’s cat and saw Davidson get out of a car. He says Channon Christian and another female also get out of the car.
He says they went into the house.
Later, he identified Davidson and Christian when shown pictures of them in the police station.
October 24, 2009 – 12:09pm
The judge tells the jury to take a break.
October 24, 2009 – 12:04pm
The jury has several similar questions for Freeman, so he summarizes. Does she remember what the couple was wearing that night?
No, she says.
Did Channon and Chris appear to be by themselves? She says she didn’t see anyone else.
Did they appear to be under stress? No.
October 24, 2009 – 11:59am
Freeman repeats that she saw Christian and Newsom at the Exxon station between 9:30 and 10:00 on the Saturday they were abducted. They asked her for gas money, but she notes, they didn’t look like they needed money.
October 24, 2009 – 11:55am
Fitzgerald brings into evidence of phone records showing Freeman called Davidson at around 3 a.m. Sunday, the night of the abduction. The call lasts for just under two minutes.
October 24, 2009 – 11:48am
When Freeman got home, she says, Davidson called her. She told him to come by her apartment with the money in the afternoon, but he didn’t.
On Monday she went by the house, but when she saw some police looking around she went home.
On Tuesday she learned there was a body found in the house. She says she called Sutton.
October 24, 2009 – 11:44am
When Freeman arrives on Chipman Street she says she saw George Thomas walking down the street.
“I didn’t care for him,” she says. “He was, what I would call, creepy.”
At that point she went into Rhonda Dukes house and never went to Davidson’s house.
She was unable to go home the route she planned because there was a train stopped on the tracks. She says she later learned the train was stopped because a body had been found there.
October 24, 2009 – 11:38am
Freeman says she was expected Davidson to come to her apartment on the night of the abduction, but he didn’t show up.
Later, Freeman says, she called Davidson. She says he didn’t sound like himself, like he was busy. She told him he needed to slow down.
Freeman says Davidson promised to make the payment on Sunday, but he didn’t.
On Sunday morning she went to Davidson’s house on Chipman Street.
October 24, 2009 – 11:32am
The state is now asking Freeman questions about knowing Davidson, Cobbins, Thomas, and some of the others who have been associated with Davidson. She says they helped her move into her apartment at Washington Ridge Apartments.
She sold some of the furniture to Davidson, but he didn’t have enough money to pay for it. “We had a payment arrangement,” she said.
She also gave him several items, including some items for Sutton’s kids.
Freeman says she saw Christian and Newsom at the Exxon station at Magnolia and Cherry streets the night of the abduction.
She says they asked her for money because they ran out of gas. They were headed to Johnson City or Jefferson City.
October 24, 2009 – 11:20am
The judge is reviewing Davidson’s options to testify or not.
He reminds Davidson, “If you do you’re subject to cross examination.”
He tells Davidson the prior conviction for aggravated robbery could be brought up during questioning if he testifies, but other bad acts, including a prior conviction of carjacking and accusations he beat up Daphne Sutton, cannot be brought up.
Davidson has until Monday morning to decide.
“It’s your decision,” says Judge Baumgartner. “I’ll call on you Monday morning for an answer. Do you understand?”
“Yes sir,” Davidson says.
October 24, 2009 – 11:14am
Judge Baumgartner is now asking Davidson if he wishes to testify.
October 24, 2009 – 11:11am
The defense asks for dismissal on grounds that it failed to meet its burden of proof.
The judge denies the motion.
October 24, 2009 – 11:09am
Davidson’s attorneys confirm he’s considering testifying in his defense.
“He says he doesn’t know yet,” says Doug Trant.
I asked if Davidson’s testifying would be against the advice of his attorneys.
“You would assume correctly,” Trant says.
October 24, 2009 – 10:44am
The state rests.
The judge calls for a break. He says this one will be lengthy because there are some matters he has to take up that must be done outside the presence of the jury.
October 24, 2009 – 10:41am
More autopsy photos are shown. Attorney Manning, who fainted yesterday, leaves the courtroom just before they are shown.
October 24, 2009 – 10:16am
Eldridge asks if it’s possible Christian was alive Monday.
“Yes it’s possible,” Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan answers.
“After 2 a.m. Monday?” he asks.
“Yes, it’s possible she was alive.” she says.
October 24, 2009 – 10:09am
Defense attorney Eldridge begins his cross-examination questions of Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan. He asks about how Christian’s body was handled after it was discovered and the high temperatures in the house. She says there was an “unusual degree of decomposition of the body.”
October 24, 2009 – 10:02am
Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan says it’s difficult to put an exact time of death for Christian. It could have been any time between Sunday afternoon and Monday afternoon.
Once she lost oxygen she would have died in 3-5 minutes. How long it took to lose oxygen after being wrapped in the plastic bag is hard to say because it depends on how tightly wrapped the bag was around her head.
Was Christian conscious at the time if her death? “I can’t determine that,” Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan says.
October 24, 2009 – 9:52am
Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan returns to the stand. Assistant District Attorney Fitzgerald asks more questions to sharpen the medical examiner’s testimony of yesterday regarding how Davidson’s DNA would have gotten on Christian.
October 24, 2009 – 9:41am
The defense asks the judge to tell the jury to not use the lawyer’s fainting in any way as it deliberates the case.
When the jury comes in, the judge tells the jury to ignore state attorney Karen Manning’s fainting spell. “She’s fine,” he says.
October 24, 2009 – 9:31am
Court is in session.
David Eldridge is reminding the judge about the incident yesterday when the employee from the district attorney fainted. He says when she fainted, the photo being shown was one that the defense had objected to. He’s asking for the judge to declare a mistrial in the case because it was a prejudicial incident.
Judge Baumgartner says there’s no evidence that the presentation of the evidence is what caused the woman to become ill. He says he doesn’t see the situation as a basis for a mistrial.
October 24, 2009 – 9:25am
Will Davidson testify? A source tells me he may be seriously considering it.
October 24, 2009 – 9:23am
Former Knox County medical examiner Randy Pedigo is consulting for the defense.”The nature of forensic evidence is very complex,” he says.
October 24, 2009 – 9:21am
You can tell it’s game day. Several in the courthouse are dressed in orange.
Judge Baumgartner is expected to end today’s testimony around noon or 1:00.
The defendant and lawyers are in the courtroom now, so it looks like we will be starting soon.
October 24, 2009 – 8:57am
The jury is late to arrive at the courthouse because of the Race for Cure 5K, which is being run in downtown Knoxville. Day 6 of the Davidson trial should be underway soon.
We expect Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan, the medical examiner, to face cross examination from the defense when the trial resumes.
October 23, 2009 – 5:01pm
Judge Baumgartner is calling it a day. He says court will be in session for a half a day tomorrow. He says he believes the jury will be given the case to deliberate on Monday.
October 23, 2009 – 4:43pm
Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan tells the jury Christian was repeatedly raped and suffered repeated blunt force trauma to her in vaginal and rectum. Her lip was torn from her gums by something being forced into her mouth.
She was still alive when she was stuffed in the trash can and suffocated there.
October 23, 2009 – 4:35pm
Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan’s testimony has resumed. She says that many of the injuries to Christian happened several hours before her death.
October 23, 2009 – 4:15pm
An assistant in the district attorney’s office has fainted. The judge has asked everyone to clear the room to allow her to recover. Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan is attending to her.
October 23, 2009 – 4:12pm
Davidson appears to glance at the photos, then looks away.
“This is not just a rape,” says Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan as she describes the damage done to Channon Christian’s body.
October 23, 2009 – 3:59pm
Many more photos showing specific details are being used in this trial than in the Cobbins trial during the medical examiner’s testimony.
October 23, 2009 – 3:54pm
There was a white garbage bag that was put over Christian’s head and tied in the back. She suffocated.
October 23, 2009 – 3:49pm
The jury is back and Fitzgerald’s questioning of Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan has resumed. They are now showing photos taken in the Chipman Street home and Channon Christian’s body.
October 23, 2009 – 3:49pm
The courtroom is standing room only. A security officer says to me: “It almost makes me mad that people want to see this stuff.”
October 23, 2009 – 3:20pm
The judge has called for another break.
October 23, 2009 – 3:16pm
Newsom’s stomach was empty, indicating he hadn’t eaten within the last six hours before his death.
October 23, 2009 – 3:09pm
Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan says it’s not surprising that there was no sperm found in Newsom’s anus, even though there was semen found there. She says the high temperature of the fire when his body was burned would have degraded the sperm.
October 23, 2009 – 3:02pm
Blood samples collected from Newsom’s body were tested for drug and alcohol. No cocaine was found. Trace amounts of alcohol, marijuana and Adderall were found.
October 23, 2009 – 2:46pm
A mannequin has been brought out so that Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan can show the angles the bullets penetrated Newsoms’ body.
She says there’s no way to tell if the feet and hands were bound before or after being shot.
Fitzgerald suggests Newsom was bent over when he was shot in in the back, explaining the trajectory of bullet that struck him there.
Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan describes the blunt trauma to Newsom’s head, saying perhaps it came from his head hitting the ground after he was shot.
October 23, 2009 – 2:39pm
The medical examiner is being questioned about Newsom’s time of death. She says Newsom was shot between midnight and 1:45 a.m. Sunday.
Smoke was seen from the railroad tracks at 7:45 a.m., and she says that’s consistent with her findings.
October 23, 2009 – 2:28pm
Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan says Newsom was raped first. Within an hour or two he was then shot in the back and neck before being killed with the shot to the head. He was dead by the time his body was set on fire because there wan’t much evidence of carbon monoxide in his lungs.
October 23, 2009 – 2:04pm
Judge Baumgartner interrupts. “I think we need a little break,” he says.
October 23, 2009 – 1:58pm
Newsom was forced to walk to his death in bare feet and his underwear.
When the lights come on in the courtroom we see grim faces on the jurors.
October 23, 2009 – 1:53pm
Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan says Newsom was shot three times, in the neck, back, and head. The shot in the neck would have been survivable. The shot in the back lodged in the spine and would have paralyzed Newsom.
She describes condition of Newsom’s anal area, saying there were tears and lots of bruising. This, she says, “indicates anal penetration.”
October 23, 2009 – 1:46pm
Photos show Newsom was gagged with an ankle sock.
The medical examiner says the gunshot wound to the head severed the brain stem. The bullet was badly deformed as it passed by through the skull. She says it caused “instantaneous death.”
October 23, 2009 – 1:41pm
All the theories about what happened give way to the horrific reality of the crimes through the photos being shown to the jury.
October 23, 2009 – 1:36pm
The medical examiner is now discussing crime scene photos of Chris Newsom. The jury is seeing these gruesome photos, as well as the family members in the courtroom.
Newsom’s body is shown face up. It is badly charred from being set on fire. His feet are bound by a belt.
“The body was subjected to high heat,” Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan says. The fire badly damaged the bones and joints.
October 23, 2009 – 1:29pm
Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan describes the science of pathology. It’s her job to determine the official cause and manner of death when there has been an unattended, suspicious or violent death.
She says she has done more than 3000 autopsies.
October 23, 2009 – 1:19pm
Next on the stand is Dr. Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan, the chief medical examiner for Anderson and Knox counties.
October 23, 2009 – 1:18pm
Eldridge asks about the bleach found on Christian’s camisole. Bleach can degrade DNA?
“Yes,” Millsaps says.
October 23, 2009 – 1:06pm
Court resumes with more questions from Eldridge to Millsaps. He asks more questions about Christian’s underwear and the tests that could not determine an origin of DNA samples found on it.
October 23, 2009 – 12:00pm
Judge Baumgartner asks Eldridge how much more time he needs for questions. Eldridge answers that he has 15-20 minutes worth, so the judge calls for a lunch break.
Showing Channon Christians’s clothes with stains.
October 23, 2009 – 11:14am
Price turns the questions to the clothing Christian wore when she was abducted. One of the samples taken from her sweater had DNA from Cobbins.
A stain on her camisole did too.
October 23, 2009 – 10:57am
Millsaps continues her testimony after the break. She says a pair of pink underwear was found in a purse. It had DNA of Christian and unidentifiable sperm.
October 23, 2009 – 10:27am
The court is in recess. The medical examiner is in the building and will likely testify soon. That would explain why the courtroom is so crowded today.
October 23, 2009 – 10:11am
Millsaps also tested the floral fabric found with Christian in the garbage bags she was wrapped in. She says DNA was found matching Vanessa Coleman and Cobbins. There was also other DNA, but the results were inconclusive.
A pair of jeans tested was found with identifiable stains. DNA was found there belonging to Christian, Davidson, Cobbins. Christian’s blood was also found on the jeans.
October 23, 2009 – 9:49am
DNA found in a vaginal swab sample taken from Channon Christian belongs to Davidson, Millsaps says. There is an expectation that there is no other match in the world.
DNA found in an anal swab sample from Christian also came from Davidson.
DNA found in an oral swab sample from Christian came from Letalvis Cobbins.
DNA found on two stains on Christian’s camisole also came from Cobbins.
October 23, 2009 – 9:27am
When Millsaps continues, prosecutor Leland Price asks her about the difficulties in obtaining identifiable DNA samples.
“It can degrade for several reasons,” she says.
She cites sunlight, heat, moisture and bleach as some of the ways that can affect the samples.
October 23, 2009 – 9:23am
A juror brought testimony to a halt when he told the judge he knew Millsaps in middle school. The judge commended him for bringing that information forward and asked him if it affected his judgment of the case.
The juror says it won’t, so the judge allows Millsaps to continue testifying.
October 23, 2009 – 9:12am
The state’s case continues with Jennifer Millsaps, a special agent forensic scientist at the state crime lab.
She says her job is to identify blood, semen, and other bodily fluid evidence collected at crime scenes.
October 23, 2009 – 9:10am
The jury is entering the courtroom and we’re about to begin day 5 of the trial.
October 22, 2009 – 4:54pm
Parts of the interview have been edited out. Judge Baumgartner ruled earlier that the tape had to be edited to remove references to Davison’s prior crimes because they would be prejudicial to this case. The jury is not told this.
The defense does not have any cross examination questions for Agent Webb, so the judge decides to wrap up at this point for today.
October 22, 2009 – 4:33pm
Davidson claims he only talked to Christian briefly while she was in his house.
“Did you ever have sex with her?” Detective Flores asks.
“No,” Davidson answers.
“So we’ll not find your DNA anywhere on her body, on her person?”
October 22, 2009 – 4:03pm
Davidson changes his story. He claims Christian was taken into the house with a hoodie covering her face. He says Newsom never in house.
Davidson says he left at that point and walked down the street to smoke marijuana with a neighbor. When he returned, he said, he took off with Christian’s SUV.
Flores says he’s still confused by the sequence of events.
“I’m not acting like you’re stupid, okay?” Flores says. “Maybe it’s me who is stupid, okay?”
Davidson says, “You ain’t stupid, man. Come on.”
“Maybe I’m getting confused,” Flores answers.
“If you was stupid you wouldn’t be no detective, man,” Davidson says.
October 22, 2009 – 3:51pm
Davidson starts to get worried when he thinks about Coleman, Cobbins and Thomas now under arrest in Kentucky.
“I’m worried about them telling on me and I don’t want to tell on nobody else,” he says. “Dude left, he left me, man. See what I’m saying? So evidently they don’t give [expletive] about me.”
Davidson then changes his story and admits he know Christian was at his house.
He says the couple was tied up in the car when they drove up to the house.
“I knew they were gonna kill them, man. You hear me? Because they seen everything,” he says.
October 22, 2009 – 3:41pm
Flores tells Davidson he’s not being truthful.
“How do you figure that, man?” Davidson asks.
“You’re holding back a lot,” Flores tells him.
“If I tell you everything then I’m an accessory,” says Davidson.
“It’s got to be done to help yourself,” says Flores.
October 22, 2009 – 3:38pm
Flores asks Davidson, “Was she there to buy dope?”
“Who, the girl?” he replies. “I ain’t ever seen the girl before in my life, or the dude.”
October 22, 2009 – 3:28pm
Davidson claims he moved to get away from gangs.
He also says Daphne Sutton knows nothing about the crimes except what she’s seen on TV.
Flores reassures Davidson that he’s not trying to trick Davidson. “The reason I keep bringing up the days is for me,” he says.
Davidson is confused by the days. He says he’s not sure when he and Sutton went to Target after she picked him up at the Chipman Street house.
October 22, 2009 – 3:24pm
Davidson complains that his brother would come down from Kentucky, get some drugs and go back to sell it. But on the most recent trip, he brought Thomas and Coleman with him.
“He wasn’t supposed to bring the girl and dude with him. It was just supposed to be my brother, man,” he says.
October 22, 2009 – 3:09pm
Davidson tells Flores George Thomas shot Newsom. He also says his brother, Letalvis Cobbins, was in on it because he pushed his brother to get some money
October 22, 2009 – 3:06pm
The jury has returned and they are watching more of the interview made after Davidson’s arrest.
October 22, 2009 – 2:39pm
Davidson claims in the interview that he was hanging out while one of his “homies” was trying to get a lawyer for him, then he planned to turn himself into police with the lawyer.
The judge has ordered a break, so the interview tape has been stopped.
October 22, 2009 – 2:23pm
Davidson says he heard from Daphne Sutton about a dead body found near the railroad tracks, but didn’t know anything about it. He started asking people about, then his brother and George Thomas showed up in a 4Runner.
He admits driving the 4Runner to make drug deals, but at this point he claims not knowing anything about Christian in his house.
October 22, 2009 – 2:21pm
When asked to spell his brother’s name, Davidson can’t remember.
October 22, 2009 – 2:15pm
In the interview Davidson hesitates to tell Flores anything, saying he’s going to jail regardless of what he says.
“Ya’ll found a body in my house. I ain’t stupid,” he says.
“I aint had [expletive] to do with it,” he adds.
October 22, 2009 – 2:07pm
The interview with Davidson the jury is watching was conducted by Det. Ryan Flores on the afternoon of Jan. 11 2007.
Flores tells Davidson to listen a moment as his rights are read. Davidson says he already knows his rights, but Flores reads them anyway.
As Flores begins to question Davidson, he only shows concerned about the guns and drugs in his house.
“I sell dope, that’s what I do. I don’t kill people,” he says.
At first, Davidson says he hasn’t been to the Chipman Street house since the Friday before the abduction and murders.
October 22, 2009 – 1:55pm
Webb says in the interview Davidson’s story changed several times. In his stories he claimed he was not involved in the abductions and did not have sex with Christian.
Webb is asked if Davidson had ever met the victims before and he answered no.
The video tape of the interview is now being played for the jury. It runs about 2 1/2 hours long, Fitzgerald says.
October 22, 2009 – 1:49pm
ATF agent Forrest Webb has been brought to the stand to testify about the trace done on the firearms confiscated after the arrests.
Webb says the records didn’t show a chain of custody after they left the dealers who first sold them.
Webb also was involved in the interview of Davidson after he was arrested.
October 22, 2009 – 1:38pm
Gregory McKnight with the Knoxville Police Department is now testifying about how Davidson was brought into custody after his arrest.
Fitzgerald asks him a couple of times if Davidson was injured, or had been hit or slapped before being taken to the interview room. McKnight says he was not.
October 22, 2009 – 1:27pm
Littlejohn says she examined fabric that was collected as evidence in the case, including the floral print found with Christian’s body. She was able to do what she called a “fracture match” with the pieces found on Christian with others found in the house. She also found pattern matches with the fabric used to bound Newsom before he was shot and set on fire.
October 22, 2009 – 1:16pm
Court has resumed and Linda Littlejohn has been called to the stand. She is a forensic scientist in the microanalysis unit of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation crime lab.
October 22, 2009 – 12:16pm
After the jury left the courtroom, Judge Baumgartner reminded the spectators that only immediate family can wear buttons bearing the victims’ photos. He told the others they would have to remove their buttons.
October 22, 2009 – 11:53am
The court is taking a lunch break now.
October 22, 2009 – 11:47am
Eldridge gets Resig to repeat that she can’t say if the bullets that killed Newsom were fired from Davidson’s gun. He notes that the class characteristics are common with many firearms. She says, “That’s correct.”
In redirect, Fitzgerald asks which gun is most likely to have fired in more quick succession. Resig says the high standard revolver, the gun found in Davidson’s possession, would be because the other one had to be manually advanced when she tested it. The other gun had a mechanical problem.
October 22, 2009 – 11:34am
Resig says three bullets found in Newsom’s body were tested. The tests show that two of the bullets were fired from the same gun, the one found on Davidson. She is unable to say for sure if the third bullet came from the same gun because it was too damaged.
October 22, 2009 – 11:09am
Patricia Resig, who is a firearms analyst in the Knoxville Police Department’s forensics lab, has taken the stand after the break.
She is first asked about her credentials and how a revolver operates, including the distinct markings made on bullet when the weapon fires.
She then describes the weapons she examined.
October 22, 2009 – 10:40am
The court is in recess.
October 22, 2009 – 10:33am
A juror wants to know if it is normal procedure to wait several hours to verify a print match? Schade says it could be, but he can’t answer that secifically.
Would movement by the bags inhibit being able to identify the prints? He says it could be because of the material and the fragile nature of prints.
Are you absolutely certain that the palm prints on bags 3, 4 and 5 belong to Davidson? Schade says yes.
Were the bags used or new? Schade says they appeared to be lawn bags and looked fresh.
October 22, 2009 – 10:26am
The defense is trying to poke holes in Schade’s fingerprint analysis by pulling out studies that question the reliability of analysis as a science.
October 22, 2009 – 10:15am
Defense attorney Eldridge: “You don’t know when prints on bags were placed?”
Eldridge also gets Schade to reiterate that the two bags closest to Christian did not have identifiable prints.
October 22, 2009 – 10:11am
The floral fabric found with Christian’s body is brought up again. Schade says it was not a good candidate for recovering prints.
October 22, 2009 – 10:09am
Schade is asked about the reliability of fingerprint analysis. He says identical twins can have the same DNA but will have different prints.
“In 100 years we’ve never found two people with the same prints,” he says.
October 22, 2009 – 10:01am
Schade tells the jury he and Dan Crenshaw found a palm print of Davidson’s left palm on the third, fourth and fifth of the five bags used to wrap Christian’s body. A sixth bag was smaller and was around her head.
October 22, 2009 – 9:54am
Schade says he processed a 9 mm magazine that was found at the Chipman house. He says he found a match with Davidson and Cobbins on it.
October 22, 2009 – 9:45am
Schade tells prosecutor Price that a study by the ATF in the 1990s showed that fingerprints were recovered from firearms only about 10 percent of the time.
He also describes the difficulty of getting identifiable prints from paper and plastic.
October 22, 2009 – 9:40am
Schade also took a DNA sample from Davidson and he analyzed fingerprint evidence.
October 22, 2009 – 9:29am
Testimony begins this morning with Tim Schade of the Knoxville Police Department forensics unit on the stand. He’s testifying about items recovered from the medical examiner’s officer after Channon Christian’s autopsy, including the rape kit, the camisol she was wearing, and floral fabric found in the garbage bags with her in the trash can where her body was found.
October 22, 2009 – 9:26am
Court is back in session.
October 22, 2009 – 9:18am
We expect that Davidson’s statements to police after his arrest will be entered into evidence today.
October 22, 2009 – 9:13am
Today’s session is getting off to a late start. There’s still no sign of the judge in the courtroom.
October 21, 2009 – 4:38pm
The judge says the next witness will have lengthy testimony and he’s had enough for the day, so he’s dismissing the jury for today.
October 21, 2009 – 4:31pm
Waggoner told the state he found a white box under a bed in the Lebanon, Ky. home. In it was a white head band.
In the defense’s cross examination, David Eldridge asks Waggoner about the discovery of a gun under the bed after Cobbins and Thomas were taken into custody.
Waggoner says a woman who was helping Latasha Hayes clean the house told police that after the arrests, Coleman returned to the house and hid the gun in the box under the bed.
October 21, 2009 – 4:09pm
ATF special agent Barney Waggoner is testifying about the arrest of Cobbins, Thomas, and Coleman in Lebanon, Ky., as well as the collection of evidence there.
Waggoner and other officers tracked down Stacy Lawson, who led them to the suspects at the home of friend Natasha Hayes.
Waggoner says items belonging to the two victims were found there.
Officers also confiscated a computer.
October 21, 2009 – 4:06pm
Nelson says the bleach found in the Chipman Street house is similar and consistent with the substance found on Christian’s camisol. He can’t say the substance specifically came from that bottle.
October 21, 2009 – 3:48pm
A Tennessee Bureau of Investigation crime lab specialist, Randall Nelson, has taken the stand. He works in the microanalysis unit.
Nelson examined stains on Christian’s camisol. He says he found on one stain a substance that was most likely to be bleach.
October 21, 2009 – 3:37pm
FItzgerald has gone to great lengths with Ndiaye to show that the call from Christian’s phone could not have come from the Knoxville Center area.
She had been in the West Town Mall area, then went to her friend Kara Sowards’ apartment, and then to Chipman Street.
October 21, 2009 – 3:25pm
Ndiaye says there are 120 cell towers around the county. The location of the last call from Channon Christian’s phone was made on Jan. 7 at 12:33 a.m. and lasted 31 seconds. It came from a tower on Cherry Street.
October 21, 2009 – 3:00pm
Isaac Ndiaye, a radio frequency engineer with US Cellular, has been called to the stand after the break. He’s describing technical aspects of cell towers, and how the signal works and is measured.
October 21, 2009 – 2:48pm
The court is taking a break.
October 21, 2009 – 2:16pm
More testimony now from another cell phone representative. This time, Adam McChesney, with US Cellular, is on the stand. He’s there to testify about more phone records for Channon Christian’s phone.
He says the last call made from her phone was to her parents at 12:33 a.m.
Her voicemail was accessed at 3:01 a.m.
October 21, 2009 – 1:56pm
Eric Tyrell, a representative from Sprint, is now providing testimony in the same manner as the last witness, this time for Lemaricus Davidson’s cell phone.
He was asked if his phone ever called Newsom or Christian. He said there are no records of any calls made to either phone.
October 21, 2009 – 1:43pm
Chris Massengill, a Verizon store manager, has taken the stand. He’s asked if he has access to cell phone records and he answers yes.
Chris Newsom’s records are introduced into evidence.
Massengill describes the records in Newsom’s bill from Dec. 26, 2006 to Jan. 7, 2007.
Fitzgerald is asking about calls to or from Newsom’s phone.
October 21, 2009 – 1:40pm
A juror asks if Suttles was made aware of anything going on in the house before the details of the murders were known. She answers no.
October 21, 2009 – 1:36pm
When asked about the shoes Davidson was wearing, Suttles points to the Nike Shox that belonged to Newsom.
In cross-examination, Trant asks Suttles about a shoplifting arrest and her drug use. She admits to both and says she’s been in drug rehab.
October 21, 2009 – 1:31pm
On the Tuesday after the couple’s abduction, Sutton’s mom called and asked to talk to Sutton. Suttles says she gave the phone to Sutton. Then later after getting off the phone, Sutton was frantic.
Suttles asks Davidson to leave and offers him a ride. They take him to the Ridgebrook area.
Later, Suttles took Sutton to talk to the authorities.
October 21, 2009 – 1:19pm
Suttles is asked about the route she took to visit Sutton at Chipman St.
Suttles used a roommate’s cell phone and car. She says that on the weekend of the murders, she found out that Davidson was looking for Sutton. She went with Sutton to Chipman Street to get Sutton’s stuff and waited in the car when Sutton went into the house.
She says Sutton had some clothes that Davidson had given her.
Later that night, a “greyish” SUV showed up in her apartment complex playing loud music. Davidson was in it. He came to the apartment and talked to Sutton.
October 21, 2009 – 1:10pm
The afternoon session has begun. Kassie Suttles has been called to the stand. She is a friend of Daphne Sutton.
October 21, 2009 – 11:52am
Smith’s testimony is done and the judge has dismissed the jury for lunch.
October 21, 2009 – 11:42am
Price walks Smith through a series of photos that Smith took at the Reynolds Stree house. Smith identifies items that were collected there, including a hoodie, cell phone charger and tennis shoes.
A handgun was found in the sweatshirt pocket.
October 21, 2009 – 11:34am
Next on the stand is Gerald Smith, a forensics specialist with the Knoxville Police Department. He says he was called to Reynolds Street, where Davidson had been taken into custody, on Jan. 11, 2007.
Smith collected evidence there and photographed the scene.
October 21, 2009 – 11:33am
Davidson would sometimes provide drugs in exchange for borrowing a car, Sutton says.
October 21, 2009 – 11:30am
Trant asks Sutton about seeing Davidson talk to someone in a 4Runner. Yes, she says, she saw him talk to someone. The date of that encounter is not given.
On rebuttal, she later says it was a maroon 4Runner.
October 21, 2009 – 11:26am
In defense attorney Doug Trant’s cross-examination he asks Sutton if she was a dancer at “Last Chance.”
Judge Baumgartner cuts him off, saying, “We’re not going there.”
October 21, 2009 – 11:15am
As questioning resumes Sutton is asked about a black revolver.
“Yes, I’d seen it before,” she answers.
But she says she’s not seen the silver gun before.
Has she ever seen Newsom or Christian before? “No,” she says.
Sutton’s then asked about a burglary last year. Her boyfriend at the time was charged, but she was not.
October 21, 2009 – 10:51am
The court is taking a break.
October 21, 2009 – 10:49am
Fitzgerald asks Sutton if she knew Eric Boyd.
“I didn’t like him,” Sutton says.
She adds that Davidson told her he was Muslim and “didn’t like white people.”
October 21, 2009 – 10:39am
Sutton is being shown the video tape of the Chipman Street house that was previous introduced into evidence during Joe Cox’s testimony. She points out different items and identifies them. She says a blue bandanna on a table belonged to Davidson.
Sutton is asked about some graffiti painted on a wall. She says after she had an argument with Davidson just before Christmas she left for work. When she returned Davidson claimed someone had broken into the house, stole some money and painted “Nigga” on the wall.
She says she doesn’t believe the story because if someone wanted to make a racist statement they wouldn’t have spelled the word that way.
October 21, 2009 – 10:35am
Fitzgerald asks Sutton about the 4Runner that she said she saw Davidson leave in. Sutton points out where she saw a Tennessee sticker and a North Face sticker on the back window. These are the stickers that were missing when the Christian family and friends found the vehicle during their search for Channon.
October 21, 2009 – 10:32am
Sutton describes a set of floral sheets that were given to her. “I didn’t like them so I stuck them in a closet,” she says.
October 21, 2009 – 10:24am
By Tuesday. Sutton finds out from her mother about the body found on Chipman Street. She asks Davidson about it but he claims he didn’t do it.
Davidson blames his brother. Later, she discovers Davidson’s keys and a gun. She suspects he has lied about being locked out of the house and perhaps more.
She also noticed he’s wearing new shoes. He claims he bought them, but she notices they seem a little too small.
When Fitzgerald shows her Newsom’s shoes Sutton says those were what Davidson was wearing.
October 21, 2009 – 10:21am
Sutton says late Sunday night (the night after the abduction), Davidson said he needed place to stay because he’d been locked out at Chipman. She gets him.
Later, she and her friends drop him off on Western Ave.
October 21, 2009 – 10:19am
Sutton’s testimony has been consistent so far with her testimony in the Cobbins case.
October 21, 2009 – 10:07am
Sutton says she learned that Davidson was looking for her. After they talked she went to the Chipman Street house to get some of her things.
She says that Davidson told her to wait 30 minutes, which she interpreted to mean he had another girl there. When she pulled up to the house, Davidson was standing at the door. Cobbins and Thomas were also there.
When she tried to walk through the house, she says Davidson grabbed her and said, “What are you doing? This is my house.”
Sutton says she was not able to enter the bathroom and kitchen. She was told Vanessa Coleman was in there.
As she was preparing to leave, Davidson gave her a bag of used clothes. He claims he got the items from Planet Exchange. Among the items was a red skirt, which was surprising because he had never wanted her to wear red.
Davidson leaves in Christian’s 4Runner.
October 21, 2009 – 10:01am
Sutton moved back into the Chipman Street house, but moved out again on Jan. 5, 2007. At that time, Davidson, Coleman, Cobbins and Thomas were living there.
She walked to a nearby gas station and called a friend to pick her up.
October 21, 2009 – 10:00am
The jury has returned to the courtroom. There’s been no mention of why the sudden break was needed.
October 21, 2009 – 9:39am
Sutton describes visits from Cobbins and others while she lived on Chipman Street.
Sutton was describing how she moved out of the house the Wednesday after Christmas when the judge abruptly interrupted her and asked the jury to take a break.
October 21, 2009 – 9:34am
Sutton says she also took Oxycontin.
She first met Davidson in September or October 2006.
Sutton has two children. At the time of the murders they were two and three years old. She tells Fitzgerald she moved in together with Davidson and her children in the house on Chipman Street.
October 21, 2009 – 9:32am
Daphne Sutton, Davidson’s ex-girlfriend, is now on the stand.
ADA Fitzgerald is asking her about some of the people of who have already testified or has been mentioned in testimony.
October 21, 2009 – 9:30am
Troutt says Davidson called her on Jan. 6, 2007, but she didn’t answer until the next day.
Trant asks, “He was trying to get her back, wasn’t he?”
She answers yes.
October 21, 2009 – 9:27am
Troutt tells defense attorney Trant she took Oxycontin.
“Was it mostly white females who were taking it?” he asks.
“It was everyone,” she answers.
October 21, 2009 – 9:22am
Troutt says she never saw Newsom and Christian or Christian’s vehicle before, and only knew of them through media reports after the murders.
The state is using Troutt to show that the couple never hung out with Davidson or was seen on Chipman Street before the abduction and murders.
October 21, 2009 – 9:17am
Kaylor Troutt is the first to take the stand this morning. She says she’s a friend and co-worker of Daphne Sutton.
She met Davidson through Sutton and later lived for about two weeks in the Chipman Street house in December 2006.
October 21, 2009 – 9:16am
Daphne Sutton in the building, so she will likely testify today. She is Davidson’s ex-girlfriend.
October 21, 2009 – 9:15am
Court is in session.
October 21, 2009 – 9:03am
The state is scheduled to continue presenting its case soon. The lawyers for both sides are ready to go, but the judge, defendant and jury have not yet arrived.
October 20, 2009 – 5:03pm
Jason Mynatt is the next witness for the state. He says he got a new cell phone around Christmas of 2006. After that he started getting several wrong number calls.
He says he didn’t know any of the suspects or their friends, or the victims.
After his testimony the judge says they will break for the evening.
October 20, 2009 – 4:49pm
A drug customer of Lemaricus Davidson and a friend of Daphne Sutton are brought in to testify about drug sales and hand guns.
October 20, 2009 – 4:38pm
Another juror asks if anyone in the house smoked cigarettes and what brands. Lawson names a few brands, including Newports. She says Cobbins, Coleman and Thomas smoked that brand. She doesn’t mention Davidson.
A pack of Newports was found in Christian’s SUV.
October 20, 2009 – 4:32pm
The judge has asked the jury to leave the courtroom, but he says they’re not taking a recess. He wants to ask Lawson some questions that the jury is asking, but he doesn’t want the jury to hear her answers until he’s had a chance to make sure she doesn’t say anything he’s previously ruled would be prejudicial to Davidson’s defense.
He wants to know if Lawson had any knowledge of crimes being planned. She answers no. He then asks why she was uncomfortable and left Knoxville on Jan. 2. When she answers that Davidson pulled a gun on her, he explains that’s what he doesn’t want her to say in court.
October 20, 2009 – 4:24pm
In his cross, Trant asked Lawson, “When did you start helping law enforcement? After you realized you might get in trouble”
“Yes,” she answered.
Trant asks her if she went to Knoxville to buy drugs, but she denied that.
He also asked her about drug use. She admitted smoking marijuana while in Knoxville and taking Oxycontin once.
When asked about drug sales in the house, she said she saw people come and go at the house, but “I never seen drugs exchanged.”
October 20, 2009 – 4:18pm
Lawson says she left Knoxville on Jan. 2. She next heard from Cobbins, Thomas and Coleman when they arrived in Kentucky on the 10th.
Soon, she learned, they were wanted by the police. She read reports about the crimes in Knoxville on Knoxville news Web sites.
The next day, police and the ATF stopped her. At first, she refused to say where they could find her friends, but she later told them.
Price asked Lawson if she had ever seen Christian and Newsom on her trips to Knoxville. She also says she never saw Christian’s SUV in the neighborhood.
October 20, 2009 – 3:56pm
Stacy Lawson, of Lebanon, Ky., says she was a friend of Lemaricus Davidson and Letalvis Cobbins, and was George Thomas’ girlfriend.
She says she went to Knoxville three times with Cobbins, Thomas, and others just before and after Christmas 2006. They stayed with Davidson and Daphne Sutton on Chipman Street.
Sutton had moved out by the time of the third trip on Dec. 28.
Lawson describes for Price several weapons she saw in the house and one that she fired on New Year’s Eve.
October 20, 2009 – 3:49pm
Mitchell says he went to the house to collect the rent in January 2007, but Davidson told him to come back later.
After a day or two Mitchell returned, but discovered the house was taped off by the police.
October 20, 2009 – 3:46pm
James Mitchell, who managed rentals for the owner of the Chipman Street house, has taken the stand after the break. He rented the house to Lemaricus Davidson and Daphne Sutton.
The one year lease agreement is dated Nov. 1, 2006.
Mitchell says Davidson, Sutton and her two children were going to live there.
October 20, 2009 – 3:20pm
The court is taking another break.
October 20, 2009 – 3:08pm
A lot of time is being spent with Deena Christian to identify items that were found in the Chipman Street house and that had been taken from Channon’s SUV.
October 20, 2009 – 2:55pm
Deena describes frustration in search for daughter, saying, “Nobody would help us.”
After Chris Newsom’s body was discovered, everybody got involved in a search for Channon.
“Everyone went crazy,” says Deena.
October 20, 2009 – 2:51pm
After the ping report from the cell tower, the family set up a grid search in the area. That’s when they located the 4Runner.
Deena says she was called down to unlock the car for police.
She describes the front seat backs were leaned back and mud was everywhere in the back, not anything like the condition the vehicle would normally be in.
October 20, 2009 – 2:49pm
ADA Fitzgerald asks Deena Christian if Channon knew any of the suspects or others, like Daphne Sutton. No, she says, she would have known if Channon knew any of those people and she never spoke of them.
October 20, 2009 – 2:45pm
By Sunday morning they had still not heard from Channon, Mrs. Christian said. She kept calling Channon’s cell phone.
When the manager of the shoe store where Channon worked called and asked why Channon hadn’t shown up for work, Mrs. Christian said she knew there was a reason to worry.
The family called the sheriff’s office and filed a report of their missing daughter. At the advice of the sheriff’s office, they called the cell phone company to find the location of last ping from a cell phone tower. It turned out to be at Cherry St. in East Knoxville.
October 20, 2009 – 2:38pm
Mrs. Christian says Channon called home around 5 on the day of her disappearance. Said she was going to party with Chris.
She the describes her growing concern later when she doesn’t hear from Channon. “I just kept getting this feeling that something’s wrong.”
October 20, 2009 – 2:33pm
When asked about Channon’s 4Runner SUV, Deena Christian says, “It was clean. Her daddy was a freak about a clean car.”
October 20, 2009 – 2:28pm
“She was just beautiful,” Deena Christian says about her daughter.
Fitzgerald asks about drug use. Mrs. Christian says she knew her daughter occasionally took Adderall when cramming for tests. She also says her son has a prescription for it.
When asked about getting drugs, she pointed out that you didn’t have to go East Knoxville to get it. Her kids were even offered it when they attended Cedar Bluff Middle School.
October 20, 2009 – 2:25pm
Deena Christian, Channon’s mother, is the next witness for the state.
October 20, 2009 – 2:03pm
The defense has two quick questions about where Chris got his marijuana and Adderall. For both questions, Mary Newsom replies that she didn’t know he had used them.
At that point she is dismissed and the judge calls for a break.
October 20, 2009 – 1:54pm
Mary Newsom says Chris was particular about the shoes he wore. He frequently bought shoes and spent a lot of time picking them out.
“We still have a row of shoes under his bed that he wore,” she says.
She identifies the shoes that Chris owned that were later found with Davidson. She identifies the receipt from the purchase, saying Chris bought them about six weeks earlier.
October 20, 2009 – 1:51pm
Fitzgerald asks additional questions about Chris, seemingly to make a point that the victims were kidnapped and taken to East Knoxville, and they didn’t go there seeking drugs. That’s to counterbalance what is apparently a defense strategy to offer an alternate theory of how the couple wound up dead on Chipman Street.
October 20, 2009 – 1:48pm
Fitzgerald asks Mary Newsom if she knew Chris had used Adderall or smoked marijuana. She says she never knew of that until the trial.
Traces of those drugs were found in his body during the autopsy.
October 20, 2009 – 1:44pm
Mary Newsom, the mother of Chris Newsom, has taken the stand. Assistant District Attorney Fitzgerald asks her about her son. She describes some of the work he did and his relationship with Channon Christian.
“Chris seemed to be to totally on Cloud 9,” she says about the couple’s relationship.
October 20, 2009 – 1:41pm
The judge has two questions from jurors about the cloth found near Newsom’s body and with Christians body. But the judge says a future witness will address the matter, so Joe Cox won’t be asked to answer the questions.
October 20, 2009 – 1:35pm
Defense attorney Eldridge asks Joe Cox about a weigh scale that had a powdery residue. Eldridge wants to know if that could have been used to measure out drugs, but Cox doesn’t try to speculate how it’s used.
Cox is also asked about some items in the house that were not processed for fingerprints.
Earlier, Cox had said anything that the forensics team thought might have identifiable fingerprints was analyzed.
October 20, 2009 – 1:23pm
On the tape the jurors are seeing, a police officer opens the trash can lid. Cox notes that Channon Christian’s arm is visible.
Family members are also seeing the tape. Channon’s parents are visibly upset.
October 20, 2009 – 1:06pm
The state continues its questioning of Joe Cox, the forensics specialist with the Knoxville Police Department.
The jury is being shown a video tape he shot at the Chipman Street house as he narrates.
October 20, 2009 – 1:05pm
The jury is returning from lunch.
October 20, 2009 – 12:02pm
The state also wants to introduce a crime scene video, but that will have to wait until after a lunch break.
October 20, 2009 – 11:49am
Several of the items seen in the photos are now being introduced into evidence.
October 20, 2009 – 11:30am
Among the items found was Channon Christian’s purse, a burnt cell phone and burnt driver’s license.
October 20, 2009 – 11:15am
Other items seen in the photos:
Weight scales with white powder.
An air mattress with a red stain. Also in the bedroom is an iPod belonging to Channon Christian. On it is engraved, “We love you, Mom and Dad.”
In the bathroom is a DVD of the movie “The Manchurian Candidate.” It had been rented from the Lebanon, Ky. public library.
A gas can is next to the refrigerator in the kitchen.
.22 cartridges are all over the house. A gun cleaning kit is also seen.
A spray bleach cleaner is seen in the kitchen.
Several filled garbage bags are strewn about the house. Some bags contain items belonging to Channon Christian.
October 20, 2009 – 11:05am
Joe Cox, a forensics specialist with the Knoxville Police Department, is walking the prosecution through a series of photos taken at 2316 Chipman St.
Cox photographed and videographed the scene on the afternoon of Jan. 9, 2007.
The interior of the home was littered with clothes, fast food wrappers, and other debris. There were also weapons and ammunition left behind.
October 20, 2009 – 10:26am
The court is taking a break.
October 20, 2009 – 10:20am
David Eldridge begins his cross-examination of Sgt. Debow.
He asks about the other units involved in apprehending Davidson and the armored “hot zone” vehicle they used. It was driven right up to the Crenshaw house and to the window of the room where Davidson was holed up.
October 20, 2009 – 10:13am
Questioning shifts to the apprehension on Davidson in an empty house on Carrick Street. Sgt. Debow was also involved in that.
He says the SWAT members were heavily armed and had an armored vehicle.
Debow describes Davidson’s arrest. They had planned a tear gas attack if he had put up resistance, but he didn’t.
Debow says Davidson was talkative.
October 20, 2009 – 10:08am
After securing the scene, Debow says he noticed a trash can in the back room.
“It appeared out of shape. It looked like someone was in there,” he says.
That’s where Channon Christian’s body was found.
A photo of the opened trash can is shown in court. Several people, including jurors, are seeing it for the first time and they are visibly shaken.
October 20, 2009 – 9:59am
Knoxville Police Department Sgt. Keith DeBow is now on the stand. He’s testifying about the search warrant and plan to enter into the Chipman Street house. He says he was the first officer to enter the house.
October 20, 2009 – 9:55am
A juror asks if there any possibility whatsoever that the prints don’t match Davidson.
Crenshaw replies that if he is even just 99.9 percent sure of the match he won’t make it. He’s 100 percent sure that the prints matched Davidson.
October 20, 2009 – 9:50am
Eldridge questions the methodology of fingerprint analysis and its subjective nature.
Crenshaw replies, “I have to be 100 percent sure before I make a match.”
October 20, 2009 – 9:45am
Under Knoxville Police Department policy, print identification requires verification by another analyst.
October 20, 2009 – 9:35am
Eldridge shifts his questioning to Crenshaw’s credentials and the procedures used to collect prints.
October 20, 2009 – 9:31am
Eldridge has several questions for Crenshaw about not being able to find identifiable prints on most of the plastic bags that Channon Christian was put into before being dumped in a garbage can.
Only an identifiable palm print was found on one bag, belonging to Davidson. No identifiable fingerprints were found.
October 20, 2009 – 9:29am
A prescription bottle of Adderral belonging to Channon Christian, as well as her credit card, are introduced as evidence. No identifiable prints were found on them.
October 20, 2009 – 9:23am
Eldridge: “Did you ever process Chris Newsom’s truck?”
No, says Crenshaw: “It never arrived at the (police) pound.”
October 20, 2009 – 9:20am
In defense attorney Eldridge’s cross, he raises questions about a bottle of hydrocodone found in 4Runner. Crenshaw says he didn’t fingerprint the bottle.
October 20, 2009 – 9:16am
Prosecutor Price asked Crenshaw about a palm print from Davidson that was found on one of the garbage bags that Channon Christian was wrapped in. Price wanted to know if the print was left as something heavy was lifted in the bag.
The defense objected twice to how the question was asked, saying Crenshaw would not be qualified to answer that question. After a bit of wrangling, Price was allowed to ask the question. Judge Baumgartner reminded the defense that they would be allowed to cross-examine Crenshaw.
October 20, 2009 – 9:11am
Crenshaw says photos were found in the Chipman Street house that belonged to the victims. One of photographs had a thumbprint from Davidson.
October 20, 2009 – 9:10am
There’s additional security today in the courthouse, including the FBI.
October 20, 2009 – 9:05am
Court is in session.
Knoxville Police fingerprint analyst Dan Crenshaw was on the stand at the end of yesterday’s session. He’s taking the stand to resume his testimony.
October 20, 2009 – 8:58am
Day two of the trial is scheduled to start shortly. Lawyers and family members are beginning to enter the courtroom.
Don’t forget that you can also watch the trial live in streaming video at http://www.wate.com/global/Category.asp?C=173163.
October 19, 2009 – 5:08pm
After the jury leaves, the judge admonishes someone in the audience for having a cell phone that rang during the trial. The phone had been confiscated, but he returned it, along with a $20 fine.
October 19, 2009 – 5:05pm
The judge is telling the jury he will take a break at this point and resume tomorrow morning. He reminds the jurors to not watch any local news and be careful to avoid the news briefs that sometimes appear between entertainment programs.
October 19, 2009 – 4:58pm
Crenshaw also tested the garbage bags that were found with Christian’s body in the Chipman Street home. He says a palm print found on one of the bags was compared to several people and a match was found with Davidson.
October 19, 2009 – 4:54pm
Crenshaw says that one of the items he tested for fingerprints was a bank statement that had been found in the 4Runner. The prints belonged to the defendant, LeMaricus Davidson.
October 19, 2009 – 4:24pm
Dan Crenshaw, with the Knoxville Police Department’s forensic lab, is called to testify about his fingerprint analysis of evidence.
Crenshaw went to Chipman Street at 2:19 a.m. on Monday to where the 4Runner had been found. He took pictures of SUV and took exterior fingerprints.
October 19, 2009 – 4:21pm
Kileen Bible takes the stand for a few questions. She lived near Chipman St. on the night of the crimes.
She says the following day she told Knoxville police officers she’d never seen the 4Runner before that was parked near her house.
October 19, 2009 – 4:19pm
Judge Baumgartner asks the jury if it wants to take break. All heads nod no, so he let’s the session continue.
The judge says today’s session will continue for about another hour.
October 19, 2009 – 4:09pm
Hodge says her analysis shows that the two soil samples collected by Agent Watson showed that gasoline was present. She said that the gasoline would have had to have been put there within seven days for it to remain present in the soil.
October 19, 2009 – 4:03pm
Special Agent Laura Hodge, with the microanalysis division of the state crime lab, is next to take the stand.
October 19, 2009 – 4:02pm
Two questions come from the jury. One is if there was any blood evidence found on the strips of cloth. The judge answers by saying that the state and prosecution agreed to stipulate the cloth was not tested.
The other question was whether or not the cloth was tied in knots. Officer Whitfield says it was.
October 19, 2009 – 3:58pm
In cross examination, defense attorney Eldridge asks Officer Whitfield if his bare hand is seen in a photo holding a piece of evidence, a dog leash that Whitfield had earlier said was found at the scene. Officer Whitfield answers yes, it is his.
October 19, 2009 – 3:55pm
With Officer Whitfield’s testimony, several pieces of evidence are introduced. Among them are strips of cloth and other items described as fire debris.
The cloth has a floral design.
October 19, 2009 – 3:47pm
Officer Russell Whitfield, with the Knoxville Police Department’s forensic unit, describes some of the evidence he collected at the site where Newsom’s body was found.
October 19, 2009 – 3:40pm
Agent Watson describes how the dog pointed him to places where evidence was found of hydrocarbons, a component of gasoline, and how he collected it.
The evidence was sealed and taken to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation crime lab in Nashville.
October 19, 2009 – 3:33pm
Special Agent Robert Watson, a bomb and arson specialist with the state fire marshal’s office, has taken the stand. At the time of the murders he had a K-9 dog that was trained to work in bomb and fire scenes.
He and his dog were called to the railroad tracks where Newsom’s body was found.
October 19, 2009 – 3:26pm
J.D. Ford, a locomotive engineer for Norfolk Southern, tells the court he was running a train on Sunday morning when he saw something that made him think it looked like a body lying next to the track.
“Dude, that’s a body!” he says he said to the conductor.
He and the conductor stopped the train to check to make sure it was a body.
He walked up to 30-40 feet of the body, close enough to confirm it was one, before calling police.
October 19, 2009 – 3:23pm
Hugh Newsom denied that he said anything to Trant during the break, before the judge admonished the gallery for doing so.
October 19, 2009 – 3:12pm
Roy Thurman is next on the witness stand. He worked as a sandblaster near the Chipman Street area and was working the Sunday that police say Newsom was murdered.
Early that Sunday morning he said he saw some smoke coming from near the railroad tracks.
October 19, 2009 – 3:06pm
Arnold says at about 1:45 a.m. on the night of the abduction of Newsom and Christian he was watching television. He says he heard three pops and at first he thought it might have been kids playing with fireworks because it was shortly after New Year’s Day.
Arnold says he never met anyone living at the Chipman Street home where Christian’s body was found. He never saw the couple in the neighborhood or see their SUV there.
October 19, 2009 – 3:02pm
After the break, the state calls Jerome Arnold to the stand. He lived on Chipman Street at the time of the crimes.
October 19, 2009 – 2:36pm
Trant takes over questioning Jenkins, particularly over what he saw as the SUV drove by.
After that, the court takes a recess.
October 19, 2009 – 2:31pm
After his co-workers arrived they left Waste Connections to do their job, Jenkins said.
Then, after returning, Jenkins said he noticed the SUV was parked again on Chipman Street. He and one of the co-workers pulled up next to the 4Runner because they thought it might be stolen. They checked it out because it “seemed out of place.”
October 19, 2009 – 2:24pm
Jenkins says he sat in the parking lot of Waste Connections for several minutes when his co-workers failed to show up on time. He then walked to a nearby convenience store to get a snack and call one of his co-workers.
Waste Connections is on Chipman Street near the house where Christian’s body was found and near the railroad tracks where Newsom’s body was found.
During that time he’s able to see a silver 4Runner come and go. He says there were four black men in the SUV. He says they gave a “mean mug” look at him.
“It made me feel uneasy,” Jenkins says.
Jenkins adds that the direction the vehicle went and its slow speed struck him as odd.
October 19, 2009 – 2:19pm
Sowards is dismissed.
Xavier Jenkins, an employee of Waste Connections, takes the stand. He was working the third shift on the night of the abduction.
October 19, 2009 – 2:17pm
Rather than ask the question from the juror, Judge Baumgartner says he is told the answer will come from a future witness.
October 19, 2009 – 2:17pm
A juror has a question to ask, so it is being written down for the judge to review.
October 19, 2009 – 2:10pm
Defense attorney Trant says the couple was at the Exxon on Magnolia. He asks if Sowards knew about that and would that be a surprise. She says yes, it would be a surprise.
Trant then asks Sowards about a marijuana pipe that was found in her apartment. She says it didn’t belong to her.
He also asks about a bottle of prescription pills that didn’t belong to Christian that was found in Christian’s SUV. Again, Sowards said she didn’t know anything about it.
October 19, 2009 – 1:51pm
The state brings into evidence Channon Christian’s purse and shoes that she had with her the night she was abducted.
October 19, 2009 – 1:44pm
Sowards tells Price she knew right away it was Christian’s SUV when they saw it, but she was still hoping it wasn’t.
She said she had always heard the area was not a good neighborhood and she was concerned that Christian would have been there.
The state is making a point that Christian or Newsom would never voluntarily go to the Cherry St. area.
October 19, 2009 – 1:38pm
Sowards says several friends tried to contact the couple when they didn’t show up at the party. Later, when she got back to her apartment she noticed that Newsom’s truck was parked there, but there was no sign of him or Christian.
Sowards says she was starting to get worried, especially when she talked to Christian’s mother, who said she had not shown up for work.
Then when her father called and said they had checked the location of her last cell phone call, several friends left to see if they could track down her SUV.
October 19, 2009 – 1:31pm
Sowards says on the night the couple was abducted, several friends planned to get together for a party. Orignally, Channon was planning to go the party with her, but then talked to Chris Newsom and decided to go with him to get something to eat first.
October 19, 2009 – 1:25pm
Kara Sowards, who describes herself as Channon’s best friend, has taken the stand.
Sowards tells prosecutor Leland Price she lived at Washington Ridge Apartments. Channon came and went frequently and had a key to the apartment.
October 19, 2009 – 1:23pm
The judge was obviously annoyed by what happened during the lunch break and let the families know it.
The jurors are now returning to the courtroom.
October 19, 2009 – 1:20pm
Judge Baumgartner is admonishing the spectators. He says he’s learned that during the break a member of the Newsom family spoke to one of the defense attorneys.
“It does not matter what you think of them personally. You are not to address them. You are not to speak of them to the media,” he says. “They are hard-working lawyers. They are doing their job. They are doing what I asked them to do.”
October 19, 2009 – 1:14pm
The judge, lawyers and the defendant have made their way back into the courtroom. It appears the judge wants to confer with the lawyers before continuing with testimony.
October 19, 2009 – 12:13pm
Before the break, defense attorney Trant asked Anderson about getting into Newsoms truck and removing “weed” and a “bowl.” This resulted in some discussion after the jury left between the judge and the attorneys. Prosecutor Price expressed unhappiness over how the matter was handled.
October 19, 2009 – 12:06pm
After the prosecution asks Anderson a few short questions the judge says it’s time to take a lunch break.
Judge Baumgartner reminds the jurors to not discuss the case among themselves or make any decisions.
October 19, 2009 – 12:04pm
Fitzgerald uses Anderson’s testimony to introduce several more items into evidence.
October 19, 2009 – 11:53am
Fitzgerald: “Are you familiar with the shoes Chris wore?”
Anderson: “Yes, he always wore ugly shoes.”
Fitzgerald then brings into evidence the shoes Newsom was wearing the night of the abduction. They were later found with Davidson when he was captured.
October 19, 2009 – 11:51am
Anderson describes how they found Channon’s 4Runner and the condition it was in. Stickers had been removed from the outside. It was muddy inside and a cell phone charger had been ripped up.
“Everybody was real worried at that point. We were real upset,” he says.
October 19, 2009 – 11:43am
Anderson says the night the couple turned up missing there were a lot of calls back and forth between friends and family trying to find information about Chris Newsom and Channon Christian.
Some friends went to Newsom’s apartment and found his truck, but could not find him or Christian. They started doing some investigation on their own, first checking cell phone records.
October 19, 2009 – 11:39am
Testimony begins now. The first witness to testify is Josh Anderson, a friend of Chris Newsom.
Anderson says that he and Newsom played 36 holes of golf the day of the abduction.
October 19, 2009 – 11:34am
Now that the opening statements are done, the judge is giving the jurors instructions about taking notes and asking questions.
Judge Baumgartner is allowing the jurors to ask questions if they write them down. He will decide whether the questions are appropriate before he reads them.
October 19, 2009 – 11:33am
Eldridge spends most of his time setting up the circumstantial nature of the evidence and creating a defense of reasonable doubt.
October 19, 2009 – 11:27am
“We believe you will have more unanswered questions than answered questions,” Eldridge tells the jury.
October 19, 2009 – 11:23am
Eldridge says there will be no evidence Davidson killed Christian or was even in the home at the time of her murder. He asks the jury to make note of where his fingerprints were not found.
October 19, 2009 – 11:18am
Defense attorney David Eldridge tells the jurors, “Don’t let the photos sway you from your duty.”
He says they will not hear any evidence to show Davidson had any role in the murder and assault of Newsom.
October 19, 2009 – 11:16am
Fitzgerald is now describing the autopsy findings of Newsom’s body. “He had been brutally raped,” she says.
Davidson “valued Chris’ shoes more than Chris’ life” she adds.
October 19, 2009 – 11:12am
The jury is listening attentively as Fitzgerald describes evidence found at the Chipman St. home. She also says Newsom’s shoes are found with Davidson when he is captured later in an unoccupied home.
October 19, 2009 – 11:08am
When Channon’s SUV is found, it has been wiped down. Some stickers on the outside have been removed.
“By time the 4Runner is found, Davidson has already decided their fate,” Fitzgerald says.
Inside the 4Runner, detectives find fingerprints on an envelope that later are determined to belong to Davidson.
October 19, 2009 – 11:04am
Fitzgerald tells the jurors the parallel story of the volatile relationship between Davidson and his girlfriend, Daphne Sutton. Sutton goes to the Chipman Street home they had shared to retrieve some items after she moved out. She suspects Davidson is hiding another woman in the house when she’s prevented from entering one of the rooms.
October 19, 2009 – 11:02am
Fitzgerald then describes the discovery of a body along railroad tracks near Chipman Street. Though she hasn’t said it yet, the body is Christopher Newsom’s.
October 19, 2009 – 10:58am
The prosecutor describes the frantic search for the couple when they don’t show up at the time they said they would be home. A check of cell phone records shows Channon’s last call was made from Cherry Street. That’s the area where Channon’s 4runner SUV was later discovered.
October 19, 2009 – 10:48am
The court is back in session. Prosecutor Fitzgerald has begun the prosecution’s opening statement to the jurors.
October 19, 2009 – 10:26am
After the marathon of instructions and reading of the counts against Davidson, the court is taking a 15 minute break before opening statements begin.
October 19, 2009 – 10:25am
Davidson’s defense enters a plea of not guilty to all counts.
October 19, 2009 – 10:21am
The jurors are listening as the counts are read. They show no emotion on their faces. One juror scans the victims’ families.
October 19, 2009 – 10:04am
Prosecutor Price is reading now the charge. It contains all of the indictments against Davidson.
October 19, 2009 – 9:58am
The judges instructions include an explanation of legal concepts of “reasonable doubt” and “circumstantial vs. direct evidence.”
October 19, 2009 – 9:52am
Judge Baumgartner is giving preliminary instructions to the jury and reading the charges against Davidson. They include kidnapping, robbery, rape, and murder.
Davidson is accused of 12 distinct offenses and 46 separate counts.
October 19, 2009 – 9:51am
All jurors said they were were not exposed to any information regarding the case. The jurors were polled individually.
October 19, 2009 – 9:34am
We have lost our live video stream. We apologize for the problem and we’re working to restore it as quickly as possible.
October 19, 2009 – 9:29am
The court has been ordered into session. Judge Baumgartner says a couple of jurors have been excused. He says he will check with them to make sure they have not been exposed to anything about the case before the trial begins.
October 19, 2009 – 9:27am
The attorneys are present and the judge has entered the courtroom. Eldridge and Trant are for the defense. Price and Fitzgerald for the state.
October 19, 2009 – 9:18am
The families are seated in the courtroom, but the judge and attorneys have not appeared yet.
October 19, 2009 – 8:52am
The trial of Lemaricus Davidson is scheduled to start at 9:00 this morning. We will cover it live here in this blog and with streaming video at http://www.wate.com/global/Category.asp?C=173163.