Courtoom Updates From The Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom Trial

Starts at the bottom.

October 30, 2009 – 10:32am
After the jury left, defense attorney Doug Trant raised an objection to part of the jury’s instructions. He claimed that Newsom’s death cannot be called “mutilation” because that legally requires that the victim’s head or limbs are cut off.

That was not the case with either of the victims.

October 30, 2009 – 10:27am
The jury is now being sent to deliberate.

October 30, 2009 – 10:23am
After reading his instructions, the judge reviews the forms the jury must fill out upon deciding the sentence.

October 30, 2009 – 10:13am
Judge Baumgartner explains the jury’s choices. One is life, which can come with the possibility of parole after 51 years. Another is life without parole. The final sentence option is the death penalty.

“You are the sole judges,” he tells jurors.

October 30, 2009 – 9:53am
Closing arguments are done and the judge is now giving instructions on how they should reach their decision on a sentence.

“You have to decide unanimously, beyond a reasonable doubt, that an aggravating circumstance exists,” he says.

October 30, 2009 – 9:50am
“These crimes cry out for the maximum punishment,” Price says. “The maximum!”

October 30, 2009 – 9:40am
Leland Price takes up the final closing argument for the state, asking the jury to “use your common sense.”

“Everybody has choices,” Price says. “And what did he do? He threw those choices away.”

“Let me tell you, ladies and gentlemen, the aggravating circumstances are overwhelming.”

“Heinous and atrocious doesn’t begin to describe what Chris Newsom suffered. Channon Christian either.”

“Why were they killed?” he asks. “They knew too much.”

October 30, 2009 – 9:37am
“I’m going to ask you to spare the life of Lemaricus Davidson,” Trant says.

“I’m going to ask you to do it for that little boy who waited at the courthouse for his mama to pick him up, but she never showed up.”

October 30, 2009 – 9:29am
The jury will be deciding between life in prison with or death.

There are currently 89 people on Tennessee’s death row.

“Why would you sentence him to life without parole?” Trant asks.

He talks about the Alice Rhea and the Rudds who testified that Davidson was like a son to them. “They want their son to live,” Trant says.

October 30, 2009 – 9:25am
Doug Trant now begins the defense’s closing argument.

“We are not talking about excuses,” he says. “We’re talking about explanations.”

Trant reviews the abuse and rejection that Davidson suffered as a child. Criminal, sexual molestation and drugs run in Davidson’s family for generations, he says. “No question Lemaricus Davidson was neglected.”

October 30, 2009 – 9:18am
Fitzgerald shows that Davidson continued to have opportunities and make choices after going to prison on the aggravated armed robbery conviction.

“The opportunities for the defendant continues,” Fitzgerald says, even after the abduction of Christian and Newsom.

At the end, Chris Newsom and Channon Christian had only their lives left, but Davidson took that, says Fitzgerald.

October 30, 2009 – 9:15am
Fitzgerald reminds the jury that Davidson’s sister had the same mother and lived in the same home, but that didn’t cause her to make the same decisions as Davidson.

The same was with Davidson’s uncle. “He had dope problems. He didn’t let that get him down,” she says.

“But at age 16 he had opportunities that the other two didn’t have,” she continues.

She tells about the foster parents and the group home that gave him a chance.

“Just obey the rules, Mr. Davidson.”

October 30, 2009 – 9:13am
Judge Baumgartner is addressing the jury on what to expect today. After the closing arguments, he tells the jurors, he will give them final instructions.

Takisha Fitzgerald will begin with the state’s closing argument.

October 30, 2009 – 9:09am
Court is in session for the final arguments of the penalty phase.