Parents in Christian-Newsom murders want more prosecution for Boyd

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The parents of murder victims Channon Christian and Chris Newsom will always hold on to the memories of their children, but they’re also seeking more justice in court.

The couple was carjacked at gunpoint, robbed, tortured, raped and killed in January 2007.

Christian, a 5’7″ student at the University of Tennessee, was bound, put in garbage bags and stuffed in a trash can where she suffocated.

Newsom was bound, taken to a set of railroad tracks, shot three times and then set on fire.

Both wound up nearly unrecognizable on autopsy tables.

The randomness of the torture slayings evoked fear and disbelief from authorities and the community.

A massive investigation eventually brought four defendants to trial. Vanessa Coleman was sentenced to 53 years on lesser charges in the case.

Coleman’s boyfriend, Letalvis Cobbins, and his friend, George Thomas, will spend the rest of their lives in prison.

And Cobbins’ half-brother, LeMaricus Davidson, received the death penalty.

Still the parents of the victims say they have unfinished business.

“They kept saying Davidson was the ringleader. Well he may have been the ringleader, but he wasn’t the most evil of them all. He may have been the ringleader, but he did everything Eric Boyd said,” Deena and Gary Christian said.

Boyd is serving an 18 year prison sentence in this case. He was convicted in federal court as an accessory after the fact for helping Davidson hide from authorities.

However, Boyd was never charged with rape or murder. “I will always feel like Boyd is getting away with murder,” said Chris’ mother, Mary Newsom.

Cobbins told investigators it was Boyd and Davidson who launched the crime spree that started with the couple’s carjacking.

“They jump out of the car and run to a white SUV and, um, there was two people, a man and a woman at the SUV. They jump in, pointing guns at them and, and um, they carjacked them I guess,” Cobbins said during one interview by authorities.

“He is one of them that got in the (Toyota) 4Runner and put a gun on Channon. For that, he needs to face the death penalty,” Gary Christian said.

“Eric Boyd was the one that first took him (Chris) away and tied him up and raped him,” Mary Newsom said.

Most, if not all, of the defendants insinuated that Boyd was the one to first take Chris Newsom away after the carjacking. They said he returned a short time later without Newsom to Davidson’s rental home on Chipman Street, where Christian was held captive.

“I figured when he came back without him you know that he went ahead and did something with the old boy,” George Thomas told investigators in an interview.

“You don’t know if Chris felt the bullet, but he damn well felt what they did to him,” Gary Christian said. “I think Thomas shot him in the back and Eric Boyd shot him in the head.”

“He never told me he did any of that. He never told me he was involved in any of that,” said Boyd’s attorney, Phil Lomonaco, during a recent interview.

Lomonaco was appointed to represent Boyd during the federal trial. He says he took a lot of heat for taking Boyd’s case, but he had an obligation to uphold the Constitution.

Lomonaco also says if there’s tangible evidence against Boyd, the state should make a move. “If they have the evidence that there is probable cause, then they should do it.”

But even with all the accounts implicating Boyd, the Knox County District Attorney General’s Office by law can’t use the incriminating statements made to investigators by the other convicted killers, even if they did prosecute Boyd.

“I don’t feel like Chris got full justice,” said his father, Hugh Newsom.

The Newsoms know key evidence has to turn up to get any break in this case. “The longer it goes, the dimmer the memory gets, and you have witnesses, key witnesses, that disappear on you,” Hugh Newsom added.

The Knoxville Police Department and the DA’s office wouldn’t comment for this report, except to say the case is still open and under investigation.

However, “There is no doubt that Eric Boyd is going to be prosecuted in state court,” Gary Christian said. “Eric Boyd is not going to come on the streets in this country again.”

The Christians say the other convicted killers may not have been motivated by race, but they believe Boyd was. “Eric Boyd did what he did because he hated white people,” Gary said.

When asked if he feels this was a hate crime on the part of Eric Boyd, Hugh Newsom said, “Yes, absolutely.”

The parents have been to more than 200 court proceedings to seek justice for the children they only see now in photos and dreams.

“Between, I think all four of us, we will never stop until everybody that was involved is put behind bars,” Deena Christian said.

Boyd is being held at a medium security prison in West Virginia with 12 years of his 18 year sentence still to serve. He’s due to be released in 2022.

Boyd’s federal conviction in this case is under appeal.

Lemaricus Davidson Sentenced To Death

The sooner this damn nigger goes to hell the better.

KNOXVILLE – The gates of Tennessee’s only death row prison opened wide for Lemaricus Davidson tonight, hours after a Knox County jury sentenced him to die for his role as the ringleader in the January 2007 carjacking, torture and killings of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom.

Davidson arrived at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution’s Unit 2 in Nashville around 6 p.m. local time, said Dorinda Carter, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Correction. He’ll spend 23 hours per day alone in his cell every day, with just one hour of daylight in a caged yard.

That status won’t change for at least 18 months, Carter said. Depending on his behavior, Davidson could eventually be upgraded to allow occasional phone calls or the chance to apply for inmate jobs such as cleaning, she said.

“Regardless of their status, they don’t ever leave that building,” she said.

The jury of five women and seven men deliberated about four hours before returning its decision this afternoon to a packed courtroom.

“The punishment is death,” the jury foreman said.

The victims’ families gasped at the verdict, but Davidson showed no reaction. Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner admonished those in the courtroom to control any outburst.

“The murder was especially heinous, atrocious and cruel,” the foreman said, reading from the verdict form.

Davidson, 28, most likely will be taken to Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville where death row is housed. Some male inmates, however, are incarcerated at Morgan County Correctional Complex in Wartburg for security reasons. Two inmates with the death penalty are currently housed at that prison.

The jurors this morning heard closing arguments in the penalty phase of this 11-day trial before getting a final round of legal instructions from Baumgartner.

Prosecutor Takisha Fitzgerald told jurors Davidson killed Christian, 21, a University of Tennessee student and her boyfriend Newsom, 23, to save his own neck.

“The only thing Chris had left was the knowledge of who his attacker was,” Fitzgerald said. “(Davidson) took everything else. The only thing (Channon) had left was the knowledge of who her attacker was.”

Defense attorney Doug Trant asked jurors to spare Davidson’s life, noting the abuse he suffered and the foster parents who still love him.

“I’m going to ask you to spare Lemaricus Davidson’s life,” he said. “I’m going to ask you to do it for that little boy who was sexually abused … I’m going to ask you to do it for that little boy who was whipped by extension cords and paperweights.”

The jury, chosen from Knox County at Davidson’s insistence, considered death by lethal injection, life without parole or life, a mandatory 51-year sentence.

Davidson’s brother, Letalvis Cobbins, 26, was convicted in August and is serving life without parole. He is in a protective safety unit away from the general population at a West Tennessee prison after expressing fears for his safety.

Pending trial are suspects George Thomas, 26, who will face a Hamilton County jury Dec. 1, and Vanessa Coleman, 21, whose case is on hold pending a pre-trial appeal.

A fifth suspect, Eric Boyd, 37, remains uncharged in the killings but is serving an 18-year federal prison term for hiding out Davidson after the slayings.

Davidson is the first defendant from Knox County to be sent to death row since 1997. Executions in Tennessee are carried out by lethal injection.

Dennis Suttles, 57, was convicted of first-degree murder for cutting the throat of a woman in a fast-food parking lot in 1996.

Death row currently has 89 inmates, six from Knox County. All but two of the inmates are men.

The female inmates are housed at the Tennessee Prison for Women in Nashville. One of those is Christa Gail Pike, 33, who was sentenced to death in 1996 for the torture-slaying of Colleen Slemmer, then a fellow 19-year-old Job Corps student.

On Thursday, two women who offered Davidson a better life as a teenager asked the jury to spare his life.

Foster mother Flo Rudd and group home mother Alice Rhea told jurors Davidson was worth saving despite the fact that he turned to robbery and, ultimately, murder despite their efforts to rescue him from a troubled upbringing.

“He’s my son,” Rhea said. “I love him. He has such potential. If you put him in a structured environment, he does everything he should. I think he can be an influence to young men for years to come.”

The defense called 11 witnesses on Thursday on Davidson’s behalf in the wake of his convictions.

Jurors on Wednesday deemed him guilty of the top count in 35 of 38 charges, ranging from the murder of both Christian and Newsom to kidnapping to robbery. They also found Davidson guilty of multiple counts of raping Christian.

Davidson’s only reprieve – and it was largely irrelevant because of the murder convictions – came in the rape of Newsom. With no DNA evidence to directly link him to a rape that forensic evidence suggested was committed with an object, jurors opted for convictions of the lesser charge of facilitation of aggravated rape.

He will be sentenced at a later date on those charges.

Davidson chose not to testify in his own behalf either during the trial or sentencing phase.

The victims were white and all four defendants are black, and that raised some racial tension, including a protest in Knoxville.

A lot was made of race on the Internet, but prosecutors and police have said race was not a factor, contending the carjacking that led to their deaths was random.

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.

Courtoom Updates On The Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom Trial

October 27, 2009 – 5:06pm
The jury has not gone home yet, but defense attorney Doug Trant tells 6 News it won’t be reaching a verdict tonight.

October 27, 2009 – 4:46pm
Judge Baumgartner says he will check with the jurors at around 5:30 to see if they wish to continue deliberating or break for the evening.

He’s now called for a recess until then.

October 27, 2009 – 4:39pm
The judge is now reviewing photos of the victims that the lawyers may use during the sentencing phase.

October 27, 2009 – 4:31pm
Judge Baumgartner asks Deena Christian to not make a reference to Chris and Channon as being victimized by defense tactics. They are clearly victims, the judge says, but she should not refer to trial tactics.

October 27, 2009 – 4:23pm
“She was a beautiful young woman with a beautiful soul,” Deena Christian says about her daughter. She stops to wipe away tear.

“Neither Channon nor Chris deserved what happened to them,” she says.

“Our kids are the victims. They should not have been put on trial here.”

“What she had to endure haunts me.”

“It breaks my heart to see the pain in Gary and Chase’s faces knowing there’s nothing I can do.”

October 27, 2009 – 4:22pm
This was the first time Chase took the stand to remember his sister. He was too emotional to speak at Letalvis Cobbins’ trial.

October 27, 2009 – 4:16pm
“We did everything together. She was truly my best friend,” Channon’s brother, Chase Christian, says.

“‘I love you Chaser,'” he says Channon told him. “Those were the last words I ever heard from my baby sister.”

October 27, 2009 – 4:13pm
The jurors have returned to the courtroom because they have a question. They say they’re struggling with the difference between aggravated rape and facillitation of rape.

Judge Baumgartner explains what the law says to distinguish the two.

“Look at the elements and then compare; and then make up your mind beyond a reasonable doubt,” he says.

October 27, 2009 – 4:09pm
Judge Baumgartner asks Mr. Newsom to take out of his statement anecdotes about weddings Chris was not able to attend and a Halls High School scholarship baseball game.

Also, although Mr. Newsom can say his son was never in serious trouble, he cannot name off the offenses that Davidson has been charged with.

“I just don’t want to venture too far beyond where the court says we can go,” the judge says.

October 27, 2009 – 4:06pm
Nearly the whole courtroom is crying

October 27, 2009 – 4:03pm
Davidson listens as the family members read their impact statements.

October 27, 2009 – 3:52pm
“I go up to his room from time to time, but (despite all the memories) to me the room is empty,” says Hugh Newsom, father of Chris.

Mr. Newsom says he taught his son, just as his father had taught him, to never speak ill of the dead.

“I know without a doubt, as he drew his last breath… that his concern was for Channon.”

October 27, 2009 – 3:48pm
“I mourn the loss of Chris and the life he’ll never live,” says Chris’s sister, Andrea Bowers.

October 27, 2009 – 3:38pm
The first person to give her victim impact statement is Mary Newsom, Chris’ mother. She tells of how proud she was of him. “I knew what kind of kid he really was.” “I have many sleepless nights,” she adds.

October 27, 2009 – 3:26pm
As the jury continues its deliberations, family members will be reading their impact statements soon. It’s a dry run in the event that the jury finds Davidson guilty and the case moves to a sentencing phase.

We’re expecting they will start at around 3:30.

October 27, 2009 – 12:22pm
The families are scheduled to read their impact statements to the judge today at 3:30. This is a sort of rehearsal for the sentencing phase in the event that Davidson should be found guilty.

October 27, 2009 – 12:16pm
Judge Baumgartner show the jury how to use the charge to determine guilt or innocence on each indictment.

He then sends the jury to lunch. He tells jurors he doesn’t want them to begin deliberations until after they’ve eaten lunch.

October 27, 2009 – 12:08pm
“Each of you must decide the case for yourself,” the judge tells jurors.

“You must render your verdict with absolute fairness and impartiality.”

October 27, 2009 – 11:53am
The judge says the burden of proof is on the state and its proof must be beyond reasonable doubt.

He defines reasonable doubt, telling the jury that “absolute proof is not required, but moral certainty is.”

October 27, 2009 – 11:40am
The jury is back. Judge Baumgartner says three pages have been inserted into the instructions being given to the jury.

This is being done because, when there is a reference to more than one sexual assault, the state is required to select just one for the charge.

“Of course it’s up to you to decide if any assault has occurred beyond a reasonable doubt,” he adds.

October 27, 2009 – 11:31am
The closing arguments have concluded. The judge is now working on some last minute changes to the jury’s instructions before he delivers them.

October 27, 2009 – 11:26am
“This is not a ‘Law and Order’ episode,” Price says. “This isn’t ‘CSI.””

“You have to put it all together. This is real life.”

Price tells the jury that the only two people who can really tell what happened aren’t here. “Mr. Davidson made sure of that,” he says.

October 27, 2009 – 11:24am
About Davidson’s interrogation with police, Price asks, “What does a good liar do?”

“He mixes in a little bit of the truth,” he answers.

“Sort out the truth from the lies,” he tells the jury.

October 27, 2009 – 11:21am
Price shows the jury the two revolvers introduced as evidence. He asks which gun is capable of firing “pop! pop! pop!” in rapid succession. It’s Davidson’s gun, he says.

October 27, 2009 – 11:17am
Price calls the stories told by defense witnesses Freeman and Bradley as “crazy” and “absurd.”

He reminds Bradley told jurors he saw Christian with Davidson in Stacy Lawson’s Grand Am, but that weekend she was already in Kentucky.

“Another rabbit hole,” Price calls the story.

October 27, 2009 – 11:15am
By Sunday night, Price asks, what did they have?

He describes Newsom and Christian, brutalized and murdered. “They had lost everything.”

October 27, 2009 – 11:12am
Price asks what the victims had on Saturday night. They had jobs and bright future, he says.

And what did Davidson have that night? He had no job, no ride, no girlfriend. Lynn Freeman was hounding him for money. The rent man was hounding him for money.

“He had nothing, except a gun.”

October 27, 2009 – 11:05am
Leland Price begins with the state’s rebuttal. He thanks the jury for serving. “It’s a tough case,” he says.

Price reminds the jury of Daphne Sutton’s testimony. She tried to retrieve some of her items, “and who was it that stopped her?” he asks.

He emphasizes Davidson’s reaction. “This is my house!”

October 27, 2009 – 11:00am
Eldridge continues his closing argument. He talks about certainty of guilt. An absolute certainty is not required, but a moral certainty will be, “so you can rest easy at night.”

October 27, 2009 – 10:40am
The judge calls for a 10 minute break.

October 27, 2009 – 10:33am
Eldridge continues to point all of the evidence to the “gang from Kentucky.” They killed Newsom 100 yards from Davidson’s house. They left a body in his house. They fled the state.

Eldridge reminds the jurors Davidson left his identification in his house. He claims Davidson only lied during his interrogation out of his fear of police.

October 27, 2009 – 10:19am
“There’s no evidence that Davidson killed Christian,” Eldridge says.

About the defendant’s palm prints being found on the garbage bags, he says, “It’s his house!”

“Prints would be on your garbage bags at home, folks.”

Eldridge also works to poke holes in the medical examiner’s time of death. He tries to show Davidson wasn’t in his house at that time.

October 27, 2009 – 10:11am
About the “gang from Kentucky,” Eldridge tells the jury that Cobbins used bleach to his DNA. Coleman tried to hide Cobbins’ gun.

“Did she know he used it to kill Newsom?” he asks.

But Eldridge also reminds the jury that forensics experts could not put a fix on which gun fired the bullets found in Newsom.

He tells jurors they cannot convict Davidson on Newsom’s death based on possibilities.

“You don’t send somebody to life in prison or worse,” says Eldridge, “because a gun could’ve been used to kill Chris Newsom.”

October 27, 2009 – 10:08am
Gary Christian sits in the front row, rocking back and forth while twirling a small cross in his fingers.

October 27, 2009 – 10:02am
Eldridge turns his attention to Letalvis Cobbins, George Thomas and Vanessa Coleman. He reminds the jury that Cobbins’ DNA was found on Christian.

Did the couple’s connection to Davidson put them tragically in contact with the “gang from Kentucky?” Eldridge asks.

October 27, 2009 – 9:56am
“We know that Mr. Davidson and Miss Christian had been seen together by Mr. Bradley,” Eldridge says.

“He’s absolutely certain,” Eldridge adds, while noting that Bradley didn’t want to be in the courtroom to testify. He discounts the prosecution’s observation that the car Bradley says he saw wasn’t in Knoxville at that time.

“Is it possible they were supposed to bring drugs to party?” Eldridge asks.

At that point, Christian’s friend, Kara Sowards, leaves the courtroom.

October 27, 2009 – 9:52am
Eldridge reminds the jury there was no proof offered that Christian was raped repeatedly or that she was killed before 2 a.m. Monday.

He calls these parts of the state’s “made up story.”

October 27, 2009 – 9:47am
Eldridge tries to poke holes in prosecution testimony by pointing to parts of the prosecution’s narrative that are not supported by evidence it presented.

One example cited by Eldridge is the testimony of Xavier Jenkins, who says he saw four black men in Christian’s SUV. Later, the state says Newsom may have been bound in the back, but there’s no evidence of that.

These are stories, Eldridge tells the jury, not proof.

October 27, 2009 – 9:45am
“The absence of clarity is reasonable doubt,” Eldridge says.

October 27, 2009 – 9:40am
David Eldridge begins the defense’s closing argument by quoting John Adams. “Facts are stubborn things,” he says.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is a case in which passions are high,” he continues.

Eldridge also tells the jury that there is nothing about the allegations of drug use the defense has made that makes the crimes any less horrible.

October 27, 2009 – 9:37am
Family members and friends wearing red today.

October 27, 2009 – 9:31am
The judge has entered the courtroom. He is explaining that a meeting with lawyers in his office was the cause of the long delay.

He says Fitzgerald argued that there was potentially more than one sexual assault. But the indictment defines specific acts, so there was discussion on how to frame that in the judge’s instructions to the jury.

October 27, 2009 – 9:16am
The Christian family is in red today, just as the Newsom family was yesterday.

Davidson’s ex-girlfriend testified he hated red. Is it a gang thing?

October 27, 2009 – 9:12am
We are still awaiting the judge to enter the courtroom.

The defense is scheduled to give its closing argument, then the state will be given time for a rebuttal.

After that, Judge Baumgartner will give the jury its final instructions and it will begin deliberations on a verdict.

Courtroom Updates From The Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom Trial

 Starts At The Bottom

October 26, 2009 – 4:51pm
The jury is dismissed.

October 26, 2009 – 4:49pm
The judge is considering putting the defense closing on hold. He checks with the jury and the consensus is to hear the defense’s closing argument tomorrow.

He acknowledges it would be tempting to deliberate on just what they’ve heard today, but he reminds them they need to wait until they hear the rest tomorrow.

October 26, 2009 – 4:40pm
Fitzgerald tells the jury the defense can say what they want about the couple. It doesn’t matter what the accusations are. They are made by people who don’t know them.

“It doesn’t matter what name you call me,” she says, “it matters what name I answer to.”

“It wasn’t a drug deal gone bad, but it doesn’t matter. The family knows better.”

“You can think they were dope doers. We don’t care. We just want justice.”

October 26, 2009 – 4:37pm
Fitzgerald uses Davidson’s own words against him. She plays his statement where he says, “I never seen them in my life. Never been in my house before.”

October 26, 2009 – 4:24pm
“What we have to do is prove the elements of these crimes beyond a reasonable doubt,” Fitzgerald tells the jury.

“There’s no way that with four defendants we’re going to tell you exactly what happened.” But, Fitzgerald adds, the state does not have to do that because of the criminal responsibility they bear.

If he has the intent to rob the couple, it doesn’t matter who killed them.

“We think our strongest proof is on premeditation,” she says. “We know they wanted him dead.”

October 26, 2009 – 4:17pm
Fitzgerald contends Davidson used Newsom’s cell phone 25 minutes after he’s shot to death.

October 26, 2009 – 4:14pm
As his parents listen, Fitzgerald describing what likely happened to Chris Newsom in the final moments of his life.

October 26, 2009 – 4:00pm
Fitzgerald points out several of the lies Davidson gave to police when they interviewed him following his arrest.

He said he never touched Christian, but his DNA was all over her.

Fitzgerald also reminds the jury that there are no records of phone calls between the victims and Davidson. She strikes down the defense theory that they were in the neighborhood to buy drugs.

October 26, 2009 – 3:53pm
Davidson calls several of Suttons friends on Sunday afternoon, still looking for her. Her friends call each other.

On Sunday evening, he talks to Sutton and she goes to Chipman Street. Davidson give Christian’s clothes to Sutton. She leaves. Then she calls him and he shows in a 4Runner.

Fitzgerald reminds the jury of Sutton’s statement that he stays with her Monday night. She says he was wearing Nike Shox shoes that were too small for him.

October 26, 2009 – 3:46pm
Fitzgerald reminds the jury that at 3:13 a.m. Davidson tries to track down his ex-girlfriend, Daphne Sutton.

Freeman calls Davidson on Sunday morning. “Slow down,” she says.

What was Davidson doing, Fitzgerald wonders?

In the meantime, from the cell phone records, Christian’s voice mail is checked. If she was able to use her phone, why didn’t she phone home? Why didn’t she phone Newsom?

Fitzgerald reminds the jury that Christian was dependable, responsible and loved her mother.

October 26, 2009 – 3:32pm
Fitzgerald spends some time to deconstruct and debunk the statements of the defense witnesses. She uses a timeline to show that at 9:02 p.m. Newsom called Christian. That refutes Freeman’s account of seeing the couple at an Exxon state between 9 and 10.

The couple was expected to arrive at a party at 10, but they don’t arrive.

Fitzgerald points out that a Waste Connections worker testified seeing her 4Runner around midnight on Chipman Street. He says he saw four black men in it.

October 26, 2009 – 3:21pm
Fitzgerald describes the condition of Chris Newsom’s body. He was Rape, then moved to the railroad tracks where he was shot three times and set on fire.

Floral fabric found on his body is the same as what was found in the Chipman Street house. He was shot by bullets consistent with the gun Davidson had.

Newsom’s ball caps were found in the house.

We know that Channon Christian was held in the house and raped multiple times. Davidson’s DNA was found on her. She was also brutally beaten.

Davidson’s DNA was also found on her clothing and hits prints were found on the garbage bags that wrapped her body.

October 26, 2009 – 3:15pm
Takisha Fitzgerald has begun the state’s closing argument.

“What happened to Chris and Channon? That’s what everyone wants to know,” she says as she begins to layout the state’s version of what happened.

October 26, 2009 – 3:03pm
Judge Baumgartner said he’s set no time limit on the lawyers for their closing arguments. The best guess is both sides will take an hour. If so, then the jury likely won’t begin deliberating until tomorrow.

The Cobbins jury spent 6-7 hours deliberating over two days. Davidson faces about the same number of charges as Cobbins did.

Davidson listens as Judge Baumgartner reads the charges against him.

October 26, 2009 – 2:51pm
After an hour of reading the charge, the judge has finished. He’s called for a break before the closing arguments begin.

October 26, 2009 – 2:21pm
The courtroom is nearly filled as the judge reads the charge against Davidson

October 26, 2009 – 2:05pm
The verdict form the jurors will use once they’ve decided on verdicts can be found here. :…usDavidson.pdf

It is 41 pages long.

October 26, 2009 – 1:58pm
There are 12 distinct offenses listed in the charge, covering among them first degree, felony, and premeditated murder, aggravated robbery, theft, aggravated rape, and kidnapping.

October 26, 2009 – 1:43pm
The judge is explaining procedures, the law and the charges against Davidson to the jury. The charge is lengthy, nearly 100 pages long. He warns it will take him some time to go through it.

October 26, 2009 – 1:42pm
Judge Baumgartner reminds the audience that they are not to react to what’s said.

October 26, 2009 – 1:38pm
There was a long line outside the courtroom of spectators waiting to come in for closing arguments.

October 26, 2009 – 1:36pm
Court is back in session.

October 26, 2009 – 12:52pm
The jury in this case will have a mountain of information to wade through. The jury form is 95 pages. The verdict form is around 20 pages.

October 26, 2009 – 11:54am
Judge Baumgartner says the jury will be given the case today, but won’t be able to begin deliberating until tomorrow morning. Closing arguments begin this afternoon at 1:30.

October 26, 2009 – 11:33am
The state rests.

Judge Baumgartner sends the jury to lunch. He says he will take up additional matters with the attorneys before they give their closing arguments.

October 26, 2009 – 11:28am
Kimberly Elkins is brought in to testify about Newsom’s bank account at TVA Federal Credit Union. Elkins is a fraud examiner there. She says Newsom withdrew $100 on the night of the abduction and he had more than a $900 balance. The defense asks Elkins that there is no way for her to know if marijuana or amphetamines were bought with the money. She says no.

Another bank official, Barbara Thomas, with First Tennessee, says records show Christian spent $5.05 at Walgreens on Jan 6. 2007 and had more than $200 available in her account.

October 26, 2009 – 11:20am
The state calls Shara Johnson, an employee with Select Specialty Hospitals, to testify about Channon Christian. She was Christian’s employment supervisor and is asked about drug testing at the hospital.

Johnson says Christian’s test was negative except for oxycodone. The defense then objects to questioning related to a car wreck, so Johnson is dismissed.

October 26, 2009 – 11:10am
The first rebuttal witness called by the state is Josh Shafer, a drug crimes investigator with the Knoxville Police Department. Takisha Fitzgerald asks Shaffer about where different types of drugs are sold in the Knoxville area.

He says pills are typically sold in north and and west of the UT campus. Crack cocaine is sold in East Knoxville. Marijuana is sold everywhere.

October 26, 2009 – 11:08am
The defense rests after introducing the record of Cobbins’ conviction in New York.

October 26, 2009 – 11:05am
The judge has allowed the defense motion to introduce Cobbins’ prior robbery conviction in New York.

October 26, 2009 – 10:59am
Judge Baumgartner asks Davidson if he wants to testify. Davidson answers that he agrees with his lawyer’s advice and has decided not to testify.

October 26, 2009 – 10:37am
The court is taking a break.

October 26, 2009 – 10:33am
Is STR any less accurate than YSTR testing, a juror asks?

Lewis says neither test is any less accurate. They just look at different evidence.

October 26, 2009 – 10:29am
Is it possible that the DNA profiles that were not identified came from skin cells, Leland Price asks?

Lewis says it’s possible.

Could the sample have been contaminated by the handling of the underwear?

“It’s possible,” she says.

He testimony was not on sperm DNA, just unknown male DNA.

October 26, 2009 – 10:15am
The independent lab did not do any tests to verify the presence of semen.

October 26, 2009 – 10:07am
Lewis says there was not evidence of Davidon’s DNA on the underwear using the YSTR profile testing used by the lab. There were unidentified contributors.

The tests on DNA taken from the rectal swab of Newsom also didn’t show Davidson’s DNA, she says.

October 26, 2009 – 10:02am
DNA analyst Kelli Lewis is now on the stand for the defense. She is testifying on tests performed on samples found on Channon Christian underwear.

October 26, 2009 – 9:46am
Defense attorney David Eldridge has asked Carlisle a lot of questions about how long drugs remain in the body. It seems the defense wishes to show that the victims could have taken drugs and have them not show up in toxicology tests.

In her cross examination, Takisha Fitzgerald asks Carlisle if being high on drugs would prevent feeling of pain from raped or shot.

Carlisle answers no.

October 26, 2009 – 9:44am
A source tells me Davidson will not testify in his own defense.

October 26, 2009 – 9:39am
The defense has called Melanie Carlisle, a TBI toxicology expert, to testify.

October 26, 2009 – 9:31am
The judge says his gut reaction is that the evidence does not apply, but he will not rule on the motion until later.

He also says the reluctant witness will not be testifying.

October 26, 2009 – 9:26am
Judge Baumgartner says Cobbins hasn’t testified in this case.

“I don’t understand what rule would permit the introduction of evidence of someone who is not a witness in this case,” the judge says.

He also points out that he excluded that evidence in Cobbins’ trial.

October 26, 2009 – 9:22am
The defense motions to introduce evidence that Davidson’s brother, Letalvis Cobbins, was convicted in New York on an armed robbery charge.

The state objects, saying there’s no relevance that prior bad acts show evidence other crimes have been committed.

October 26, 2009 – 9:21am
Court is in session. Day 7 in the Davidson trial begins.

October 26, 2009 – 9:12am
I’m hearing there is a change in the jury makeup. A female juror became ill yesterday. She’ll be replaced this morning by an alternate juror.

October 26, 2009 – 9:04am
Davidson has entered the courtroom.

Attorney Mike Whalen is also in the courtroom. He represents the reluctant witness.

October 26, 2009 – 8:55am
We don’t have any word yet on whether or not Davidson has decided to testify in his own defense. He will have to give his decision to Judge Baumgartner today.

Also, we expect to hear the judge’s decision on a motion regarding a reluctant defense witness.

Courtroom Updates From The Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom Murder Trial

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.

October 24, 2009 – 11:28am
The defense has called its first witness, Lynn Freeman.

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?”

Schade: “No.”

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

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


LIVE Coverage:

Diversity Is Strength! It’s also…Minority Jury Nullification.

The original article is located here and is a better read since it includes many hyperlinks, the following is just an excerpt.

By Nicholas Stix

“What do you have to do today to get the death penalty?” asked Channon Christian’s father incredulously.

Letalvis Cobbins, a black man, was convicted of kidnapping, raping, and murdering the 21-year-old white girl in the January 2007 Knoxville Horror. And yet the jurors sentenced him to “life without parole”. [Letalvis Cobbins found guilty in Christian—Newsom murders, WATE, August 25, 2009.]

Since murderers have been known to be released from prison sentences of “life without parole”, and prison is for the most violent black and Hispanic offenders a felon’s paradise, replete with cable TV, weight lifting, and ample opportunities to deal and buy drugs and gang-rape white men, Cobbins’ sentence is both misleading and of dubious punitive value.
The jury’s pretext for not sentencing Cobbins to death for the most heinous crimes ever committed in Knox County: laughable “mitigating” factors, which it asserted outweighed any aggravating factors: “[A] horrific childhood, the pleas of his relatives and his alleged role as subordinate to an evil mastermind”.