Today, he will formally be sentenced and all that is left is for Judge Kurtz to pronounce the additional sentence for Thomas’ additional crimes.
All families in court…
Thomas brought in…
Judge Kurtz takes the bench at 1:01pm.
Kurtz says sentencing memos from the 2010 will be entered as exhibits.
Leland Price calls Mary Newsom for additional impact statement.
She says Thomas chose to live with the crime.
Chris’ friends and family have lost a loving, happy person.
She had never should have had to face his naked, charred body.
I have to live with the knowledge of his being beaten, raped and murdered.
Hugh Newsom called.
How Chris died has left scares.
I saw the hurt in your mother’s eyes at trial. I know she did the best in raising you.
This is the most brutal I’ve seen the families been on impact. Kurtz is allowing them a great deal of leeway, including allowing them to mention the statements of Coleman, Davidson, and Cobbins. He does however rule them off record due to judicial issues.
We’ll go home knowing justice has been served, but Chris’ room will always been empty.
I never want to see another family to go though what my family and the Christian’s have gone through.
Your honor, I beg you to sentence in the maximum.
Andrea Bowers called. Chris’ sister.
Chris was my little brother.
Justice for the victims is that long and hard road. Our system is all about the defendants and it needs to be fixed!
This happens over and over again.
Why can’t the truth speak for itself!
Enough is enough. Let’s take some steps to tip the scales in the right direction.
Andrea has so nailed the problems with our system!!!!
She tells Thomas, in the end, he has to face the almighty!
Andrea also asks the judge to never let Thomas out of jail.
Deena Christian up.
She was only 21 when you killed her.
The thought of what you did to her still haunts me.
The hate you must have in your heart to rape, beat, torture, and murder, these two kids is pure evil.
Gary and I regret our failure to protect our daughter.
Channon and Chris were the victims…you gave them no mercy and you shouldn’t receive any.
Deena asks for the maximum.
Gary Christian called.
Gary says the letters you wrote to Cobbins about brotherhood made me want to throw-up.
If you think that this court should give you mercy, you’ve been smoking too many blunts.
You were a coward….you could have left that house and gotten help, but you didn’t.
What you and your friends did changed me. To my wife and my son, I apologize because I am not the man I used to be because you taught me to hate.
You don’t get to hurt anybody else, not today, not tomorrow.
Thomas showing no emotion, whatsoever.
State asks for the max sentencing. Exceptional cruelty exhibited in all the charges.
Not being funny here…how much does this hearing really mean? The judge made up his mind before coming into to this.
Defense says how the factors apply to Thomas should be considered. He was not the principal actor in the crime.
Kurtz seems to be having trouble with this.
Your statement says he’s remorseful. I don’t see anything in the record that shows that!
Kurtz ain’t buying the defense!!!
Kurtz chewing and spitting out the defense argument!
Defense doesn’t wants consecutive sentencing; Thomas doesn’t have a long criminal record.
Kurtz says Chris lived up to 5 hours, Channon maybe 24. “Your client has the opportunity to totally digest what was going on here.”
Kurtz says considerable enhancements here and Thomas needs to be responsible.
Enhancement, far outweighs the mitigating factors!
Kurtz going to slam the hammer down on the cruelty and brutality of the crimes.
Consecutive life sentences.
Life, plus life, plus 25, plus another 25!
Dead man walking!
Never let your hearts, minds, and souls forget Channon and Chris – their tragic endings were beyond brutal, they were depravity at it’s worst!
God bless the families and may they finally begin to heal!
Count 1 – Unlawfully killing Chris Newsom during the robbery of Newsom Guilty 1st degree
Count 2 – Unlawfully killing Newsom during the robbery of Channon Christian Guilty 1st degree
Count 3 – Unlawfully killing Christian during the robbery of Newsom Guilty 1st degree
Count 4 – Unlawfully killing Christian during the robbery of Christian Guilty 1st degree
Count 5 – Unlawfully killing Newsom during the kidnapping of Newsom Guilty 1st degree
Count 6 – Unlawfully killing Newsom during the kidnapping of Christian Guilty 1st degree
Count 7 – Unlawfully killing Christian during the kidnapping of Newsom Guilty 1st degree
Count 8 – Unlawfully killing Christian during the kidnapping of Christian Guilty 1st degree
Count 9 - Killing Newsom during the rape of Newsom Guilty 1st degree
Count 10 – Killing Newsom during the rape of Christian Guilty 1st degree
Count 11 – Killing Christian during the rape of Newsom Guilty 1st degree
Count 12 – Killing Christian during the rape of Christian Guilty 1st degree
Count 13 – Killing Newsom during the theft of property of Newsom Guilty 1st degree
Count 14 – Killing Newsom during the theft of property of Christian Guilty 1st degree
Count 15 – Killing Christian during the theft of property of Newsom Guilty 1st degree
Count 16 – Killing Christian during theft of property of Christian Guilty 1st degree
Count 17 – Intentionally and with premeditation killing Newsom
Count 18 – Intentionally and with premeditation killing Christian
Count 19 – Knowingly by violence putting Newsom in fear and taking Newsom’s items where he suffered serious injury
Count 20 – Knowingly by violence putting Christian in fear and taking Christian’s items where she suffered serious injury
Count 21- Kidnapping of Newsom with a weapon
Count 22- Kidnapping of Newsom
Count 23 – Kidnapping of Christian with a deadly weapon
Count 24 – Kidnapping of Christian
Count 26- Anal penetration of Newsom
Count 27- Anal penetration of Newsom
Count 29 – Anal penetration of Newsom while being aided
Count 33 – Anal penetration while armed of Christian
Count 34 – Oral penetration while armed of Christian
Count 35 – Vaginal penetration while armed of Christian
Count 36 – Anal penetration of Christian
Count 37- Oral penetration of Christian
Count 38 – Vaginal penetration of Christian
Count 42 – Anal penetration of Christian
Count 43 – Oral penetration of Christian while being aided by another
Count 44 – Vaginal penetration of Christian while being aided by another
Count 45 – Theft of $500 or less of Newsom
Count 46 – Theft between $10,000 and $60,000 of Christian
I stopped marking! Lets just put it this way…guilty across the board!!!
Lots of hugging and tears!!!!
What a great day for the prosecution…home run!
Court recessed…penalty hearing starts shortly.
Five members of George Thomas are in attendance.
We are about to hear victim impact statements.
The court is reviewing the parent’s statements and the defense has
objections to some of the statements.
Judge Kurtz says he can’t let parents directly address Thomas or advocate a particular penalty, that’s up to the jury, but he understands their emotions, but asks for their respect of the laws regarding impact statements.
Short break as counsel reviews the redactions in chambers…
And we’re back….
Judge announces they are determining whether or not we are sentencing for LWOP or life, which means Thomas, could be released at a long time out in his in his sentence.
A picture of Chris and Channon is up on the screen and TaKisha is saying can you imagine what Channon was thinking as she being placed in the trash bags…she’s still alive and can hear what’s going on.
What was she thinking as she was lifted into the trash can?
Then she suffocated. The murder was heinous, atrocious, and cruel.
She was murdered so she could not take the stand and tell you what happened. She could tell you how many times she was raped orally, vaginally, and anally.
TaKisha is nailing how brutal the rape, torture and murders were.
The aggravating circumstances are incredibly powerful, but damn, this doesn’t get any easier no matter how many times ya hear it!
TaKisha asks for the ultimate penalty.
Defense puts up a photo of Thomas’ family.
Says they respect the juror’s decision.
Laws of criminally responsibility is what they look at in sentencing.
Asking for eligibility of parole in 51 years!
If the jury had any doubts, the verdict wouldn’t have come in today!
The State provided no evidence of his criminal responsibility.
Consider the youth of Mr. Thomas.
Consider the knowledge of his mother, knowing her son won’t ever get out of jail.
Mr. Johnson nothing you are saying is enough of a mitigator for his part in this. He did nothing to stop this horrific situation.
Give the family some hope!
Families are now going to address the jury.
Deena, Channon’s mom, on the stand. She identifies photos of Channon that are shown to the jury.
Pictures of Channon as a youngster.
Deena reads her VIS.
Channon would light up a room when she walked in.
She had the biggest heart.
She was more than my daughter, she was my friend.
She dreamed about her wedding. She had it all planned out for when it happened.
We have a hole in our hearts that will never be filled.
She endured more than anyone should have to bear with what happened to her.
Gary Christian on the stand.
He recalls Channon in the delivery room and how with her little hand she grabbed his finger.
He told her he would always be there for her.
Her grades were always good and her work ethic was beyond reproach.
Gary talks about the 4 Runner they gave her.
He remembers her first boyfriend. He remembers her first date.
He remembers his first dance with her at his cousin’s wedding. Channon told him they would dance again at her wedding.
Our family is left with fond memories and we have no hope. There’s none left.
I will never see her children. I will never see my grandchildren. I have no hope of that.
Mary Newsom, Chris’s mom.
Photos of Chris being shown that Mary identifies.
Mary says Chris loved life and lived it to it’s fullest.
He had a lot of friends and loved children.
He loved Channon and wanted a future.
He would have been a great father.
We will never get to hold his babies.
He death has affected or health.
Hugh Newsom, Chris’ dad.
The day Mary told him she was pregnant with Chris, he was tickled to death.
He talks about Chris’ baseball career and there are 31 trophies in Chris’ room and he goes there, but finds it pretty empty.
Mary was coming down the stairs with a laundry basket that contained the golf clothes Chris wore the day of his death.
He asked her what she was doing and Mary said I’m going to do his laundry one more time.
I’ve been derived of spoiling his kids.
Chris had black friends and white friends.
After Chris’ death, they attended several of Chris’ friend’s weddings. They had a separate table with Chris’ picture so he was there with them.
At Christmas time there is an empty chair.
Bridget Thomas called. George’s mom. From Michigan.
She identifies her son.
She is not reading a statement, but being questioned by Tom Dillard.
Lot’s of exhibits of birth certificates and childhood photos being shown.
George never gave her any problems growing up.
Not for nothing, what Dillard is showing are pretty photos of kids growing up, but none of this has anything to do with mitigation!
Her kid turned criminal, plain, and simple!
She wants her son to get life and be eligible for parole in 51 years, knowing Thomas will be elderly, but she might get to see it.
I feel sorry for the families, but I won’t get to see my grandchild too. Show mercy and grace.
Thomas waives the right to testify.
Break for 10 minutes, then closing arguments and instructions to the jury!
Jury back, 4:46.
Takisha says Ms. Thomas is a good woman. However, the values she installed in him didn’t stick.
George Thomas chose to stay with those folks and listen to the cries of Channon.
He watched Davidson pull the trash bags out of the box.
This crimes cries out for justice. It deserves punishment.
Thomas deserves to be locked up for life and not on the street.
This has be difficult on everybody.
That State doesn’t seem to realize about criminal responsibility.
There is no proof Mr. Thomas did anything.
Dillard refers to the mitigating factor they presented, of which I heard none!!! Why is youth a mitigating factor…sheesh!
Price thanks the jury again for their service.
This is not a happy day for anyone. There are no victors here.
Think about all the hope these parents had for those kids.
The wedding of their kids, the grandchildren…there is no hope.
This crime was heinous, cruel, and atrocious.
LWOP is what justice requires.
These parents would love to make a phone call to their kids one more time. Ms. Thomas can still do that with LWOP.
Jury instructions being read.
Jury headed out to deliberate! 5:15. Court in recess till decision made!
Have a feeling they probably already have decided!
Thomas back in court at 5:44.
We go live at 5:45!
Verdict is State didn’t prove aggravators beyond a reasonable doubt! OMG. Sentence if for life which means eligible for parole in 51 years
Not the verdict we hoped for…families subdued. TaKisha apologizing to the families.
Small consolation, but Thomas will be 75 when eligible for parole.
At least no more trials for the families!
Long sad, haul!
Day 3 testimony
I am still so miffed about losing all the testimony of ME, Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan.
From the testimony at previous trials:
WARNING, extremely disturbing!!!
Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan said Newsom’s body was face up, badly charred and a belt bound his feet. “The body was subjected to high heat.” Newsom’s upper body was more burned. His ankles weren’t burned, but they were charred. In fact, Newsom’s body was so charred, he was almost unrecognizable.
Newsom was repeatedly raped with a foreign object just an hour or two before he was killed. She described the condition of Newsom’s anal area as having tears and lots of bruising.
“This is not just a rape,” she said. “This is the blunt trauma where an object comes in contact and severely damages the tissue. The depth of the injury was so grave there was no way that just the regular rape could inflict this.”
He was then blindfolded, gagged by a sock being shoved in his mouth, arms tied behind his back, his bare feet bound and his head covered. He was either led or dragged to a set of railroad tracks. He was shot in the back of the head, the neck, and the back, and his body set on fire.
Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan said the gunshot to Newsom’s head caused “instantaneous death.” There was also blunt trauma to his head, perhaps from hitting the ground after being shot.
Channon death came after hours of sexual torture. Christian suffered horrific injuries to her vagina, anus, and mouth. Her top lip frenulum was torn.
She was not only raped, but also savaged with ‘an object’.
Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan said Christian had tears, bruising and swelling in her vaginal and anal areas, as well as signs of blunt force trauma.
She was not only brutally raped; she was then kicked repeatedly in the vaginal area. She also suffered blows to the head, bruising on her arms indicate she was grabbed by force and she had carpet burns on her back. She also had hemorrhages on both sides of the top of her head. They were severe, but not the cause of death.
Bleach was poured down her throat. This was while Christian was alive. She was then bound in a fetal position with curtains and strips of bedding so tightly her knees were touching her cheeks. Her face was covered with a small white trash bag and her body placed inside five black trash bags before being placed inside a large trashcan and covered with sheets. Christian died slowly by asphyxia with her eyes open.
Christian was wearing only a sweatshirt and camisole.
All parties are in place.
Court begins at 9:05.
Both sides stipulate that the 4 Runner had a sunroof.
Leland Price enters a few more pieces of evidence.
Jury sent out so the jury instructions can be finalized.
Johnson asks for an acquittal based on there is no evidence that Mr. Thomas committed any crime and that Ethel Freeman was mentioned during the case, but she was not called to testify.
Judge denies motion.
Thomas placed under oath and takes the stand.
Dillard asks if he knows he doesn’t have to testify, do you understand? Yes.
You understand you have the right to testify if you so choose? Yes.
Thomas waived the right to testify.
Defense will not offer any proof.
Jury brought back and the defense rests.
Jury again sent out so instructions can be finalized.
Two items are addressed, one was a typo and one was an instruction the defense didn’t want, but the judge overruled.
Both sides approved the verdict form.
Dillard tells Judge Kurtz he and Johnson will split the defense closing.
Court on a 10-minute recess and then the State will begin closing arguments.
Courts resumes at 9:34.
TaKisha tells the jury they asked what crimes were committed.
She discusses that fact the 4 Runner was stolen and at gunpoint.
The fact Channon was murdered.
Aggravated rape was proven.
Premeditated murder because once Channon was bound and the plastic bag placed over her head and stuffed in the garbage bags and placed in the trashcan the intent was she would suffocate.
She details the crimes against Chris.
The State believes Thomas promoted and aided in the commission of the crimes.
Thomas was in the home before and after the crimes.
Thomas then fled to Kentucky.
Thomas’ own statement contains several versions.
Thomas says he woke up when the blindfolded kids were brought in and he looked out the sunroom and said nice ride. Did he leave if he didn’t want to participate? No he didn’t
His own statement indicates he knew crimes were being committed. He even rode around in the 4 Runner.
Xavier Jenkins told you he saw 4 black males in the 4 Runner.
Thomas was in the house; he heard what was going on.
He fled to Kentucky and still stayed with Cobbins and Coleman. Did he go to the Lebanon police and tell them about the crimes? He had the opportunity to be the eyes and ears, but didn’t.
During questioning he could have helped investigators but he tried to save his buddies.
The prosecutor just told you a story. You didn’t hear any of that from the witnesses.
George Thomas is not guilty.
You get to decide about the government’s speculation and guesses. That’s a powerful position.
The government pulled out all the stops on this case.
Johnson says Thomas had no criminal intent.
Thomas was not for them jacking the car, he told them to chill. The knowledge of the crime does not make him criminally responsible. He has to act.
Yes he was at the house when they brought in Chris & Channon but mere presence doesn’t make him criminally responsible.
Thomas’ DNA was nowhere.
Johnson really hammering on Thomas’ statement to police. The question is, did you believe it?
Judge tells the jury they will next hear from Dillard, the State will finish up, and then they will hear the jury instructions
Judge calls a 10-minute break…
Tom Dillard is finishing the defense arguments.
He thanks the jury for their attention.
Says what was done to these kids was awful and they didn’t deserve this.
All the evidence shown in this case doesn’t take away the presumption of Thomas’ innocence.
Thomas didn’t encourage anyone in the crimes.
Just because they were friends doesn’t make Thomas responsible.
Stacy Lawson told you Thomas didn’t have a gun. She even gave him money before she left.
Daphne Sutton went to the house to get her makeup. Thomas was sitting at the TV; He didn’t say anything and didn’t try to stop her from going anywhere.
Now he’s dumping on Daphne for not calling the police.
There is no forensic evidence that ties Mr. Thomas to the horrible crimes were committed.
He’s discussing reasonable doubt & allowing the mind rest easily to the moral certainty of guilt.
We trust you to listen to the facts and we trust you will find Mr. Thomas not guilty.
Leland Price up.
He thanks the jury for their service.
No DNA, no fingerprints. The state told you that.
Think about other items. The trash can. Any DNA on the trashcan? No, none was there. Well, how did the can get there? Did it fly to the spot in the kitchen?
You heard from the expert only 10% of the time, do we get fingerprints.
The Judge will give you instructions and will tell you, to determine criminally responsibility no act needs to be proven.
You heard Stacy Lawson tell you how small the house was and with no doors, you could hear everything gong on.
Price says to not check your common sense at the door.
Price says Thomas’ statement is self-serving garbage!
Davidson couldn’t have committed all these by himself, it took a ‘team’, and ‘G’ was part of the team.
Thomas went to Kentucky after murders. Do the innocent flee or do the guilty? Think about that.
Thomas was on that team and it’s too late to get off the team.
Judge begins reading the instructions.
This is pretty tedious. Instructions have taken well over an hour!
Alternate juror numbers are pulled.
Well, that’s it. Jury will have lunch and then begin deliberations.
1:14, we are on verdict watch!
Verizon rep, Karen Milbrodt, record custodian.
She has the records for Chris Newsom. Jan 7, 2:19 am the phone was used to access the web. A call was made at 2:10 am.
Dillard on cross…
When the phone accesses data, what does that mean? The phone has a browser so the web was accessed.
You don’t know he did it? No.
Next a Sprint rep, Ryan Harger, custodian of records.
The records are for Lemaricus Davidson.
Several outbound calls were placed on Jan 7 and 8th and a few incoming calls are detailed. This activity was with Daphne Sutton.
No questions from the defense.
Stacy Lawson is called. She drove Thomas, Cobbins, and Coleman to Chipman from Lebanon, KY. She was George Thomas’ girlfriend.
She dated Thomas for about a year.
They stayed at Chipman Street in the beginning of December 2006 overnight.
The second time she went to Knoxville was December 14, they stayed for 3 days.
On that trip, they all helped move Ethel Freeman.
Lawson says the Chipman Street was so tiny that you could hear everything that was going on in the house and there were no doors in the house.
December 28 she drove Thomas, Cobbins, and Coleman to Chipman from Lebanon, KY.
On New Years Eve, they went outside at midnight and shot off guns. She shot Lemaricus’ black revolver. Cobbins owned the silver revolver. She never saw Thomas shoot a gun.
She and Davidson got into argument and Davidson pointed the assault rifle in her face. It upset her enough she decided to go home. She asked Thomas, Cobbins and Coleman to go home with her. They all said they wanted to stay. Lawson left for Kentucky Jan 2.
Lawson placed Daphne at the house on Jan 2. She tried calling Thomas. Her cell phone was cut off on Jan 4.
She spoke to Thomas on the 10th and he was back in Lebanon and staying at Natosha’s with Cobbins and Coleman. She went over and said they all looked like they were scared. Thomas wouldn’t tell her anything.
Thomas, Cobbins, and Natosha were watching the Knoxville New online and she saw Davidson and Cobbins were shown as suspects.
She asked Thomas what happened and he wouldn’t say anything.
On the 11th police questioned her about the whereabouts of Thomas, Cobbins, and Coleman. She originally lied and said she didn’t know, but quickly changed her mind and told them they were at Natosha’s house.
She identifies photos of the house on Chipman and Natosha’s house.
Gary’s doing his angry rocking in his seat.
She identifies the two revolvers and the assault riffle.
Dillard on cross…
You met George Thomas through Cobbins? Yes.
When did you meet George Thomas? January ’06.
George Thomas didn’t have a cell phone? No.
A car? No.
A gun? No.
On New Years Eve when you were shooting, did Mr. Thomas shoot? No.
State calls Natosha Hayes, also known as Blue.
She met Thomas through Cobbins.
She also made several trips to Knoxville and knows the whole cast of characters.
She also helped move Ethel Freeman.
Cobbins, Coleman, and Thomas arrived at her house in Lebanon saying things didn’t work out in Knoxville.
She recalls Thomas using the computer at her house.
She said one night she and Thomas were sitting in the kitchen and Thomas had some coins and bullets on the table. She asked what they were for and he didn’t say anything.
The next day, Jan 11, the police showed up and took all of them into custody.
Johnson on cross…
You take medication that makes you sleepy? Yes, I have seizures and have to take it.
The gun that was found in the downstairs bedroom, you never saw Mr. Thomas with that gun? No. I never saw anyone with a gun.
Darin Williams called. He knew Davidson because he bought cocaine from him
January 2007 he went to Chipman to buy dope. Heard a car horn honking but didn’t recognize the cat. When he stopped at the house, Davidson drove up in the 4 Runner. He believes there were 4 persons in the vehicle.
He saw Thomas at Davidson’s house, but never spoke to him.
He saw Davidson several times at the house, but Davidson always came out. One of the times, he saw the 4 Runner parked in the gravel lot across the street.
He identifies a picture of the 4 Runner.
Johnson on cross…
Oh, now he has no questions!
Nevil Norman called. Knox County Sheriff’s Department homicide detective.
He took the missing person’s report.
Jan 11, he went to Lebanon to help arrest the murder suspects.
He and another officer covered the back of the house.
He and two others took statements from George Thomas. The interview was recorded.
He identifies the Rights Waiver Thomas signed and identifies Thomas sitting in court.
Price plays the audio of the interview and the transcript is passed out to the jury.
The audio is really poor quality and pretty much not understandable. Don’t know what the recording sounds like in court, but good thing the jury has transcripts to follow along!
He’s talking about the 4 Runner and that a blindfolded white girl and white girl being there.
This audio is awful…can’t follow it at all! Have to remember how many years ago this happened and recording technology wasn’t as state-of-the-art as it is today!
Audiotape over and Judge breaks for lunch at 12:28…
I realize many are confused, but because this is a retrial, I believe the State has to present their original case…no additions; no deletions. Which is why you are hearing things that probably don’t make a whole lot of sense to you if new to the trial!
Court resumes at 1:32 …discussion about jurors taking notes on the transcripts and whether or not the can keep them…both sides agree.
1:37 cross resumes Norman retaking the stand.
After the interview, Norman asked Thomas why he didn’t do anything to help Channon and Thomas said, ‘f**k that white girl, she didn’t mean anything to me.’ You cops come into our neighborhood and kill us so why should I care.’
He didn’t report it till a year later because it wasn’t recoded. He put it in a report later.
Dillard on cross…
Three of you were hurling questions at him? Yes.
You kept on him and kept on him? Yes.
Mr. Thomas told you he smoked a lot of weed? Yes.
He told you he wasn’t paying attention? Yes.
He said ‘oh man, man, what are you doing?’
I went to the back room and wasn’t paying attention? Yes, that’s what he said.
Cobbins said Davidson was gonna do something crazy? Yes.
Jack a car and I just said chill out? Yes.
That’s when he said he didn’t want to be a part of this and that’s when he and Cobbins, and Vanessa left? That’s what he said.
Davidson tells cops “E”, (Boyd) and Davidson wouldn’t let them leave, even though they wanted to. That’s what he said.
Defense cherry-picking the Thomas interview statements!!!!
Fair to say you were upset for George Thomas wasn’t doing anything to help? No, that’s wrong.
Defense trying to discredit the Thomas statement of f***k that white girl!
It was only 17 months later that you brought this statement forward? Correct, I told my supervisors.
Defense really grilling Norman!!! I don’t believe this guy is lying! Has no reason too! No benefit.
Cobbins in passing told Thomas to tell them the truth and not the other story? Yes.
Norman is holding his own being defiant about he interview!
State calls (?), from Grayson County detention center where Thomas was held. Phone tape played.
Again, understandable, but believe it’s between Stacy and Thomas and Stacy asks what happened.
Lawson is asking why didn’t you call or leave? Thomas, I couldn’t & it’s none of my business.
Kayla Trout called. She knew Daphne and stayed at Chipman off-and-on when she had no place to stay.
Jan 7 she recalls several calls from Davidson’s cell phone.
She called Daphne to let her know Davidson was looking for her.
Johnson on cross…
You didn’t know who George Thomas was? No.
No questions from defense.
Defense arguing letters between Thomas and Cobbins, twenty and thirty, should not be introduce.
Letters are from ’08 and State argues there are 3 letters that show Thomas and Cobbins were close friends after the criminal events and defense says they are not probative. They fact, they are signed love!
Judge Kurtz rules he will state a stipulation on the salutations and sign-off on the letters…they are fairly beyond friendly!
Blog lost everything from 3 pm, oh…accckkk, sorry folks… nothing real important ‘cept how bad these crimes were in terms of hideous by the ME!! Sucks WP did this!
Sounds like we will rest tomorrow!!!
The families have arrived and are seated.
Defense setting up
Judge Kurtz takes the bench at 9:13.
Well, we have a good picture, but no sound!
Jury brought in.
Mary Newsom is testifying to what happened that day and said when Deena Christian called and said Channon hadn’t shown up for work and they got really scared.
They tried calling Chris’ cell, but got no answer.
They stayed up all night. Police came by to get DNA for Chris.
On Monday police came and told them they had found Chris’ body. They were devastated.
Mary identifies Chris’ sneakers, his baseball cap, his wallet, his belt that is badly burned.
Price shows photos of Chris’s belongings removed from the Chipman Street house.
Deena Christian takes the stand.
Deena talks about Channon’s education. Dating Chris.
Channon had a cell phone and her 4 Runner.
TaKisha asks Deena about the day of January 6.
She helped Channon pick out what she was going to wear to Jamie’s party that night. Channon packed the clothes in a bag to take over to Kara’s apartment.
Deena knew Channon intended sleep over at Kara’s.
Channon called home around 12:35 and said plans had changed and she was coming home, but Channon never showed up.
Deena called Channon’s cell numerous times Sunday morning, but it went to voice mail.
Around 3pm Channon’s boss called and said she never showed up for work.
They called the hospitals and the jail, but nobody knew of Channon.
The police told her they weren’t going to look for Channon and to look by themselves.
She called the Newsoms’ and then they went driving looking for Channon. Deena had been able to get the last ping for Channon cell so the knew to look in the Cheery Street tower area.
When the vehicle was found, Deena drove over and gave the police the keys to Channon’s SUV. The car stickers and license plate were missing. The car was cleaned out and the front seats were pushed all the way.
TaKisha shows photos of Channon’s vehicle that Deena identified. Now photos of items of clothing taken from Chipman. Deena also identifies jewelry and other personal items.
TaKisha now showing clothing that Channon packed to go to the party. Deena identifies all of them.
Defense has no questions.
State calls Linda Littlejohn. TBI Crime Lab Microanalysis. Shoe prints and fiber analysis expert.
Littlejohn analyzed the floral and pink fabric from the crime scenes and autopsies.
She identified the pieces of fabric and says they came from what appears to be curtain and be set.
Davidson ripped up a sheet and curtains and those strips were used to bind Channon and Chris.
Dillard on cross…
What other analysis was down on the fabric. Another examiner did DNA serology.
Do you know which exhibit? The autopsy fabric.
What were they looking for? You have to ask them.
Asking her stuff she couldn’t possibly know!
Was the fabric cut or torn? Could have been either, I didn’t test for that.
Well if ripped, it would have DNA on it? That’s not my area.
Kimberly Elkins, Knoxville Credit Union. Has bank account records for Chris.
Jan. 6 Chris withdrew $100. $561.80 was left in the account.
No questions from defense.
Barbara Thomas called. Ist TN Bank. Channon’s bank.
205.20 left after a credit transaction on Jan. 6.
No questions from defense.
Taylor Shadix called. Knows Daphne Sutton, Kayla Trout, Cassie Suttles all worked together at Sonic.
She knew Lemaricus Davidson because he was dating Daphne. Identifies a photo of him.
Says Daphne and Davidson lived together at Chipman Street.
Daphne moved out in December. She stayed at Cassie’s and her parents.
Davidson was calling her looking for Daphne on Jan. 7. She called Daphne and let her know ‘Slim” was looking for her.
Davidson showed up at her house and asked to stay over, she said no.
Davidson showed up and she gave him a ride to where Daphne was.
Daphne Sutton called. She dated Davidson starting Sept. 2006.
She and Davidson rented the house on Chipman Street.
They started arguing and he got physical so she left around Thanksgiving. She came back in December and the trouble began again.
She met Letalvis, George, Stacy, and Blue from Lebanon, KY because they came to stay at Chipman.
She moved all the furniture from the house.
Did you meet Vanessa Coleman? Yes.
Friday, Jan 5 they got into a fight and Davidson choked her and threw her against the wall. Nobody did anything to help her.
She left and called Cassie to pick her up and she stayed there.
Sunday, Lemaricus called looking for her.
She went to Chipman because she thought Davidson had a girl in the house. She noticed Davidson had a blanket over the bedroom door that had never been there.
She tried to get to the bathroom to get her makeup. Davidson wouldn’t let her and said Vanessa was in there.
She saw Letalvis and George sitting in the house.
Davidson gave her a bag of clothes and she left back to Cassie. She started going through the clothes. She saw a red skirt and the clothes weren’t new. She called and asked him about them and he said he thought she would like them.
Twice, Davidson showed up and was driving the 4 Runner.
She gave Davidson the clothes back,
The last call she had with him was when she went to pick him up. He had shoes on that looked too small and she had never seen them before.
They drove to where Davidson’s friend Vince left money to buy drugs.
They all stayed at Cassie’s.
On Tuesday she found out from her mother a dead female was found in the Chipman Street house. She told him he had to leave. She picked up his jacket and found his keys and a gun.
They drove him to a place near the park.
TaKisha shows her the sneakers and the red skirt that she identifies.
She identifies Davidson’s gun.
Her neighbor, Rhonda, introduced Ethel Lynn Freeman to them. Ethel would buy drug from Davidson.
They helped Ethel move and she gave Daphne a bedroom set and some pink curtains that Daphne identifies.
She identifies the garbage can Channon was found in.
TaKisha is showing a video of the Chipman Street house. Daphne points out the gas can was out of place. She doesn’t recall the gun sings being there. Says there was never in the bathroom.
Says the garbage can was never kept in the kitchen, it was kept in the back room.
Dillard on cross…
When you met Mr.Thomas, he wasn’t a family member? No
The only one in the house that had a phone was Mr. Davidson? Yes.
Did Mr. Thomas have a phone? No.
Did he have a car? No.
Did you ever see Mr. Thomas with a gun? No.
Dillard is spending a whole lot of cross on Davidson’s actions which has nothing to do with Thomas!
Did you ever see Mr. Thomas again? No, just in the house.
12:25 Lunch called….
Court resumes at 1:35…
Cassie Suttles on the stand. She remembers going to Chipman Street to pick up some of Daphne’s things. Daphne went into the house and was there for maybe 10 minutes and she came out carrying a sears bag.
Sunday Davidson called and later showed up in the 4 Runner.
Monday Davidson showed up and said his brother had his keys and he was locked out. He spent the night.
The next day is when Daphne’s mother called about the woman’s body found at Chipman.
They gave Davidson a ride to a park.
Johnson on cross…
When you took Daphne to the house, you stayed in the car? Yes.
You could see all the way into the house? Yes.
When Davidson came over in the 4 Runner, you couldn’t see who else was in the car? No.
You didn’t see Mr. Thomas at all? No.
After Daphne spoke to her mother she got upset with Davidson and told him he had to leave.
None of you called the police and say you knew where Davidson was? No.
TaKisha asked why she didn’t call the police? I was young and naive.
Charlie Lee called. KPD. Helped with the investigation. Collected the clothing items at Cassie’s apartment.
Dillard on cross…
What did you do with the jeans? An investigator collected them.
State calls Gerald Smith. KPD. He was with the forensic unit and documented with photography and collected crime scene evidence.
Jan. 11 he was called to Reynolds Street. This was a vacant house where Davidson was hiding out in. Smith documented the items Davidson had in the house.
He identifies photos he took that day.
He identifies the gun found at the house. And Chris’s sneakers found at the house.
No defense questions.
Patricia Resig is called. KPD firearm examiner.
She examined the two guns. The 22 was test fired and it functioned properly.
Another 22 was received with the cylinder separate. Test firing showed it to misfire at times.
She identifies 5 fired cartridges that came from the 22 she examined.
She identifies several more fired cartridges that were removed from Chris’ body.
One of the bullets was too damaged to say it was fired by the same gun.
She also visited the Chipman Street house and took measurements of all the rooms. The entire house was approximately 805 square feet.
Using rope, she marks off the dimensions of the house inside the courtroom. It doesn’t even take up the whole court. Very, very tiny house…no way you could miss what was going on in that house particularly because there where no interior doors!
Dillard on cross…
Dillard asks to see her report.
Where did you get the gun from that you test fired? Chain of custody from Gerald Smith.
Were the cartridges tested for fingerprints? I don’t know.
You couldn’t tell when the last time it was fired? No.
State calls Randal Nelson. TBI forensic scientist. Does chemical analysis.
He received a white tank top to determine what caused the stains. He tested the areas and found there was bleach on the shirt.
He identifies a copy of his report, as well as the white shirt.
Dillard asks to read his report…geez!
State calls Jody Long. She knew Vince Wornamock. She used to buy drugs from him.
He asked her to take some people to Kentucky. He gave her gas money and drugs in payment.
She picked up Cobbins, Coleman, and Thomas.
She’s sketchy on details because she was a heavy druggie.
There wasn’t a whole lot of conversation in the car.
She drove about four hours to get to Lebanon and drop them off. They unloaded stuff and took it into a white house.
She turned around and drove back to Vince’s.
She identifies Thomas as one of the people she drove.
Johnson on cross…
You said you thought this trip was on a Monday and Tuesday, but you don’t remember when in January 2007? No.
Do you remember testifying in and earlier proceeding? Yes.
You weren’t able to say in earlier testimony when exactly it was? No.
Bernard Waggoner called. ATF agent.
Price asks to approach. I recall this being a bit dicey last time.
Jan 10 he was advised of what had happened and he was sent from Knoxville to Kentucky that night.
Jan 11 ATF and other LE met with the Lebanon PD to discuss what they were going to do.
They found Stacy Lawson and took he to the police department. They then went to Natosha ‘Blue’ Hayes house. They surrounded the house and announced over speaker for all of them to come out.
Natosha and Vanessa came out and the Cobbins came out with his hands up.
Thomas refused to come out. He finally did come out and was arrested and take to the police department.
Waggoner helped secure the house and then went to the police department.
He watched Coleman, Hayes, and Thomas while they waited in the hallway.
All the suspects were interviewed.
He later went back to Hayes’ house and searched the residence.
He identifies photos of the house.
Photo shown of the red purse belonging to Vanessa. The contents contain a bunch of Channon’s stuff.
He also picked a 22 caliber gun found in Kentucky in a box under the bed. Natosha said she found it on the 12th while cleaning. It was turned over to KDP.
It is believed Vanessa stashed it there.
He also searched the Chipman Street house.
He knew KPD had searched the house a few days earlier.
He identified the bleach bottle found at the Chipman house.
While in the house, he found what appeared to be a 22 caliber bullet hole in the living room wall and a larger caliber bullet hole in the living room ceiling.
Dillard on cross…
Where you able to determine where Mr. Thomas slept in the Hayes’ house? Yes, in the loft bedroom.
Was that Natosha’s room? Yes.
Do you find a gun in that room? No.
Any bullets? No.
The room where the firearm was found, who was staying in that room? Coleman and Cobbins.
The bullet holes at Chipman, you don’t know when the occurred? No.
They could have been from years ago? I wouldn’t say they were that old.
Clint Green from AT&T called.
He details phone records for Mary Ncatee from Kentucky and Ramona Lawson.
Stacy Lawson and Mary… show Mary was the account holder and Stacy was a user. The last call was Jan 4, the phone was cut off on Jan 7.
No defense questions.
State calls Ashley Goins from US Cellular.
She identifies records for Deena Christian.
Jan 7 there is a call at 4:05 am and it is a voicemail call. A call at 12:33 am also.
Pass the witness…
No defense questions.
State calls Isaac Ndiaye from US Cellular. Designs networks of radio frequency towers.
His testimony basically explains the whole cell phone pinging routine. As boring as it is, it is how they found Channon.
No defense questions, witness released.
Price asks to approach…
5:06 court ends and will resume at 9 am.
Senior Judge Walter Kurtz will preside.
Defense includes Tom Dillard and Stephen Ross Johnson.
Prosecutors are TaKisha Fitzgerald and Leland Price.
The jury, seated Friday, comes from Nashville and will be sequestered in Knoxville. The jury consists of eight women and eight men. Five of the women are black. All of the men are white.
If found guilty again, the jury will decide whether Thomas should be sentenced to a life term with the possibility of parole after 51 years or with no chance of parole.
Because of double jeopardy, the prosecution cannot seek the death penalty, but they are seeking life with no parole.
Unfortunately for the families and many of us, this will be the sixth painful trial.
Senior Judge Walter Kurtz on the bench at 9:07.
Leland Price reads the charges to the jury.
Eerie hearing all 48 charges again! Must be so difficult for the families. Gary is doing his angry rocking in his seat.
TaKisha Fitzgerald is presenting opening statements.
She shows a diagram of the Chipman Street house to the jury.
Jan. 6, 2007 George Thomas, Lemaricus Davidson, and Letalvis Cobbins carjacked Channon’s SUV and kidnap she and Chris.
She details how Chris’ body was found on the train tracks, shot, and burned. Chris had also been raped.
When the kids didn’t come home, the families went out searching and found Channon’s SUV. All her belongings were missing.
Police entered the Chipman Street house and Channon’s badly beaten body was found stuffed in a garbage can. She had been orally, vaginally, and anally raped. Davidson and Cobbins’ DNA were found. Thomas’ DNA was not found.
Thomas did ride around in Channon’s SUV. He did nothing to stop any of the brutality.
Stephen Johnson for the defense.
Johnson says George Thomas is not guilty or criminally responsible. Being present is not a crime. Failing to act to stop a crime is not a crime. It’s not murder. It’s not rape.
Thomas never participated in any conversation to steal a car.
Thomas’ DNA and prints were not found.
Thomas sat in a corner of the living room, smoking dope and watching television.
Why didn’t he help? He grew up in Detroit Michigan. He knew to survive, to keep his head down.
He did tell Davidson not to steal the car and to chill.
Thomas was asleep and woke when Davidson, Cobbins, and Eric Boyd came back in the house with Channon and Chris. He decided he wanted no part of this and wanted to leave. Boyd and Davidson, who had guns, told him he wasn’t going anywhere.
Morning recess called….
Wow, Kurtz just said he wants to go to 6pm!
Thomas’ police statement says he was trying not all to get involved.
The statement attributed to Thomas, F*** that white girl, she means nothing to me, wasn’t recorded. It’s up to you to decide if it was made.
State calls Josh Anderson. Good friend of Chris Newsom. He also knew Channon. He played golf with Chris the day he was kidnapped.
They were all going to a party at Jamie Hampton’s house that evening.
Chris and Channon never showed up. At 10pm they tried to contact on their cell phones.
He and another friend drove to Kara’s apartment where Chris and Channon were supposed to be, but they weren’t there. Chris’ truck was in the parking lot, but Channon’s SUV wasn’t there.
The next morning they started discussing where Channon and Chris might be and then found out Channon didn’t show up for work.
That evening he and a bunch of friends went with the Channon’s family to go out and search for Channon’s vehicle.
They found Channon’s SUV at Chipman and noticed all the stickers had been taken off the SUV. They called police.
He identifies photos of Channon’s SUV.
The front seats were pushed all the back. The back seat had mud and a pack of Newport cigarettes. Neither Channon nor Chris smoked.
He identifies Chris’ baseball cap and sneakers he wore that day.
No questions from the defense.
Kara Sowards called. Channon’s best friend and it was her apartment that Channon and Chris were at.
Chris was going to pick Channon up to get something to eat so Kara left to go to the party saying she would see them in a little bit.
She got home around 3:30 am and she saw Chris’ truck, but Channon’s SUV wasn’t there which was strange because Chris also drove.
She also went searching for Channon Sunday night.
Kara identifies photos of Channon’s 4 Runner and her apartment complex.
Kara identifies the clothing Channon was wearing the night of Jan.6. A pair of jeans, a white camisole, pink stripped sweater, and hot pink heels. Photos that Channon kept above her visor. Channon’s purse. Channon’s iPod Some of the cloths bagged to go to Goodwill that were in the back of the SUV.
This is the first trial where Kara hasn’t burst into tears while on the stand!
No questions from the defense.
11:57 lunch is called…
Xavier Jenkins called. He worked at Waste Connection, across the street from the Chipman Street house. He saw Channon’s SUV at the house.
The SUV pulled around and checked him out and saw 4 people in it. He believed they were 4 black males.
The mean mugged him so he mean mugged them back because he had the right to be there.
He saw the stickers on the back window of Channon’s SUV.
Told his supervisor something was wrong…the SUV was out place in that neighborhood.
Tom Dillard on cross…
Waste Connection was closed at the time? Yes.
You could identify the color of the skin? Yes.
What is mean mug? An attitude to intimidate.
You don’t know them and they don’t know you? No.
When you saw the picture of the vehicle, the windows were tinted? Yes.
You perceived them to be black males? Yes.
Adrienne Mathis called. She had a white Pontiac Sunbird that she loaned to Eric Boyd.
Eric called her and said the car broke down. It was on the street by the Chipman Street house. She found a bag of small caliber bullets in the car. She had a gas can in her trunk.
Dillard on cross…
Do you know Mr. Thomas? No.
Do you know the difference between live and spent bullets? Yes.
These were live? Yes.
What did you do with the? Threw them out.
Jerome Arnold called. He lived a block from the Chipman street house.
He was watching television and at 1:45 Sunday morning and heard 3 large pops.
Roy Thurman called. He was working off of Cherry Street and saw smoke coming from the railroad tracks.
He found out later that a body had been found on the tracks and told police what he saw.
You didn’t see George Thomas? No.
Jay Ford called. Railroad engineer. He found Chris’ body on the tracks.
At first he thought it was a log originally.
He stopped the train and called the dispatcher and told him what he saw. Walked back and saw a badly burned, naked man.
He waited for Det. Childress and other LE to arrive.
He identifies a photo of the burned body of Chris.
Dillard on cross…
What was the weather day? Kinda cold and rainy.
What time did you get to work? 8:15.
He saw the body between 12:15 and 12:23.
Robert Watson called. TN Fire Marshall bomb and arson unit. Then became a K-9 handler.
He collected evidence from the tracks. The ground showed definite evidence of gasoline.
He identifies photos of the scene.
No questions from defense.
Russ Whitfield, Knoxville City Police, forensics.
Jan.10 he went to the railroad tracks and photographed they evidence LE was collecting.
At a creek about 50 yards away he found multi-colored cloth he saw on the tracks and also a blue dog leash.
Laura Hodge called. TBI crime lab. Fire debris and gunshot residue analysis.
She reviewed the cloth and dog leash for ignitable liquids and found gasoline on both.
No defense questions!
Recess called for 10-minutes…
Court resumes at 2:52…
Kileen Wigel called. She lived a short distance from Chipman. Police came and asked about a vehicle parked in front of the house at 1:45am. The 4 Runner. She was on her porch at midnight and there was no vehicle there.
Dan Crenshaw’s testimony is being read. He passed away last year. Forensics fingerprints, Knoxville Police.
Crenshaw was the one who found Davidson’s print on the bank envelope found in Channon’s SUV which lead to the Chipman Street house! Davidson had been arrested prior and his prints were in AFIS. The print was identified and a second person verified the print.
The vehicle was very clean and had been wiped down.
He also examined the trash bags that Channon’s body was stuffed in. He looked at 5 bags she was stuffed in and founds prints on the outer 3 bags. He identified prints from Lemaricus Davidson’s palm.
He also found prints on Channon’s pay stub and photos from Channon’s SUV.
George Thomas’ prints were not found.
Keith DeBow called. Knoxville Police. SWAT Team. He responded to Chipman.
They entered and cleared the residence.
The house was empty and when he saw the misshapen trash can in the kitchen and found Channon’s body in the trashcan.
The only door in the house was an accordion door to the bathroom. No other doors, just blankets over the doorways.
A few days later he was called to the abandoned house where Davidson was hiding out in. The broke a window out and got Davidson out.
Johnson on cross…
The only firearm you found in the house was in the bedroom? Yes.
Johnson shows the photo of the kitchen garbage can that DeBow identifies.
State calls Joe Cox. Knoxville Police. He was in forensics and photographed and video taped the crime scene for evidence.
No evidence had been removed from the house when he arrived on the scene.
The photos he took of the house are shown.
Spent 22 caliber cartridges. cases are seen in the sunroom and they go through room by room.
Several live 22 caliber rounds were also in the house. A rifle was also found in the bedroom closet.
4:28, 10-minute break called…
Court back at 4:46…
Still going over photos taken at the Chipman house.
Cox identifies physical evidence taken from the scene.
Cox’s video of the Chipman Street house is now being shown to the court.
Cartridge cases and the gas can are shown.
Channon’s belongings are shown.
Floral sheets are shown.
Outside rear of house also has a gas can.
Johnson on cross…
You gathered evidence? I’m one of many from various agencies.
You had to call a truck to gather all the evidence? Yes sir.
You wore gloves and tagged items? Yes.
Lawyers stipulate on the DVD’s George Thomas checked out from Marion County, Kentucky library.
Tim Schade is called. Knoxville PD forensics. He verified the fingerprints identified by Dan Crenshaw. Lemaricus Davidson prints.
He details how prints are lifted and what types of surfaces that can yield prints.
He also found detail on the gun magazines found at the house. Davidson and Cobbins prints were found.
Thomas’ prints were not found.
All of this testimony is being brought in to show just how heinous these crimes where and Thomas just sat back and heard it and let it all go down without a care in the world!
You teach others how to do comparisons of latent prints? Yes.
You did not identify and prints of George Thomas? Correct.
Court is called at 6:04 to resume at 9am.
OMG! Violating the Judge’s orders, the media has leaked the jury selection area!
Per Jamie Satterfield, Knox Sentinel reporter, “it kind of sucks that the tv media already announced it will be in Nashville.” yeah they are violating Judge’s order!
Damn! There hasn’t been enough bs in this case????
Arguing Coleman should have been granted immunity due to her appearance under subpoena before a grand jury and that evidence of her participation in the crimes was insufficient, Coleman’s defense was told by Judge Blackwood, empahtically, no third trial would be granted.
Coleman was sentenced to 35 consecutive years following a retrial for her role in the 2007 murder, torture and rape of Channon Christian. Christian’s boyfriend, Chris Newsom, was also killed but Coleman was not found guilty in his death.
Coleman is eligible for parole in about 4 years.
The retrial of defendant George Thomas is slated to begin May 13.