Home > Crime > Vanessa Coleman Has A Date With Lady Justice

Vanessa Coleman Has A Date With Lady Justice


Those of you familiar with my blogging know I have been following the Christian-Newsom murder trials since the first ‘guest entry’ by David From Tennessee at Trials & Tribulations.

Something about those beautiful young adults, who were so full of life and had such bright futures ahead of them, touched my heart, profoundly.

The carjacking at gunpoint, repeated savage rapes, the horrific beatings, and brutal murders of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom left most of us grieving in stunned disbelief.

As difficult as these trials have been – it never gets easier to watch – I’ve made a commitment to honor the memory of Channon and Chris and to support the Christian and Newsom families by telling their story.  In some small way, I hope it helps.

Channon and Chris’s parents have stoically endured countless hearings and the trials of Eric Boyd (sentenced to 18 years – accessory after the fact), Letalvis Cobbins (life without parole), Lemaricus Davidson (death by lethal injection), and George Thomas (life without parole).  We are now facing the imminent trial of the only female defendant in the case, Vanessa Coleman. Coleman was Letalvis Cobbins’ girlfriend and 18-years old at the time these atrocities were committed.

Charges against Coleman include:

12 counts of felony murder growing out of the rape, robbery, kidnapping, and theft of Christian and Newsom

1 count of premeditated murder (of Christian only)

1 count of especially aggravated robbery (of Newsom only)

4 counts of especially aggravated kidnapping

20 counts of aggravated rape

2 counts of theft.

In a stunning revelation at a March 4 hearing, it was revealed that Coleman might have kept a journal that chronicled the horrendous crimes.

Judge Baumgartner responded by brandishing a photograph of the journal in a purse prosecutors say belonged to Coleman.

“You mean the photograph of her purse with the journal in it?” Baumgartner told Lavit, a note of sarcasm in his voice.

“A purse,” Lavit replied.

“It’s got her stuff in it,” prosecutor Leland Price countered.

The journal has not been released to the public so we don’t know what’s in it, however it appears to be loaded with references to the 2007 murders of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom.

“I’ve read it, and it certainly seems to be relevant to this incident,” Baumgartner said.

Jury questionnaires should be going out at the end of this week, however it is not known where the jury will be pulled from.  It is believed that Lavit and Greene have asked for a jury from outside of Knoxville.

Opening arguments are to begin May 3. The trial will be streamed live.

For those of you unfamiliar with the case and wish to know more of the background, the Knoxville News Sentinel produced an excellent video last year, detailing the case.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Due to the repeated lies and contradictions from all the defendants, we will never know exactly what happened that weekend at the ‘House of Horrors’. WATE pieced together a fairly good timeline of the events, as we know them.

Though most folks I know claim it gave them a headache,  January 31, 2007 Police Interview with Vanessa Coleman.

Knox News

  1. David From TN
    04/07/2010 at 12:06 am

    The link to the first piece I wrote for Trials and Tribulations is in the first paragraph. I briefly alluded to the lack of national coverage. There was a segment on Paula Zahn’s soon-cancelled CNN show and 3-4 mentions on Fox News. The pundits said that the Christian-Newsom murders were not worth national coverage. A newspaper columnist I saw on Fox News said it was “not a mystery so no story.”

    After 3 trials and with the fourth trial upcoming, we know it IS a very compelling story. Recent DNA testing indicated two more unidentified male suspects. That, in itself, is a mystery. We have learned that Vanessa Coleman kept a journal which refers to what happened.

    Furthermore, the killers almost got away with it. They carefully wiped down Channon Christian’s Toyota 4Runner before abandoning it. However, Lemaricus Davidson, the alleged ringleader, left a fingerprint on an envelope found in the vehicle. Upon running the print through the AFIS database, the police came up with Davidson’s name and the Chipman Street address. There, they found Channon’s body and the belongings of the victims. The authorities then rounded up Davidson and the others.

    Without the print, Davidson would not have been tracked down by the police and could have come back to the house and hidden Channon’s body or burned it, destroying the DNA evidence. I emailed Jamie Satterfield, the Knoxville News-Sentinel reporter who has covered the case in outstanding fashion and she confirmed that without the fingerprint, nothing connected the suspects to the murders.

    David From TN

  2. ritanita
    04/08/2010 at 11:36 pm

    Donchais, thanks for keeping us on track for this trial.

    David from TN: Thanks for the info. It’s amazing what such a tiny bit of evidence can lead to. Now, I’m hoping that they find out who the other DNA belongs to!

  3. Lisanne
    04/12/2010 at 2:02 pm

    Donchais had introduced me to this story and it saddened and horrified me at the same time. Those poor kids went through hell! Thanks for your dedication to this story Donchais.

    David from TN, I didn’t realize that the killers had been tracked down by that one fingerprint!! Amazing! Like ritanita said….hope they can track the other two who left their DNA.

    • donchais
      04/12/2010 at 2:53 pm

      ‘My pleasure’ is not quite the answer I’m going for, but the more folks (as horrifyingly brutal as the truth is) who recognize the horrendous lack of regard, respect, or feeling for another life (nope, I ain’t doing the race card) this is total depravity and base behavior that is unbecoming of the foulest and lowest of low-life’s – God help us as the human race!

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