Home > Crime > Vanessa Coleman, No Win Situation – What Happened and What’s Next

Vanessa Coleman, No Win Situation – What Happened and What’s Next


What happened…

It took the Jury over 10 hours to reach their verdict.  I admit I was one of the many who was shocked and disappointed with verdict.  In fact, for an hour or so afterward, I wandered aimlessly around the house just trying to get my head around it and wondering what went wrong; or did it go wrong?

Three significant red flags were raised for me:

Daphne Sutton – The several questions as to why Daphne had not been charged was obviously a sticking-point for one or more jurors although Judge Baumgartner addressed the issue and told the Jury that was not a consideration in the trial.  The prosecution also addressed it. In my gut I think it did play a part in the verdict.

Criminal Responsibility – When the Jury asked the Court for a definition of ‘criminal responsibility’ it was clear where the Jury was headed.  It is apparent the Jury did not understand the concept…

‘Criminal responsibility applies not only to those who perform criminal acts but also to those who aid and abet a perpetrator by encouraging or in any way knowingly helping in the commission of such an act’.

Clearly, Ms. Coleman aided and abetted!

Perpetration of a Crime – Seriously, I was shocked that the Jury wanted to know what ‘perpetration’ meant.

I believe one or more members of the Jury couldn’t or didn’t get beyond Daphne Sutton.

I believe the Jury either, never really figured out the definitions of criminal responsibility and perpetration of a crime, or they took the definitions so literally they limited the scope so narrowly they would have had to see Coleman committing the actual act.

Regardless, the red flags were a recipe for disaster!

What’s next…

An appeal

Will the Defense appeal?  Lavit expressed he believed this would have been a hung jury and on retrial he could have gotten Coleman off.  He also said the State didn’t deliver its complete burden of proof.

It’s anybody’s guess what funds the Coleman family has left to bankroll an appeal.


There has been wild speculation over the length of prison time Coleman faces.

While the Judge has leeway in sentencing Coleman he must take into consideration she has no prior criminal record – boy, did she pick a doozey of a way to begin a criminal record!  Also to consider is the fact she has already spent in excess of 3 years in jail.

She was found guilty of 17 charges of facilitation.

The verdict form and the convictions can be found here, halfway down the page.

Facilitation of Channon’s murder carries a sentence that ranges between 15 to 25 years.

Facilitation of the lesser crimes kidnapping, rape, theft, etc carry sentences of 8 to 12 years each.

Will some charges be merged?  Most likely.

Will they run concurrently or consecutively? That is the conundrum Judge Baumgartner has to grapple with and will address at the July 30 sentencing.

Finally, we shouldn’t forget the investigation is ongoing according to prosecutors!




  1. ritanita
    05/14/2010 at 2:22 pm

    I think that the time between now and July 30 will be ripe for Vanessa to turn. Consider, she could face some serious time. I’m sure the prosecutors will recommend the max. possible and Judge Baumgartner has already given out the stiffest sentences in this case when he’s had to choose.

    I’m wondering how much she wants to reduce her possible sentence. All she would have to do is turn on Boyd and be totally honest. She can’t be tried again anyway.

    Even though she is despicable and deserved more guilties than she got, it’s a done deal now. The prosecution has lots of leverage to offer her in this situation.

  2. donchais
    05/14/2010 at 3:12 pm

    BINGO, ritanita!

    The investigation is still ongoing, IMO, because of Boyd and I honestly believe he played a bigger and more horrific role than has come to light so far!

    I wonder though if Coleman can ever be totally honest…just sayin!

  3. David From TN
    05/15/2010 at 11:09 pm

    Lemaricus Davidson didn’t have a car that ran as I recall. His half-brother, Letalvis Cobbins, said that Eric Boyd provided the car for the trip to the Washington Ridge Apartments. Cobbins admitted that he (and Boyd) took part in the kidnapping of the victims. There was never any DNA from Boyd found on the victims or in the Chipman Street house. Vanessa Coleman made a vague assertion of “hearing” Boyd’s voice while taking a shower in one of her police interviews.

    Speaking of the carjacking, the suspects never made an attempt to steal Channon’s 4Runner and send it to a chop shop. They ditched it not far away from Davidson’s house after wiping it down. Davidson left his fingerprint on an envelope in the 4Runner and his name and address showed when the print was run through the AFIS database.

  4. David From TN
    05/25/2010 at 5:57 pm

    On Sunday, Knoxville News Sentinel reporter Jamie Satterfield was on a local radio ahow which was streamed on the internet. Ms Satterfield felt that Vanessa Coleman was a “cold and self-centered person” as indicated by her smiling and laughing reaction to the verdict. She and her host felt that these trials should have received national attention.

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