Home > Crime > Vanessa Coleman Retrial Day 2

Vanessa Coleman Retrial Day 2


So far, no photos – live or dead – of victims, Channon Christian or Chris Newsom, have been shown to the jury.  The jury did however, hear that Chris had been shot and his body burned.  I doubt they will hear much more about Chris.

The defense has changed up their tactic a bit by distancing Vanessa Coleman from the crimes and portraying her as the scared 18-year old victim who was herself, being held prisoner and constantly watched.

9:01 Blackwood takes the bench.

Leland Price asks to approach the bench.

The next witness is the one who found the revolver in Kentucky.  Blackwood has ruled the revolver cannot be brought up.

9:06 Jury brought in.

Beth Goodman is called.  KPD, forensics.

Leland Price shows her items she collected from the ATF office that she identifies.  Channon’s shoes, the red skirt, etc. Entered into evidence.

Witness passed.

Lavit, you have no knowledge of any activity that took place at Chipman Street?  Yes sir.

Lavit what is that?  I was involved in the search warrant.

Lavit, That’s all I have.

Tim Schade is called. KPD, Senior evidence collector and print analysis.

Price has him explain how he was certified and the process of collecting prints and then matching fingerprints.

Price shows him a pistol magazine that had Davidson and Cobbins’ prints.

Schade examined the 5 trash bags…3 bags had Davidson’s palm prints.

So far all this evidence only implicates Davidson and Cobbins, it does nothing to nail Coleman!  I think the prosecution is just showing how much they have against the other defendants and this also shows Coleman had to know what was going on and either assisted or ignored what was going on.

Lots of evidence being identified and identified.

For the second time Lavit is on his feet objecting.  The item was related to Chris and this is pattern Lavit has established.

Price begins again and now they are back at sidebar!  I bet the jury is none too happy with the constant interruptions.

Schade identifies the garbage can Channon was stuffed into…just so sad!

Witness passed.

Lavit, What is AFIS?  Fingerprint database.

Lavit, did you find any of the…

This time Price objects and yet another sidebar.

Lavit, there’s no question in your mind that the prints you found on the garbage bag were Davidson’s?  Correct.

Lavit, You found no prints of Vanessa Coleman?  No.

Lavit, none of the items you found had Vanessa Coleman’s prints, correct?  Correct.

Poor Gary was visibly upset when the garbage can was shown and he has been rocking in his seat.

Mary Newsom is called.  Chris’s mom.

Mary describes the last time she saw Chris.  Chris told her he was going to a party with Channon.  He had on a blue sweater, blue jeans and a green baseball cap.

Mary identifies Chris’s belt, his cap, his sneakers, and numerous other items.

Deena Christian is called.  She too describes the last time she spoke with Channon.

She provides Channon’s cell phone number.

Deena describes the last phone call from Channon on the night of her abduction. Gary took the call. Both thought she was fine and would be home.

She details how the panic mounted when she couldn’t reach Channon by phone and when Channon didn’t show for work, Deena says her “worst fears” confirmed.

Deena called 911 who says a detective will call. Detective wasn’t helpful. Sheriff’s office helps track down location of cell call.

Deena explains the search for daughter. Cell phone ping last location Cherry St. They searched and found her SUV.  The vehicle wiped down, stickers removed, belongings gone.

Deena is shown numerous photos of Channon’s belongings that she identifies.

I cannot fathom how hard this is on the families!  This is the fifth time they are having to suffer through this agony!

Judge calls a recess.

Court resumes.

Takisha shows actual physical evidence to Deena and Deena identifies each item of the clothes Channon had packed to wear to the party, numerous items from the 4 Runner and what she carried in her purse.

Lavit asks for a sidebar…

Many of the items from the red purse (Coleman’s) belonged to Channon, but many belong to Vanessa Coleman.

No defense questions.

Linda Littlejohn is next.  TBI forensic microanalysis – fibers, paint, fire debris, etc. can identify size, shape, color, pattern, and make physical comparison.

She is qualified as an expert.

Littlejohn examined the cloth strips torn from the sheet in the Chipman house and used to bind Channon and Chris.

She identifies numerous items from the house and railroad tracks that Price shows her.

Photos of the pieces of cloth are on the screen.  The patterns of the pieces and an intact curtain match.

Fracture lines of two pieces that were torn match.

Littlejohn is testifying on cloth strips found with Channon and Chris’ autopsies, connecting the 2 crimes.

Russell Greene on cross.

Did you examine a pillow sham?  Correct.

Was the pillow sham of the same pattern?  Yes it was.

Would you believe these items to be a bedroom set?  Yes.

Greene is driving at this cloth could have come from the sham or a sheet, not necessarily a curtain.  Placing doubt about how Vanessa’s DNA got there…could have been off the sheet she and Cobbins had sex on.

Kim Elkins is up next. Knoxville Credit Union.  Custodian of records for Chris Newsom’s account.

Chris withdrew $100 on January 6th at 8:477 pm.

Witness passed.

Lavit wants to know if the account was accessed after 8:47.  No.

Do you have any information about Ms. Coleman?  No.

Barbara Thomas – Custodian of records for Channon’s checking account.

Is there a transaction on the 6th?  Yes, at 5:29 pm.

Again, Lavit wants to know if the account was accessed after 5:29 and whether she has any information about Vanessa in relation to that account.  Answer again is no.


1:06 court resumes with another sidebar before the jury is brought in!

A deputy just joined the side bar and the Judge is swearing in the deputy and asking him questions at the bench and a juror is called in.  According to Jamie Satterfield, the juror was nodding off yesterday.  After a lengthy conversation with juror #6 who appeared to be nodding off during some of the testimony, satisfied, Judge says keep him on.

1:21 jury is brought in.

Darin Williams called.  He knew Davidson as Slim.

He passed Davidson on Chipman and the Davidson came back around and stopped by him.  He was driving the 4 runner and two others were in the vehicle.  They spoke for a few minutes and then parted ways.

He saw the 4 Runner the next day parked in the lot across the street.

Did you ever see the 4 Runner again?  No.

He identifies a photo of the vehicle.

Pass the witness.

Lavit on cross.

‘You were driving on Chipman when you saw the 4 Runner?  Yes.

The two passengers who got out of the vehicle, you can’t tell if they were black or white?  No.

Male or female?  No.

This guy has little idea of what’s going on and little memory.  He used to buy drugs from Davidson and it’s apparent he’s confused.


Taylor Shadix called.  She worked at Sonic and knew Daphne Sutton from school and Sonic.  She met Slim through Daphne.

Davidson would call her cell to look for Daphne when he couldn’t find her.  So she called Daphne to let her know Slim was calling her.  Daphne had moved out of Chipman after Davidson beat her.

She gave Davidson a ride to Cassie’s, another friend, where Daphne was staying.  Said Davidson had a small handgun with him.

Bench conference!!!

Lavitt on cross.

What date was it when he called you and you gave him a ride?  I don’t recall

Kayla Troutt was living there?  I don’t know.

You knew Cassie?  I knew her though Sonic, but wasn’t friends.

Do you know if Mr. Davidson was arrested?  Yes, I learned from the news.

Was it along time after you dropped him off?  It was a short time.

Jason Mynnat is called.  His mother gave him a cell phone for Christmas.  He gives Price the phone number.

The phone kept receiving a lot of wrong numbers.

Did you know Christian, Newsom, Davidson…all the characters?  No.

Do you know why on January 7th you would receive a call at 2 in the morning from Chris Newsom’s phone?  Have no idea.

Lavit, do you know Vanessa Coleman?  No.

Did she ever call you?  No.

State calls KaylaTroutt.  Another Sonic girl and friend of Daphne’s and Cassie.

Daphne was her manager at Sonic and met Davidson through her.

She stayed at Chipman for about two weeks after a fight with her mother.

She reported a break in at Chipman to which the police responded.  Sutton and Davidson were in Memphis at the time.

She returned to her mother’s around December 5.

Davidson called her cell repeatedly on the weekend of the 6th and 7th looking for Daphne.  She called Daphne because she was tired of getting Davidson’s calls.

Troutt says around the end of year 2006 she went with Sutton to get her belongings at Chipman and saw Coleman there.

Witness passed.

Lavitt, Did you got to school with Daphne?  No.

Did you live with Daphne?  For a few weeks at Chipman.

Did you live with Cassie Suttles?  No, I stayed at her house a few times, but didn’t live there.

She just blew it by saying there were doors on the rooms at Chipman.

Lavit is asking Troutt about loud music and TV that was on all the time at the Chipman house.

Defense is again pointing out that she never saw or spoke to Coleman on the 6th or 7th.

Cassie Suttles is called.  Another Daphne friend.

She picked Daphne up because Daphne was leaving the Chipman house.

On the night of the 6th she, Daphne and Brandi drove to Chipman to pick up some items.  Daphne got out, the others stayed in the car.  Davidson was standing on the porch.

Daphne was in the house for about five minutes.  She was carrying a bag when she came out.  When they got home they went through the items and they were Channon’s belongings.

Davidson arrived in the 4 Runner at the apartment and he and Dahpne talked for about 5-10 minutes.

She saw him again on Monday at the apartment, claiming he was locked out of the house and asked if he could come over.

Daphne and Davidson both stayed over that night.

She next saw Davidson Tuesday, after Daphne got a call from her mother who tells her what’s going on.  It was then Cassie told Davidson he had to leave.

They drove Davidson to Ridgebrook Apartments, which is where Eric Boyd lived!

Price shows her clothing items that were in the bag Daphne had.  She identifies them.  They turned the items over to the crime lab.

Witness passed.

Lavit is just covering the same ground and having her repeat the same stuff over again.  Total nonsense and a waste of time.


When you dropped Davidson off at Ridgebrook did you know Davidson was wanted?  No.

Wouldn’t be surprised if the entire jury is snoozing by now!

Lavit, have you ever seen or met Vanessa Coleman?  No

That was the worst cross I’ve ever seen.  Seems to me Lavit is trying to muddy the waters for the jury and keeps droning on about Davidson to continue to distance Coleman from the crimes.

Recess called.

Court in session and surprise, a sidebar is called.

3:00 jury back

State calls Charles Lee.  KPD, investigator in violent crime unit..

He picked up the items from Cassie’s apartment.

He identifies shown to him by Price.

Lavit, do you have the confiscation form there?  Yes.

May I see it?

Was Daphne there?  No, I think it was just Cassie and Brandi.

Lavit asking Lee why Daphne wasn’t charged with receiving stolen property for having Channon’s clothes.

Daphne Sutton is called.

Saying she knew Davidson and they were dating starting Oct. 2006. Lived together at Chipman St.

She knew Letalvis Cobbins because they came down several times.

Cobbins, George Thomas, and Eric Boyd were there.

She also remembers Blu, Stacy, and Vanessa.

Daphne’s two kids lived at Chipman also.

It was Daphne’s furniture that they moved into Chipman.

Daphne moved out after Christmas 2006.  Says it was a rough week because the house was burglarized & vandalized.

There was blue paint graffiti on the walls.  Her money was missing and the kids presents. She later didn’t believe the house was broken into because she saw blue paint on Davidson’s shoes.

Geez, Lavit objects, and we have another sidebar!

Over the New Year, Cobbins, Thomas, Coleman and Davidson were in the house.

Where there any doors on the rooms?  No.

When Daphne was living there she says no matter what room you were in, you could hear conversations taking place in any of the rooms.

Davidson slammed her against the wall and had his hands around he throat, which was the ultimate reason she left.

Sutton identifies the rifle Davidson had.

She returned to the house on January Sunday to get her makeup from the bathroom, but Davidson blocked her way.

She saw Cobbins and Thomas in the living room. The TV and stereo weren’t blaring.

She didn’t see Coleman.

The bathroom door was closed, but Daphne could hear things being moved around in there.

Did Ms. Coleman have a good relationship?  Yes, when she was there.

She recalls Davidson giving her a bag of clothes.

Takisha has Daphne identify Channon’s clothing.

Sutton says she thought the clothes were going to be new but noticed they weren’t so she called Davidson and told him to come and get them. She gave back the offensive red skirt but kept jeans.

Davidson returned that evening and spent the night.

She said Davidson had on sneakers she never saw before and didn’t fit him.  She identified Chris’ sneakers.

Tuesday her mom called and she questioned Davidson.  After she told Cassie and Brandi what she found out, they dropped him off.

She identifies Davidson and Cobbins’ guns that Davidson was carrying.

Do you know Ethel Freeman?  Yes, I met her through Rhonda Dukes, a neighbor on Chipman.

Freeman gave Daphne the sheets, pillow sham, curtains, etc that were eventually were use to bind Channon and Chris.

The bed set was kept in the closet in the bedroom..

Daphne identifies it and said she never saw anybody sleep on the air mattress with them.

Sutton says they never had gas cans in the kitchen.

Takisha asks to approach.

A video of Chipman is shown and Daphne points out what is the same or different in the house from when she lived there – like gas can in kitchen, chair in bathroom.

Now Lavit asks to approach…geez.

She points out a number of items including the shell casings, bullets on the bedroom floor, a chair in the bedroom.

4:17 Jury taken out…and a break is called.

Lavit up.

Were you working at Sonic the weekend of January 7th?  I’m not sure.

You moved into Davidson’s house in October?  It was our home.

There were music stations in the house that could play loud music?  Yes.

Was it difficult for you to watch the video of the house?  What do you mean?

Was it difficult to make those comparisons?  It’s been several years.

Davidson liked loud music?  Not necessarily loud all the time.

You were asked about what you can hear from different rooms?  Yes.

It depends on the circumstances, right?  Yes.

Again, Lavit is covering the same ground is being covered.

When you were there, did you know a woman was bound and gagged in the back bedroom?


How much water pressure was there at the house?  I don’t remember.

Sutton said she assumed Vanessa was in the bathroom.

About the clothes, were you ever arrested for receiving stolen property?  No.

Last time you saw Coleman was that Friday?  Yes.

You don’t know if Cobbins and Coleman slept on the bed set?  Not while I was there.

But you don’t know if they were used when you weren’t there?  No.

Daphne says she knew Davidson was wanted by police when she dropped him off at Ridgebrook.  I knew a body had been found in his house.

OMG!  Lavit is making me want to blow my brains out and I’ve stopped typing.

Daphne says she lied to police when she was first questioned. She says she was scared.

Daphne finally told cops the truth on Jan 10, the day before Davidson arrested.

Did Davidson cut his own hair?  Yes.

Did he move a chair into the bathroom when he cut his hair?  No.

Did he move a chair into the bathroom when he cut Cobbins’ hair?  I don’t know if he cut Cobbins’ hair?

Daphne released.

Gerald Smith is called. Retired KPD crime scene guy.

Thursday, January 11 he was called Reynolds Street where Davidson was arrested.

He photographed the house and collected evidence from the location.

He identifies Chris’ sneakers.

He identifies the box containing the 22-caliber revolver.

He identifies the photos he took at the house, gun, shoes, and black hoodie.

Lavit do you know if that gun has any connection to Vanessa Coleman.

Do you have knowledge of what happened at Chipman Street on January 6 or 7?  NO.


Now the KPD gun expert Patricia Reisig.

Takisha is using Reisig to show how small Chipman house was. She measured and charted it.

Lavit doesn’t want the rope used or the tape measurer used so they have the officer walk out the size which doesn’t even take up the entire courtroom.

Lavit keeps objecting. The bigger deal Lavit makes of this line of questioning, the more attention the jury gives it.

Reisig now identifies the bullets removed from Chris Newsom’s body.  She examined the condition of the bullets.  The bullets from the back and neck matched for coming from the same gun.  The bullet from the skull was too damaged to tell.

Lavit calls another sidebar.  I realize it’s getting late and he appears to be becoming more and more cranky!

Reisig couldn’t make solid match to Davidson’s revolver.

Lavit is attacking her walking off the area because her shoes size isn’t 12 inches indicating the house was bigger than what she measured. He’s the idiot that would let her use the tape measurer!  He’s just going for the house was bigger, therefore Vanessa couldn’t hear what was going on in the house!

6:pm a break is called.

6:06 court resumes.

Oh crap, Lavit wants another sidebar!

Jody Long is on the stand.  She knew Vince Wernimount (sp ?).  She bought drugs from Vince.  Vince asked her to give a ride to some folks to Kentucky.  He gave her some morphine pills as payment.

They drove to the gas station and filled her car.

She followed Vince to Chipman Street.

She thought there was a girl named Sandy and they went into the bedroom and did some coke.  Meanwhile Vanessa, George and Letalvis loaded their stuff in her car.

She said Vanessa talked a little and the guys said nothing.

It was a 4-hour ride, one way.

Part way there, they had to stop for more gas.  She pumped the gas while the other went into the station for snacks.

They arrived around 3 or 4.

They stopped at Wendy’s and got food.

She dropped them off at a house and she remembers someone opened the door.

She has real doper burnout!

She thinks she got back to Knoxville around 10 pm.

She doesn’t recall Vanessa writing in a journal in the car.

Witness passed.

Lavit on cross.

Vanessa was I the seat next to you?  Yes.

She was very quiet?  Yes.

Did you get the notion they were calling the shots over Vanessa?


Do you recall Cobbins looking over her shoulder to see what she was doing?  I don’t recall.

You didn’t talk to authorities about the trip until almost a year later?  Yes.

Why?  I was scared.

Why were you scared?

Objection!  Sidebar.

Were you afraid of these people?  I was afraid of retaliation.

Were you at ease with Vanessa?  Yes.

Long is released and court ends for the day at 6:34.

What a long day!

  1. 11/15/2012 at 6:18 pm

    “The defense has changed up their tactic a bit by distancing Vanessa Coleman from the crimes and portraying her as the scared 18-year old victim who was herself, being held prisoner and constantly watched.”… That tactic is flawed because “Nessa” was a willing participant at the Chipman street house & it can be proven she lied about how Channon was murdered. During the earlier reading of “Nessa’s” previous trial/Grand jury transcripts, she stated that she witnessed Davidson break the neck of Channon Christian & then proceed to strangle her. The medical examiner just testified that there was no trauma to either Channon’s neck or throat area & there was no petechial hemorrhaging in Channon’s eyes. The medical examiner stated that Channon slowly died of asphyxiation, very likely from being bound in a fetal position, enclosed within the trash bags & placed within the plastic 55 gallon barrel. No rapid asphyxia due to strangulation but a slow death due to asphyxiation. I consider it very unlikely that the 3 men were responsible for both the murders & that “Nessa” was merely an innocent witness or threatened bystander. Those guys had absolutely no hesitation to murder & there’s no way they’d leave a witness (Nessa’s claim) of the crimes alive to potentially Rat them out & testify against them in a court of law. Nessa was a willing active participant & very likely placed the bag around Channon’s mouth/nose to cause her fatal asphixiation.

  2. Paul
    11/16/2012 at 4:01 am

    agreed. not to mention the multiple times she was alone in the house with Channon or how she woke up that Sunday morning before everyone else and instead of escaping she decided to cook a big breakfast for the tired, hungry rapists. In fact, she prepared quite a meal; eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits, pancakes, oatmeal! She even called Davidson to leave his room to grab a plate before waking up Letalvis!! Yeah, she was a real scared delicate flower… scared of getting caught. Not only were Channon’s belongings found in her possession, but it was discovered sweet Nessa swapped out Channon’s photo of Chris Newsom with one of her own photographs. And let’s not forget her behavior and attitude during police interrogations! She lied continuously and when one officer swore in frustration, Nessa was quick to snap,” don’t cuss at me!” Yet we are to believe she can speak to a cop this way, but she was afraid of Davidson and Cobbins, who cried like little girls when caught.

  3. 11/19/2012 at 3:14 pm

    Paul; “the multiple times she was alone in the house with Channon or how she woke up that Sunday morning before everyone else and instead of escaping she decided to cook a big breakfast”.. That’s the part that makes no sense if “Nessa” was an unwilling participant. A reasonably non participant would’ve helped Channon escape from the house & flee to seek help for them to escape. Those guys are murderous POS, were “Nessa” an unwilling participant she would’ve known that she was a loose end that would’ve no doubt been eliminated. I believe “Nessa” was a willing participant, she enjoyed torturing & murdering Channon. Based upon the description of injuries to Channon’s genitalia, I’d speculate “Nessa” raped/sexually assaulted Channon using a cheap wine bottle or similar object with the intent of inflicting torturous injury. I’d speculate that they all told Channon they were going to murder her the same as they murdered Chris Newsome. “Nessa’s” crimes were perpetrated by far more nefarious motivations than theft & robbery, if not they would’ve merely shot Channon in the head causing her quick death. I don’t see any reasonable doubt of the accusations, matter of fact the prosecution proved their case early on. However: I fear we’re going to see a hung jury.

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