Home > Crime > Vanessa Coleman Retrial Day 3

Vanessa Coleman Retrial Day 3


We’ve heard from almost 40 witnesses in just two days.  Judge Blackwood wants this trial over by the end of the week and is willing to work till 8pm to accomplish that.  They worked till 6:30 last evening.

It makes the retrial a bit surreal.  Even though we are hearing from most of the same witnesses we’ve heard from before, this is more like the condensed, ‘lite’ version.  The original trial was far more intense and I’m trying not to lose sight of the fact this jury is hearing most of the testimony for the first time!

9: 02 Blackwood takes the bench.

Price asks to approach.

Vanessa arrives.

9:05 Jury brought in.

Stacy Lawson is called.  She lived in Lebanon KY and she knew Vanessa through Letalvis Cobbins and George Thomas was her boyfriend.  She of course knew Davidson.  She also knew most of the other player.

Lawson identifies a photo of Davidson, Cobbins, and Lynn Freeman…They are entered.

She made three trips to Knoxville in 2006. 1st time was in the beginning of December.  Coleman was not on that trip.  2nd time she went was mid-December 2006.  Coleman wasn’t on that trip either.  She remembers Daphne and the kids living there at Chipman.

Lawson describes the house was small with basically no doors.

The 3rd trip down was around the 28 or 29.  She took Coleman to pick up her last paycheck.  Coleman, Cobbins, and Thomas loaded up the car with all their stuff as they were going to stay in Knoxville and Coleman was going to move there.  Sutton was gone from the Chipman house by then.

December 31, New Years Eve, they shot guns.  It was Davidson’s gun she fired.  She id’s the gun.

New Years day she and Davidson got into an altercation and there was a lot of tension in the house, everyone was broke and testy.  Davidson brought the shotgun out and put the gun in her face.

Lawson decided to leave after that and called her mother to wire money so she could get home.  Lawson asked Coleman, Cobbins, and Thomas if they wanted to go back to KY and they said no, they wanted to stay.

Lawson didn’t feel Coleman seemed scared.

She remembers seeing the floral bed set on the air mattress in the back bedroom.

She next saw the group at Natosha’s (Blue) house and claims Cobbins, Coleman, and Thomas looking spooked.

Stacy asked Coleman how she got back and when and Coleman said she didn’t know what she was talking about because she came back me.  Coleman said that several times.

Lawson, Cobbins, Blue and Thomas saw a picture of Davidson and Cobbins on the computer saying they were wanted.

That evening the group was on edge and nervous.

She went home and slept at her mom’s.  The next morning she was going back to Blue’s and the police stopped her in the driveway.  She was taken to the police department where she saw Coleman, Thomas, and Cobbins.

She identifies photos of the Chipman Street house and Blue’s house.

Witness passed.

Lavit on cross.

When you left for Knoxville on the 3rd trip, what was the purpose of the trip?  They were all going to stay down there.

The bed set was used on the mattress Coleman and Cobbins slept on?  Yes.

When you left Knoxville, were you on good terms with Coleman?  Yes.

When you went to Blue’s did you see Coleman?  Yes.

She appeared scared?  Yes.

Was she with Cobbins?  Yes.

You had a child to take…


Coleman had no association with Davidson other than staying at the house?  No.

At Chipman, there was music and a TV?  Yes.

Davidson liked loud music?  Yes.

Did you shower there?  Yes.

What kind of water pressure did they have?  I can’t remember.

Vanessa never handled a weapon in your presence?  No.

You have no knowledge of what happened in that house on the 6th or 7th?  I have no knowledge, I wasn’t there.

Coleman had no cell phone?  No.

She had no car?  No.

Coleman is yawning!

Natosha Hays is called. She knows Coleman, Thomas, and Cobbins.

She identifies photos that include Davidson.

She made a few trips to Knoxville with the gang in the fall of 2006.  Her last trip was mid-December.

She spoke with Coleman after New Years, Coleman indicated they were thinking of returning to Kentucky and wanted to know if they could stay with her. They showed up a couple days later.

She said Coleman didn’t seem any different.

Coleman and Cobbins stayed in her guest/laundry room.

She remembers Thomas getting on her computer.  Thinks Cobbins may have been up there.

She was outside her house when police showed up and took all of them into custody.

She went with police so they could search her house.

Police arrested Cobbins and Thomas, but released Hays and Coleman. (Coleman lied to police and told hem she returned to KY with Lawson on New Years day.)

Lavit on cross.

Hays says she knew of the house in Chipman St. She went there to try & make music.

Most questions are answered with, “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember.”

She is very hard to understand and is kinda all over the place.

As I recall, today’s testimony is a bit different from her original testimony.

This witness was pretty much a waste of time.

Recess called.

Tanya Jaymes called.  Custodian of records for Deena’s cell.  The record shows a one minute call at 12:30 am on Jan 7.

No cross.

Lavit wants to approach on the next witness.

I can’t even figure out how to spell this guy’s name.  US Cellular – He works with switches and cell towers.  Sound was lost for next witness, but have to say his accent is so heavy he is hard to understand. Upshot of this will be Channon forced to call home from the Chipman house.  So her parents wouldn’t alert police, it is believed Davidson forced Channon to call home.  Also, Davidson was using Channon’s phone.

Lavit is being a total jerk.  He’s hammering the cell expert about who made these calls, were they made in a car, were they made inside or outside?  These are questions he cannot possibly answer!

He is just trying to confuse the jury! They can see thru his bs I’m sure!  Defense by confusion!

Lunch break is called.

12:52   Court resumes.

Back to cell phone records, going over the call history from Chris’s phone with Verizon.

Again this all goes back to cells be used on the 6th and 7th.  It could not have been Channon or Chris using the phone.

Lavit is back to being a jerk…Who made those calls, where they the were made from, who answered the calls?

Doug Hedrick AT&T Mobile – Has records for Stacy Lawson.

His report has a blacked-out area (December calls) and Lavit wants to know why and who blacked it out.

Lavit calls another freakin sidebar.

This stuff is important, but sure is a snoozer!

 Rick Leal – Sprint Nextel Custodian of records for Lemaricus Davidson.

Lavit being a jerk yet again… Who made those calls, where were they made from, who answered the calls?

Last cell phone witness…yea!

 State calls Neil Norman – Retired Knox Count Sheriff Homicide.

Traveled to KY to take 4 people into custody.  Included Vanessa Coleman, whom he interviewed.  The interview was recorded, but the recoding was poor.

Read Coleman her rights. She signed off on it.

Audio of the interview is about to be played. Jurors also have transcript to follow along.

Transcript of interview: Vanessa lied throughout the interview.

Thomas and Cabins were both at the Lebanon station at the time.

Lavit on cross.

You were asked how Coleman appear to you?  Yes.

When they were brought in, did Cobbins have any control over Coleman?  I don’t know.

You knew what she told you about when she arrived was not true?  Correct//

Sheesh, another sidebar.

What happened after Cobbins and Thomas were interviewed?  I don’t know what happened to them.

Was Vanessa released?  I don’t know that.

After the interviews you had no further involvement in the case?  Correct.

Norman says he met with U.S. Atty’s office because it was coordinating. But took no direction from that office.

Thank you.

This is all leading up to Federal ATF Agent Waggoner, but Lavit has been forbidden to talk about the immunity form.

Now Price asks to approach.

Jury sent out and a break is called.

Jury back at 2:22

Statement by Vanessa Coleman to Grand Jury…parts being played by Price and a woman from Lavit’s office is playing Vanessa.  Transcript

Here Coleman admits she was in Knoxville on January 9!!!  Also, both interviews she says there were times she was left alone at the house.  She also admits to seeing Channon tied up!

“Davidson and Thomas left. When came back, both had blood on their shirts!”

“Davidson went to the bedroom to the girl. Heard girl say “stop, don’t do that.”

Coleman admits she didn’t do anything to stop Davidson’s actions in bedroom with Channon.

Coleman said she gave the girl (Channon) some water. She was still tied up. The water is a lie, the ME said Channon’s stomach was empty no food or water present.

Interesting Coleman says she had the accordion door closed to the bathroom and was taking a shower, but could hear Daphne talking.

Seeing Channon tied up and hearing Daphne from the bathroom kinda blows up the defense.

Gary starts shaking back and forth and is intensely staring at Coleman.  Families using lots of tissues – me too for that matter.

Wow, that was hard!

State calls Dr. Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan, ME

This is going to be really hard.

Gary just left and slammed the court door.

ME gives her credentials – she is brilliant and no nonsense.

ME accepted as an expert witness.

Jury sent out, sidebar on autopsy photos that will be allowed!

There was hardly any discussion about this in the first trial.  ME and State shouldn’t have to justify evidence photos.  This is taking way too long and am concerned Blackwood is folding. If it’s evidence, let it in!

Now Blackwood calls recess.

For more detailed testimony by the ME from the first trial, read Vanessa Coleman Trial – Day 6

Prosecutors are just bringing the body dummy in to court now.

3:57 court resumes, but with another sidebar!

We begin with Chris Newsom’s autopsy.  Her investigator went to the tracks where Chris’ body was found.  They show the jury the photo of the charred body.  80% of his body was charred.

Chris was gagged and had a sweatshirt wrapped around his head.  Hands and ankles were bound and he was clad only in boxers.

No shoes on Newsom. His feet were covered in mud and he had to walk to place he was shot.

In additional to head gunshot, he was shot two other times & had anal trauma.

I’ve heard this testimony several times and it never gets any easier!

 The headshot was the cause of immediate death.  The gun was pressed up against the head.

Chris was standing of knelling because there was a large contusion from when his head hit the ground.

Chris was definitely dead prior to being set on fire.

ME now goes into the injury of the anus.  Chris had bleeding/bruising and trauma in the area.  Chris was alive for an hour or two after the trauma occurred and before his death.

Chris was murdered at 1:45 in the morning so the trauma happened around midnight or 1 AM.

The stomach was empty.

ME stands to demonstrate the angle of the bullets on the body dummy.

Lavit calls a sidebar and the body dummy is removed.

We move onto Channon’s autopsy.

ME went to the scene at Chipman on Jan 9.

She says in the kitchen there was a garbage bin and the garbage bag was sitting beside it.  Channon’s body was in the trash bin.

Channon was taken to the ME office and they began to go through the layers of cloth, the 5 black bags, ligatures, and the white plastic trash bag around her head.  She was bound so tightly in a fetal position, her knees were touching her cheeks.  She was bound with the same type of cloth Chris was bound with.

She was only clothed in the sweater and camisole.

ME says she noticed a chemical odor on Channon’s body.

Channon was alive when placed in the trash bin because she showed signs of lack of oxygen and she ultimately suffocated while in the trashcan.  She died with her eyes open.

No evidence of choking as Coleman claimed she saw Davidson due to her.

There were abrasions in the mouth and to the gums.  The trauma was caused by something being forced into the mouth.  That would be the forced oral sex.

No defense injuries were found, so she was either tied or being held down.

There was tremendous trauma to the anus and vagina.

There was bleeding and bruising in the anus and vagina.

Injury to the vagina was very deep.

Channon had major bruising on both sides of her head and on the brain.

The anus and vagina, there was so much blood sitting on top of the tissue.  The injuries were very deep and extensive.

They were still raping and abusing Channon as late as an hour before her death.


ME just got done identifying the sheet and cloth strips, garbage bags, the white bag wrapped around Channon’s head, etc.

Lavit asks when the binding was put on Chris?  No.

Why not?  That is something I wouldn’t be able to put a time on it.

You don’t know where the bindings were applied?  No.

Where in Knoxville did the anal injury occur?  I can’t tell you that.

Do you know Vanessa Coleman?  No I don’t.

Do you know of any facilitation she provided in either death?  I can’t tell you.  That’s not what I do.

Defense asks do you know if Coleman assisted in the crimes? ME says, I can only tell you what the victims went through

Lavit is such an old fool…

The good Doctor is released.

5 minute break called.

Next witness is Robert Waggoner. Detective with Knox Sheriff’s Dept.  who collected evidence in KY.

He identifies Coleman’s red purse that contained some of Channon’s belongings.

Witness passed.

Lavit  asks to see the receipt from Krogers.  The defense is stumbling and floundering.

Did you examine this receipt?  What do you mean?

Did you pay attention to the date on it?  No.

The date is December, right?  I don’t know.

Do you know if Vanessa shopped at Kroger?  I just collected it, I didn’t inventory it.

Next witness is KCSO Sgt Mackenzie Alleman. Collects evidence.

She received the evidence collected by Wagonner.

She identifies the red purse, the diary and the contents from the purse.

She is released.

Court called at 6:16.

  1. David In TN
    11/16/2012 at 4:00 pm

    I was in the courtroom for the first three days of the trial. We have read about the autopsy photos and seen the live stream testimony by the ME, Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan. I saw the photos.

    The first two were of Chris, the only ones allowed. The first showed his burned body beside the railroad tracks. The second was of his bare feet bound with a belt and ligatures.

    Channon wasn’t taken out of the garbage can until it was hauled to the medical examiner’s office. Channon was measured at five feet, eight inches tall and 122 pounds. The first photo had Channon laying on a gurney with her body still contorted in the position it was in while in the garbage can. Her face was turned to the camera and her body was naked from the waist down.

    Her mouth was open and her eyes half shut. Channon’s face was frozen in an expression of horror. The first photo hit me like a punch but worse was to come.

    The photo of her vagina came on the screen. It looked like she had been beaten and/or kicked over and over. This is the photo that caused a new female deputy DA to faint at the Davidson trial. After several seconds, I couldn’t look anymore.

    Her anus had also been beaten and badly bruised. A photo showed her gum separated from the teeth after being struck.

    A photo of each eye appeared on the screen. After a glance, I couldn’t look.

    This time the medical examiner came sooner than the first trial. It made a sharp contrast to Coleman’s flat, unemotional federal grand jury performance.

    Coleman smiled and smirked all three days,

    Lavit had a bad cross with Xavier Jenkins. He wouldn’t stop and actually highlighted Mr. Jenkins’ testimony.

    It happened again with the cellular phone expert. Lavit wouldn’t accept an answer and the jurors ended up laughing at him. I hope this is a good sign, but we’ll have to wait to find out.

  2. donchais
    11/16/2012 at 6:04 pm

    Thanks David, I’m sure it must have been very tough!

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