Home > Crime > Vanessa Coleman Retrial Day 4

Vanessa Coleman Retrial Day 4


Yesterday was a long and difficult day for the families and for any of you who have been following this case.

While far fewer autopsy photos were used, Blackwood did allow the jury to see some pretty graphic photos that had a huge impact on the jury members.

Not sure what to think, other than they know they have no defense, but Lavit seems to be getting more and more desperate with each passing day.  He questioning has become bizarre.  Like asking the cell ping expert who made the cell call and who answered or asking Dr. Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan if Coleman participated in the injuries to Channon and Chris!  I’m sure the jury was left scratching their heads.

The defense is expected to wrap up its presentation of evidence today.

9:02 Court resumes with a sidebar as always.

Bernard Waggoner – Federal Agent, ATF, Waggoner was the ATF agent who interviewed Coleman.

Waggoner learned suspects were staying at Hays house, surrounded it. Coleman & Hays came out with their hands up.

Then Cobbins came out and was arrested.

Someone was looking out the upstairs bedroom and refused to come out.  Agents entered the house and took Thomas into custody.

Waggoner watched the suspects during interviews with police. He details where in the hallway the suspects were seated.  The suspects were kept separated at the police station.

He returned to the Hays residence to help search the house.  Natosha Hays returned and gave permission to search with the exception of her daughter’s room.

He saw the red purse and its contents in the room Coleman and Cobbins were staying in.  It contained both Coleman’s and Channon’s belongings.  It also included the infamous dairy.

He identifies photos of the interior and exterior of the house.

He returned to the police station.  Cobbins and Thomas were never released from custody.

Waggoner says Coleman was cooperative at the police department and was eventually released to her parents.

Waggoner participated in the federal search at Chipman St. House on Jan.15th.  He confiscated the bottle of bleach from the kitchen, the red skirt, and the pink shoes.

The TBI crime lab was also in Chipman house using black lights to look for stains.

Waggoner testifies he saw bullet holes in wall and ceiling and what he thought might have been bloodstains.

Waggoner is using his notes from the first interview with Coleman prior to interview with federal grand jury. US Attorneys wanted an outline to what she may testify to.  Her mother was present.

She detailed arriving in Knoxville with the gang.  She placed Eric Boyd at the Chipman St. house.

Coleman claims the guys never discussed the crimes in front of.

She went into how Davidson brought Channon in to the house and tied her up.

Tell me again she doesn’t know what’s going on!!!

 She said Thomas told her to lie to police and say they returned to KY on Jan.2.

2nd interview, Waggoner questions her again and Coleman says she saw Davidson kill girl by snapping her neck. Then Coleman cried.

She said she saw Davidson pulling the stickers off Channon’s 4 Runner.

Coleman said Channon was quiet because if she let them do what they were going to do to her, she’d be set free.

On Sunday, Coleman says she was in the bathroom when Daphne came over. (Sutton heard someone in the bathroom.)

The guys left for a while and that’s when she gave Channon the drink of water and Channon was smoking cigarettes.

She details Davidson tying Channon up and putting her in the trashcan.

Claims she said she was going to call police and Davidson threatens to kill her.

Waggoner now goes into the 3rd interview, which contains even more discrepancies.

I’m hoping and praying the jury is getting it how many times Coleman has changed her story and realize Coleman couldn’t tell the truth if it came up and bit her on the butt.

Once Coleman’s name was in the media they asked if Coleman wanted to be in protective custody.  She wanted to do it.

She was housed in a Knoxville hotel with her mother.  They stayed at the hotel for two nights and then decided they wanted to return to KY.

Coleman agreed to be interviewed again on Jan 28. Waggoner asked her mom to get her to be truthful. Vanessa’s mother even knew she was lying.

Coleman now says she touched the bindings found on Channon.

They are going to play the tape of the interview.

10:27 recess called.

10:39 court back in session.

Transcript of the audio interview with Coleman.

The next time he saw Vanessa was in KY after she had been indicted.

Pass the witness.

Accckkk!  Lavit on cross.

He wants to know if Waggoner is familiar with the how many interviews were given voluntarily.

He also says Coleman never refused an interview.

Lavit is now droning about the length and number of interviews.

He wants to know how many times Det. Childress interviewed her?  I don’t know.

I have 9 interviews of Coleman and she never refused? I assume.

Did she ever ask for an attorney?  After the last interview she called her mother and asked her to call an attorney.

You have any knowledge that Coleman was aware of the plans to carjack?  No.

Any evidence Vanessa even knew where the Washington Ridge Apts. were located?  No.

This is so stupid.  Its Lavit again asking dumb questions the witness can’t answer. Defense by confusion!

Any knowledge Vanessa drove the 4 Runner?  No.

Judge asks, is it safe to say you don’t know anything about the investigation other than what Ms. Coleman told you?  Yes.

OMG!  Another sidebar…Judge needs to tell Lavit to move on!

Lavit now reads Waggoner’s statement from 2010.  The court asked you if Vanessa was ever alone with Channon. And you said no that you didn’t know.

Why did you just tell the jury you did?

There is proof Coleman left alone inside Chipman with Channon.


Do you have knowledge that Vanessa helped remove Channon’s pants or underwear?  No I wasn’t in the house.

Do you have any knowledge that Vanessa performed a sexual act on Ms. Christian?  No.

Oh, this is just ridiculous!

What stolen items did Davidson give to Daphne Sutton?  No, I didn’t interview her.

You know Sutton hasn’t been arrested?  I don’t know.

Lavit is badgering Waggoner about the need for protective custody during one of Coleman’s interviews with authorities.

I was told by my supervisor to go offer it.

The badgering is going on and on.

Lengthy sidebar…

Lavit now returns to the January 31 interview.  Problem is he attended parts of the interview, but Det. Childress was the lead.

Geez, Lavit just asked Waggoner to assume a statement was made.  ASSUME????

Thank God!  Lavit finally sits down.

12:07 lunch break.

1:18 Court resumes with the ever-popular sidebar.

Todd Childress is called. KPD detective with major crimes unit.

He responded to the scene where Chris was found.  He photographed the area, collected evidence.

Returned to the station in the afternoon and went through missing person reports so they could identify the body.

Childress says another officer identified Newsom.  Next they had to find the female who was also missing.

He obtained a search warrant for the house on Chipman St

He describes finding Channon’s body in the trashcan.

They collected some of the evidence from the house.

Childress’ next goal was to find Davidson.

He learned of the names of the other suspect and he left for KY.

He interviewed Cobbins.

So, on Thursday, Davidson, Cobbins, and Thomas were in custody?  Yes.

The case was actually a federal case until Jan. 31, so Childress was assisting the ATF.

He did an interview with Coleman at the DA’s office.

Childress is explaining how Coleman showed him different locations that were being looked into during the investigation.

Childress is reading from his notes of the interview. Testimony from 1st trial.

Sunday, Cobbins was telling Coleman if I have to go away, just remember I love you.

Now hearing more audiotapes from Coleman interview with Childress. Transcript

Investigators tell Coleman, it’s in your best interest to tell us everything, don’t leave anything out.

Coleman to Childress: She never saw the “white guy” (Chris Newsom).

The audio is poor which is why I gave the link to the transcript.

Basically, this is just more proof of Coleman’s ever-changing story.

Dang!  Lavit interrupts to approach.  He has been eyeballing the jury and I wonder if someone has nodded off again.

2:35 break is called.

2:49 court back, Childress back on the stand and the audio returns.

Coleman describes the breakfast she made for Cabins, Thomas, and Davidson.

Coleman saying she heard Sutton come over and talk to Davidson about picking up some stuff.

Coleman says she heard the girl fall. Davidson told her to check the pulse. She couldn’t tell if she had a pulse.

Lavit calls a conference at the bench and jury sent out.

Don’t know what happened but the guy with the long beard who has been sitting beside Deena was brought up to the bench – maybe that’s who Lavit was eyeballing?

Jury returns.

Judge tells jurors if you feel drowsy or need a break just tell me.

Audio resumes.

Coleman says Cobbins slammed her against the wall and she cut her ankle on a nail and her head swelled up.

Takisha asks Childress is he saw any blood on the wall or any indication someone had been slammed into the wall.  Childress says no.

The blue garbage can came from waste management place up the street.

Wow, investigators star nailing her on her lies and she still continues to deny she heard anything.

4; 19 audio ends

Tapes entered into evidence.

Witness passed…kill me now!

Lavit, in the beginning you had the belief she could tell the truth?  I told her it would benefit her.

Childress being cross-examined any inconsistencies between handwritten notes & audio.

Wow, just heard Lavit tried to keep jury from reading transcript!

Lavit is doing his damndest to interrupt the transcript by putting his own twist on what the true message was in what Coleman said.

Judge needs to tell Lavit to stop yelling. I think he yells to try and intimidate the witnesses. He may also be doing it to project confidence. Neither seems to be working at the moment.

Childress is standing his ground.

Lavit is all over the place and going round in circles.

Did she ever tell you she had any involvement in these crimes?  No.

You threatened her with 51 years in jail, didn’t you?  I didn’t threaten her, I told her what the statute is.

Ya know, the ME testimony was gruesome…this is just painful!

Praise the lord, Lavit sits.

Next witness Jennifer Millsaps – Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Agent. She found Coleman’s DNA on sheet strips used to bind Channon.

She gives her CV and is accepted by the court as an expert witness.

She analyzed evidence to establish DNA profiles and compare to known DNA samples.  Known samples usually come from buccal swabs.

She explains DNA markers.

Vaginal swabs from Channon showed Davidson DNA.

Anal swab showed Davidson DNA.

Oral swab shows Cobbins’ DNA.

The white tank top shows sperm DNA from Cobbins.

Channon’s striped shirt shows DNA from Cobbins.

Cloth strips used to bind Channon showed DNA from Coleman and also Cobbins.

You can’t tell when the DNA was placed there or if it was from handling or sleeping on it?  No.

5:37 break called so jury can eat and then come back.  Guess they’ll be out an hour, so going to be a late night.

Court back at 6:14 pm, Millsaps back on the stand.

Channon’s jeans showed DNA match to Davidson and Cobbins.

Air mattress in Davidson’s room DNA matched to Davidson, Sutton, and Channon.

The knotted end of a white cloth used to bind Channon matched Coleman’s DNA.

The good thing about this testimony is it will pretty damn hard for Lavit to try to refute this!

Whew, Greene on cross.

How does DNA get on surfaces?  If I pass something to you and you hold them and them give it back.  I believe your talking about DNA.  That depends how much you handle the item, how much pressure.

If you lay on a bed for a few minutes would you expect to find DNA?  It’s possible.

If you slept on the bed several times and had sex on that bed would you expect more DNA?  More than likely.

Defense is trying to minimize damage by quizzing Millsaps on how easily we shed skin cells and also that because Coleman slept on and had sex on that bed, that’s how her DNA shows up.

Millsaps released.

Larry Miller called.  Forensic document examination.  He examined Colemans’ diary!  Coleman admits the diary was hers.

Miller shows the handwriting definitely matches Coleman’s quirky handwriting.

Price has Miller read the diary entries

Coleman’s diary:

1/8 & 1/9

Wake up!  And look around!  Whats really going on!  I don’t really have a clue or at least I use to be able to say I don’t know, but as much as I’ve seen and observed and learned.  I know exactly whats goin on.  Although alot of this is new to me.  Life is a trip, but its amazing how things play its own role.  Life is interesting & full of surprises even very unexpected things happen that you don’t expect.


last night was one of a kind we stayed w/ a crackhead that was cool as hell.  It snowed a little bit but its already melted.  Lets talk about Adventures!  I’ve had one HELL OF AN ADVENTURE

since I’ve been in the big T.N.  its a crazy world these days!  But I love the fun adventures & lessons that I’ve learned.  Its going to be a long interesting year!

HA!  HA!

Day two

The ride home!  Ha, Ha,

We had a crackhead bringin us back.  The whole way back she was complaining b/c she didn’t have any drugs.

She was drivin kinda crazy but it was str8 tho.

Lavit, the page where it describes the ride home, you see phone numbers on the right?  Yes.

That doesn’t match the writing?  No.

You can’t assert that was written by the writer of the diary?  No.

Lavit sits.


The State rests at 7:25pm.

Court has arranged entertainment plans for the jury over the weekend.

Court resumes 9am Monday!

  1. David In TN
    11/16/2012 at 10:49 pm

    I was driving home from Knoxville today (Friday) and didn’t see the live stream. Did the jurors ask any questions? In 2010, I was in the courtroom when today’s witnesses testified. Some jurors asked questions that seemed to agree with Lavit’s cross-examination. Once, I saw two female jurors in the first row scribble questions and practically throw them at Judge Baungartner. They seemed stuck on the idea that the detectives tricked poor Vanessa.

    When the handwriting expert authenticated Coleman’s handwriting in 2010, the jurors didn’t ask a single question.

    • donchais
      11/17/2012 at 7:46 am

      You’re right, I had forgotten about that! There have been no jury questions throughout. Makes me assume that option is discretionary?

  2. David In TN
    11/17/2012 at 8:48 am

    Yes, I’ve wondered if Blackwood doesn’t allow questions and have seen no information as to whether he does or not. On the other hand, the Cobbins jury in 2009 NEVER asked a question and they certainly had the option of doing so. The Davidson jury asked a lot of questions very pertinent to the evidence.

    The 2010 Coleman jury, as I mentioned above, asked a lot of questions. Several were in the vein of, “Why wasn’t Daphne Sutton arrested?” I remember the two female jurors who wrote questions about the detectives tricking Coleman were both white women who looked to be in their forties. By her facial expression, at least one seemed to be angry at the detective.

    It surprised me at the time that their were no questions about the journal. The 2010 jurors were very willing to ask about Daphne Sutton.

    The only times I could see a discernible reaction from the jurors this week were during Lavit’s cross-examinations of Xavier Jenkins and the cell phone specialist. Both times Lavit went on and on. He wouldn’t stop. Several jurors seemed to be giggling in approval of Jenkins getting the better of Lavit, which he certainly did. The other time they were (in my opinion) laughing at Lavit.

    Still, these are just my impressions. They always say, “Never anticipate a jury.” We’ll just have to see what happens.

    • donchais
      11/17/2012 at 8:58 am

      I always found allowing jurors to ask questions beneficial on two levels. First, I believe it helps clear up confusion for the jurors and second, trial watchers get a sense of where the jury is going, but as you said, “Never anticipate a jury.”

  3. David In TN
    11/17/2012 at 10:11 am

    I just emailed Jamie Satterfield and asked her if Blackwood allows questions. She answered:

    “No he doesn’t. The asking of questions was a pilot project of our state supreme court that has since been abandoned.”

  4. donchais
    11/17/2012 at 10:28 am

    Thanks! Too bad it was abandoned…I personally found it useful!

  5. ritanita
    11/18/2012 at 5:50 am

    Having been out and about for the past week, I wasn’t able to watch the re-trial. I’ve read all the coverage to date and anticipate watching the wrap-up starting Monday.

    From what I’ve read, Vanessa definitely took part in the murder of Channon. She saw most of it, and claims to have “played nurse” to Channon by giving her a drink of water. She knew, she knew it all. Whatever she did, she did nothing to save herself from being part of the crime. She had the means and the opportunity to leave that house (especially when she was there alone with Channon. A quick call to LE would have saved her life and freed Ms. Coleman from being on trial.

    And, at the end, she portrayed those times as a real adventure. How exciting for her!

  6. donchais
    11/18/2012 at 6:10 am

    Hopefully, the jury saw the ever-changing story in all those interviews and the prosecution is able to hammer that point and tie it up with the meaning of facilitation!

    Welcome back!

  7. Cher
    11/26/2012 at 11:17 am

    Vanessa as well as the other sickos , george, and letalvis ALL NEED THE DEATH PENALTY WHAT IS WRONG WITH OUR SYSTEM??? this is horrific dont waste our money, they all need to get the death penalty HELLO

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