Home > Crime > Christian/Newsom Murders – George Thomas Verdict Reached

Christian/Newsom Murders – George Thomas Verdict Reached


050310coleman_thumbnail_t320_240A verdict this soon shocks me!

Count 1 – Unlawfully killing Chris Newsom during the robbery of Newsom Guilty 1st degree

Count 2 – Unlawfully killing Newsom during the robbery of Channon Christian Guilty 1st degree

Count 3 – Unlawfully killing Christian during the robbery of Newsom Guilty 1st degree

Count 4 – Unlawfully killing Christian during the robbery of Christian Guilty 1st degree

Count 5 – Unlawfully killing Newsom during the kidnapping of Newsom Guilty 1st degree

Count 6 – Unlawfully killing Newsom during the kidnapping of Christian Guilty 1st degree

Count 7 – Unlawfully killing Christian during the kidnapping of Newsom Guilty 1st degree

Count 8 – Unlawfully killing Christian during the kidnapping of Christian Guilty 1st degree

Count 9 –  Killing Newsom during the rape of Newsom Guilty 1st degree

Count 10 – Killing Newsom during the rape of Christian Guilty 1st degree

Count 11 – Killing Christian during the rape of Newsom Guilty 1st degree

Count 12 – Killing Christian during the rape of Christian Guilty 1st degree

Count 13 – Killing Newsom during the theft of property of Newsom Guilty 1st degree

Count 14 – Killing Newsom during the theft of property of Christian Guilty 1st degree

Count 15 – Killing Christian during the theft of property of Newsom Guilty 1st degree

Count 16 – Killing Christian during theft of property of Christian Guilty 1st degree

Count 17 – Intentionally and with premeditation killing Newsom

Count 18 – Intentionally and with premeditation killing Christian

Count 19 – Knowingly by violence putting Newsom in fear and taking Newsom’s items where he suffered serious injury

Count 20 – Knowingly by violence putting Christian in fear and taking Christian’s items where she suffered serious injury

Count 21- Kidnapping of Newsom with a weapon

Count 22- Kidnapping of Newsom

Count 23 – Kidnapping of Christian with a deadly weapon

Count 24 – Kidnapping of Christian

Count 26- Anal penetration of Newsom

Count 27- Anal penetration of Newsom

Count 29 – Anal penetration of Newsom while being aided

Count 33 – Anal penetration while armed of Christian

Count 34 – Oral penetration while armed of Christian

Count 35 – Vaginal penetration while armed of Christian

Count 36 – Anal penetration of Christian

Count 37- Oral penetration of Christian

Count 38 – Vaginal penetration of Christian

Count 42 – Anal penetration of Christian

Count 43 – Oral penetration of Christian while being aided by another

Count 44 – Vaginal penetration of Christian while being aided by another

Count 45 – Theft of $500 or less of Newsom

Count 46 – Theft between $10,000 and $60,000 of Christian

I stopped marking! Lets just put it this way…guilty across the board!!!

Thank God it is finally over for the families!!!   Its been 6 long, painful years.  No more trials!!!954690_446540688775895_877123979_n

Lots of hugging and tears!!!!

What a great day for the prosecution…home run!

Court recessed…penalty hearing starts shortly.

Five members of George Thomas are in attendance.

We are about to hear victim impact statements.

The court is reviewing the parent’s statements and the defense has

objections to some of the statements.

Judge Kurtz says he can’t let parents directly address Thomas or advocate a particular penalty, that’s up to the jury, but he understands their emotions, but asks for their respect of the laws regarding impact statements.

Short break as counsel reviews the redactions in chambers…

And we’re back….

Judge announces they are determining whether or not we are sentencing for LWOP or life, which means Thomas, could be released at a long time out in his in his sentence.

A picture of Chris and Channon is up on the screen and TaKisha is saying can you imagine what Channon was thinking as she being placed in the trash bags…she’s still alive and can hear what’s going on.

What was she thinking as she was lifted into the trash can?

Then she suffocated.  The murder was heinous, atrocious, and cruel.

She was murdered so she could not take the stand and tell you what happened.  She could tell you how many times she was raped orally, vaginally, and anally.

TaKisha is nailing how brutal the rape, torture and murders were.

The aggravating circumstances are incredibly powerful, but damn, this doesn’t get any easier no matter how many times ya hear it!

TaKisha asks for the ultimate penalty.

Defense puts up a photo of Thomas’ family.

Says they respect the juror’s decision.

Laws of criminally responsibility is what they look at in sentencing.

Asking for eligibility of parole in 51 years!

If the jury had any doubts, the verdict wouldn’t have come in today!

The State provided no evidence of his criminal responsibility.

Consider the youth of Mr. Thomas.

Consider the knowledge of his mother, knowing her son won’t ever get out of jail.

Mr. Johnson nothing you are saying is enough of a mitigator for his part in this.  He did nothing to stop this horrific situation.

Give the family some hope!

Families are now going to address the jury.

Deena, Channon’s mom, on the stand.  She identifies photos of Channon that are shown to the jury.

Pictures of Channon as a youngster.

Deena reads her VIS.

Channon would light up a room when she walked in.

She had the biggest heart.

She was more than my daughter, she was my friend.

She dreamed about her wedding.  She had it all planned out for when it happened.

We have a hole in our hearts that will never be filled.

She endured more than anyone should have to bear with what happened to her.

Gary Christian on the stand.

He recalls Channon in the delivery room and how with her little hand she grabbed his finger.

He told her he would always be there for her.

Her grades were always good and her work ethic was beyond reproach.

Gary talks about the 4 Runner they gave her.

He remembers her first boyfriend.  He remembers her first date.

He remembers his first dance with her at his cousin’s wedding.  Channon told him they would dance again at her wedding.

Our family is left with fond memories and we have no hope.  There’s none left.

I will never see her children.  I will never see my grandchildren.  I have no hope of that.

Mary Newsom, Chris’s mom.

Photos of Chris being shown that Mary identifies.

Mary says Chris loved life and lived it to it’s fullest.

He had a lot of friends and loved children.

He loved Channon and wanted a future.

He would have been a great father.

We will never get to hold his babies.

He death has affected or health.

Hugh Newsom, Chris’ dad.

The day Mary told him she was pregnant with Chris, he was tickled to death.

He talks about Chris’ baseball career and there are 31 trophies in Chris’ room and he goes there, but finds it pretty empty.

Mary was coming down the stairs with a laundry basket that contained the golf clothes Chris wore the day of his death.

He asked her what she was doing and Mary said I’m going to do his laundry one more time.

I’ve been derived of spoiling his kids.

Chris had black friends and white friends.

After Chris’ death, they attended several of Chris’ friend’s weddings.  They had a separate table with Chris’ picture so he was there with them.

At Christmas time there is an empty chair.

Bridget Thomas called.  George’s mom.  From Michigan.

She identifies her son.

She is not reading a statement, but being questioned by Tom Dillard.

Lot’s of exhibits of birth certificates and childhood photos being shown.

George never gave her any problems growing up.

Not for nothing, what Dillard is showing are pretty photos of kids growing up, but none of this has anything to do with mitigation!

Her kid turned criminal, plain, and simple!

She wants her son to get life and be eligible for parole in 51 years, knowing Thomas will be elderly, but she might get to see it.

I feel sorry for the families, but I won’t get to see my grandchild too.  Show mercy and grace.

Thomas waives the right to testify.

Break for 10 minutes, then closing arguments and instructions to the jury!

Jury back, 4:46.

Takisha says Ms. Thomas is a good woman.  However, the values she installed in him didn’t stick.

George Thomas chose to stay with those folks and listen to the cries of Channon.

He watched Davidson pull the trash bags out of the box.

This crimes cries out for justice.  It deserves punishment.

Thomas deserves to be locked up for life and not on the street.

Go TaKisha!

Dillard up.

This has be difficult on everybody.

That State doesn’t seem to realize about criminal responsibility.

There is no proof Mr. Thomas did anything.

Dillard refers to the mitigating factor they presented, of which I heard none!!!  Why is youth a mitigating factor…sheesh!

Price thanks the jury again for their service.

This is not a happy day for anyone.  There are no victors here.

Think about all the hope these parents had for those kids.

The wedding of their kids, the grandchildren…there is no hope.

This crime was heinous, cruel, and atrocious.

LWOP is what justice requires.

These parents would love to make a phone call to their kids one more time.  Ms. Thomas can still do that with LWOP.

Jury instructions being read.

Jury headed out to deliberate! 5:15.  Court in recess till decision made!

Have a feeling they probably already have decided!

Thomas back in court at 5:44.

We go live at 5:45!

Verdict is State didn’t prove aggravators beyond a reasonable doubt!  OMG.  Sentence if for life which means eligible for parole in 51 years

Not the verdict we hoped for…families subdued.  TaKisha apologizing to the families.

Small consolation, but Thomas will be 75 when eligible for parole.

At least no more trials for the families!

Long sad, haul!

  1. 05/17/2013 at 6:04 pm

    man I’m kinda bummed! (technical terms evade me at this moment)

    • 05/17/2013 at 6:07 pm

      but you are right, Donchais…. at least now maybe the families can start to heal.. 300+ days in court is just beyond conceivable to me.. thats almost a whole year in and of itself.

  2. Anonymous
    05/17/2013 at 6:06 pm

    Hugh Newsom & Gary Christians impact statements tore my heart out. I have heard them before but today after, as you said, this long sad haul was heart wrenching. Praying this will be the end. Great work Donchais. Love your blog.

  3. LadyinRed
    05/17/2013 at 6:06 pm

    Hi, Donchais. I too am saddened that GT did not get LWOP. We can only hope that GT is not a model prisoner and doesn’t get the 15% credit, or that his parole bid at age 75 is denied. God’s blessings to the Christian and Newsom families.

  4. TerryP
    05/17/2013 at 6:13 pm

    Wish it had been LWOP but so thankful the jury found him guilty on all counts. After VC’s retrial I was worried. Prosecution was brilliant in stressing that the garbage can had NO finger prints & we know it was touched. Thanks Donchais!

  5. David In TN
    05/17/2013 at 6:20 pm

    It may not make that much difference. A friend who knows these things better than I told me there is no such thing as “life without parole.” As long as a convict can walk out of prison, he can be released.

    All it takes is a lame-duck governor who wants to stick it to the voters who ended his political career.

    Sometimes in death penalty trials, a jury will agree among themselves to vote guilty and then “life without parole” in the sentencing phase. Something like this may have happened with the Thomas jury.

    If Thomas displays “good behavior” in prison, he would come up for parole much sooner than 50 years. Hopefully, there will be strong sentiment against giving him parole.

    The publicity (in East Tennessee at least) this case has received works against the defendants being released.

  6. Beans
    05/17/2013 at 6:22 pm

    donchais, i asked this just as the page changed, are we done with this – no appeals, no more horrific details, no more heartbreaking statements from the parents – is it really over?

    • donchais
      05/17/2013 at 6:24 pm

      This is sorta close to the end. Vanessa Coleman comes up for parole in under 4 years. Families have vowed to go to every parole hearing to block her release. So for them, it will never end.

  7. T22
    05/17/2013 at 6:23 pm

    So sad. Thank God there are no more trials. May the family begin healing.

  8. 05/17/2013 at 6:31 pm

    I’m sorry I didn’t get to see this. Is it located somewhere to view after the fact? God bless that family. Horrific.

    • donchais
      05/17/2013 at 6:54 pm

      WBIR and WATE will have some footage, but not the whole trial. Not sure if anyone put it up on YouTube.

      • MMD
        05/17/2013 at 8:32 pm

        Croakerqueen123 has the entire trial, along with the verdict and the VIS all up on YouTube for anyone that missed it. She just put the last videos up within the past hour.

    • 05/17/2013 at 10:52 pm

      Great, thank you

  9. truejustice
    05/17/2013 at 6:31 pm

    Sad verdict . I am glad this is over for the victims families.

    Statistically, serving twenty years in prison will take 16 years off your life expectancy (Silverman and Vega 1996) so technically at 75 chronological he will be 91.

    • Beans
      05/17/2013 at 6:44 pm

      one can only hope.

    • Lisa M
      05/17/2013 at 11:20 pm

      I’m sure 51 years to a 24 year old is a life sentence anyway.

  10. ritanita
    05/17/2013 at 6:50 pm

    It’s been a heart-rending day listening once again to the Christians and Newsomes put their grief before a jury.

    I was pleased that the jury found him guilty on all counts, but extremely disappointed the jury didn’t give him “LWOP” and he could someday be a free man.

    This will never be over for those families.

    • Lisa M
      05/17/2013 at 11:27 pm

      It is disappointing but he will be an old man when he gets out and to someone his age that has to seem like an eternity.

  11. MMD
    05/17/2013 at 8:25 pm

    Donchais and Ritanita – I am so glad that this is over for you as I know that you have invested so much of your heart and souls over the years. You 2 give us hope for the human race amidst all this tragedy by shining a spotlight on it. Kudos to you both. You are sincerely awesome women and I’m so sorry that George Thomas was not given LWOP.

    For my own sanity, when I started to watch the penalty phase I had to turn it off. 😦 Listening to Steven and Sam Alexander nearly did me in yesterday so with more foolishness yet to come the defense in that case, all I could handle was OJ today.

    I was however there with you in spirit and thought!!! Thanks to both of you for seeing this through and {{{{{{{{{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}}}}} directly from me to you. Kudos for a job well done.

    Love ya ladies xoxoxo

  12. Jill Boyle
    05/17/2013 at 8:36 pm

    this murder made me physically ill when it happened. i’m glad the families dont have to face it anymore. there is such evil out there. what was the motive?

  13. Jo
    05/17/2013 at 9:09 pm

    Thank you Donchais for covering these trials in the beyond despicable murder of these children of the Newsom and Christian families. It has been a long haul and will continue to be for the parents. I know how deeply you felt about this. May God continue to give the parents the strength to deal with their loss.

  14. ringadingding
    05/17/2013 at 9:36 pm

    Thank you for covering this case, Donchais. Like others, I would have never known this horror had occurred. My heart hurts for these families who are the ones who are truly serving hard time. I just can’t even imagine…

    On one hand, I wish this case hadn’t been passed over by mass media because it feels like these families are having to grieve alone, as though the brutal torture and murder of their loved ones doesn’t rate airtime. I understand the political reasons why mainstream news media wouldn’t touch it, but then again I don’t. They never shy away from controversy when it brings in ratings.

    On the other hand, this is how it should have gone for the Arias trial. No media blitz. No sideshow circus outside the courthouse. No Jenkasaurus mis-reporting everyone’s facial expressions. No internet trolls feeding off the anger. No stroking of the killer’s ego or waste of so much time and money. But then…all the media attention brought much needed support (emotional and financial) to the Alexanders.

    I’m torn. Mostly, though, I’m so unspeakably sad for the families of these two young people, not to mention the pain and horror that Channon and Chris endured.

    • Lisa M
      05/17/2013 at 11:25 pm

      I agree with you ring. I can’t imagine how you would bear each day knowing your children were suffered like this. You’d have to put all your trust and faith in God. There’s no other way you could endure it. Not to get all religious on everybody but I’m sure He has been there for them. I can’t imagine what would motivate someone to have this much hate that they could commit such cruel and heinous acts. And anyone who let it happen is just as guilty so the jury got that right.

    • 05/18/2013 at 1:42 am

      Very well said Ring.

  15. ringadingding
    05/18/2013 at 9:25 am

    Lisa M, thanks for pointing that out. There’s something so utterly soulless about these monsters, it’s hard to remember there’s a greater good.

    Speaking of monsters, I was taken aback by the defendant’s mother who said she was sorry the other families won’t have grandchildren, but neither will she. Uh…lady: that’s a GOOD THING. Could you imagine if this human effluent who watched tv while a woman was tortured, raped and murdered would some day father a child? (btw..I don’t believe for a minute that he didn’t participate.) I don’t know this mother’s story, but there’s something really wrong with her to say such a thing and think it would elicit sympathy from the jury. For me, it might be the only blessing in all of this.

    • Lisa M
      05/18/2013 at 11:33 am

      I agree. How could she try to equate her loss with the victims’? It’s sickening. She should be hanging her head in shame and apologizing to the families for what her son did (or didn’t do, ie. stopping it from happening, calling 911, etc.) And I’m with you. I don’t believe for a second he didn’t participate. In any case, standing by and doing nothing is pretty much the same thing.

  16. nyccowgirl
    05/19/2013 at 2:19 pm

    donchais – i went back and read all the posts on this case. i’m confused – why was daphne a confusing factor for the coleman case? i think in the retrial, there was a bit of clarification during defense’s closing statements about her not being prosecuted but i’m not sure of what. seems like all she did was went to pick up her things and saw things that didn’t belong to her. in addition, davidson stayed with her for a bit but she kicked him out after her mom called to tell her about the murders. also, what is the concept behind the 13th juror and whether they get retrials? if they get retrials though, why were charges that were previously found not guilty not valid to be in the new trial if it is a re-do and not some sort of appeals process?

  17. donchais
    05/19/2013 at 2:38 pm

    Actually, you figured an bunch out already…her jury wasn’t the brightest bunch of bulbs in the box…they felt Daphne was as guilty as the others…however, Coleman had Channon hidden in the bathroom with her and Daphne never saw her, therefore couldn’t help her..

    During retrial, all charges relating to Chris were forbidden. 13th juror is the judge affirming the juror’s findings, which was never formalized.

    He was found guilty of prescription drug abuse, and disbarred. Because the role of 13th juror was never affirmed, a new judge was assigned. He was the one who said everybody gets a new trial. It was so bizarre and fought by the prosecution a third judge was then assigned. Coleman got the new trial because the first judge was visibly impaired on the stand and the State didn’t not fight that.

    The not guilty charges from the first trial cannot be retried due to double jeopardy statutes.

    Thomas retrial came about because the third judge (said the DNA evidence was so strong against Davidson and Cobbins, that he COULD sign off as 13th juror) the evidence was not so clear in Thomas’s case, he ordered the retrial.

    All-in-all, huge fustercluck!

    Hope that helps.

  18. nyccowgirl
    05/19/2013 at 2:48 pm

    But if it is a retrial, I would think double jeopardy is not at play, similar to a hung jury. It’s as if you would throw out the verdicts and start over. Unless I missed it, I only saw Coleman and Thomas trials on your blog. I saw references to all the defendants having conflicting testimonies/interviews but couldn’t find anything regarding anyone’s interviews other than Coleman. From that, I got the sense that Channon wasn’t in the bathroom with her but some other closet somewhere. I’m sure the bathroom was from another defendant. Do you know where I can get the others’ interviews? The forensics was very disturbing – even more so than TA. No motive ever come out? Interesting that it wasn’t tried as a hate crime. Thanks for your time answering my questions.

    • donchais
      05/19/2013 at 4:17 pm

      See David’s response…as for police statements, try google for Lemaricus Davidson, Latalvis Cobbin, Vanessa Coleman, George Thomas police interviews.

      David and I both wrote extensively on the Trials and Tribulations blog over the years…lots of nuggets to be found there!

  19. David In TN
    05/19/2013 at 3:28 pm

    Double jeopardy is always in play, even in a retrial. The Christian-Newsom case is a long story, going back to January 2007, when the murders took place.

    The main strategy for Vanessa Coleman’s defense team (in both of her trials) was to bring Daphne Sutton into the case and claim she should have also been charged. They succeeded to some extent. Some of the jurors in Coleman’s first trial were stuck on Daphne Sutton. We could tell because juror questions were allowed at that time in Tennessee. They aren’t anymore.

    To anyone who followed the testimony and evidence closely, Davidson was careful not to allow Sutton to know what was going on in the Chipman Street house. Coleman kept her under guard out of sight when Daphne came to the house to pick up her belongings.

    • nyccowgirl
      05/19/2013 at 5:08 pm

      thanks donchais and david!

  20. donchais
    05/20/2013 at 12:26 am
  21. El See
    05/20/2013 at 10:14 am

    Wow what a sad sad story for the families of these victims …. I hope they can find some peace somewhere in all this. Thanks donchais for the excellent wrap up and insight.

    Have to ask … what is next for you? I want to be sure I follow your writings and insights! 😀

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