Posts Tagged ‘Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood’

Christian-Newsom – No Third Try For Vanessa Coleman!

04/17/2013 17 comments

imagesArguing  Coleman should have been granted immunity due to her appearance under subpoena before a grand jury and that evidence of her participation in the crimes was insufficient, Coleman’s defense was told by Judge Blackwood, empahtically, no third trial would be granted.

Coleman was sentenced to 35 consecutive years following a retrial for her role in the 2007 murder, torture and rape of Channon Christian. Christian’s boyfriend, Chris Newsom, was also killed but Coleman was not found guilty in his death.

Coleman is eligible for parole in about 4 years.

The retrial of defendant George Thomas is slated to begin May 13.



Christian-Newson – Are You Kidding Me?

03/11/2013 11 comments

imagesThe 2007 carjack, rape, torture and murder of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom is one of the most horrific crimes I have ever followed.

The defendants have all been tried, but the insanity doesn’t stop there.

Lemaricus Davidson was sentenced to death.  Half-brother, Letalvis Cobbins was given LWOP, as was Cobbins buddy, George Thomas.  Vanessa Coleman, Cobbins’ girlfriend, received 53 years for facilitation of the crimes.

But, things only got crazier.  The presiding judge, Richard Baumgartner was charged with abusing prescription painkillers and never signed off as the thirteenth juror.

Judge Jon Blackwood was assigned to the cases and all four defendants filed for retrials.  Blackwood ok’d those retrials and the ensuing legal battle over that decision led to the appellate court appointing Judge Walter Kurtz to step in.

Long story short,  Davidson and Cobbins’ appeals were denied due to the amount of DNA evidence.  The lack of DNA evidence for George Thomas has led to a retrial which begins on May 13,  pretrial motions will be heard on March 25.  Coleman was retried last year, after the charges against her for Chris Newsom were removed, she was again found guilty of facilitation and sentenced to 35 years.  She is eligible for her first parole hearing in about 4 and a half years.

With me so far?  Coleman has been found guilty, not once, but twice!images-1

Her attorney, Ted Lavit is pompous and egotistical to put it mildly!  Last week, he had the audacity to file a motion seeking another retrial and/or acquittal.

Lavit is funded by Vanessa’s parent, both of whom work two jobs, if I remember correctly.

The kicker is his arguments!

1.  Coleman should have received immunity for testifying before a federal grand jury.  This was argued about ad nauseam in the first trial.  Early on, the Feds initially got involved in the kidnap, rape, torture and murders because the defendants high-tailed it over state lines.  There had been some discussion if Coleman turned, she might (‘might’ being the pivotal word) be offered some form of immunity.  It was quickly decided all the crimes had occurred in Knoxville, therefore the Feds turned the case over to the state.  The state never considered immunity because she lied to the grand jury!

2.  The state should not have introduced graphic color crime scene photos.  Well heck, they were graphic, they are what happened in real life, or the taking of real life.  Coleman was there, it’s exactly how she saw it!

3. The evidence in the case was insufficient.  If so, how did two separate juries find her guilty?

4.  The racial make up of the jury was unfair because a disproportionate number of black jurors were dismissed because of their criminal backgrounds.  Hmmm, criminals being the jury for other criminals?  Fox watching the hen house, methinks.

So, I’m angry beyond belief for any number of reasons.

Lavit’s arguments are such BS he should be disbarred for stupidity and wasting the court’s time.

How long does he think Coleman’s folks can foot his ridiculous, questionable legal fees?

Here’s where I really go round-the-bend and what I believe is one of the larger issues in what’s wrong with our system.

The state can never ask for a retrial based on a little thing called double jeopardy.  They can’t just keep calling for do-overs until they get the result they wanted.

Well, what about the rights of the VICTIMS?  What about their families?  What about their friends?  How many times do they have to relive the horrendous nightmare they have been living for over six years?  When do they finally get the time to grieve the loss of their beloved children and friends?

There is something wrong with the system when the rights of the defendants far outweigh the rights of the innocent!

Attorney General Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance



Christian-Newsom – Judge Creates Confusion With Coleman Sentence

02/02/2013 3 comments

What appeared to be a solid sentence yesterday, in fact, turned out to be a disappointment for Channon and Chris’ families.

According to WBIR, “The judge misspoke on the stand while clarifying the sentence.”

Even the prosecutors were confused about the sentence handed down by Judge Blackwood.

After clarification, the sentence stands at 35 years:

– 25 years for facilitation of felony murder

–  6 years for facilitation of aggravated kidnapping

– 4 years for facilitation of rape.

Coleman has already spent 6 years in prison and the new sentence makes her eligible for parole in under 5 years.

There is no guarantee she will get early parole and the understandably angry families vow to fight her early release.

Christian-Newsom – Vanessa Coleman Sentenced Again

02/01/2013 6 comments

Paperwork submitted to the court on Coleman’s behalf still refer to her a scared little 18 year old who feared for her life.  She’s been a good girl in jail taking classes and her head is cleared of drugs, therefore the judge should be lenient in sentencing.

Naturally the State wants the max, as do the Christian and Newsom families.

She probably won’t get a repeat of the 53 years she received at the first trial because the second jury was a little softer on some of the charges.

The Newsom and Christians are in court.

Judge Blackwood on the bench.

Screen shot 2013-02-01 at 12.05.03 PMColeman brought in.

Deena Christian gives her impact statement.

She says no parent should have to bury a child.

No one should ever have to see the violent images that are in my head.

Channon loved life.

She was ethical, honest, loyal to a fault.

Channon and I were more than mother and daughter. We were good friends.

As parents, we’re supposed to protect our children.  I feel I failed her.

Our family will never be whole again.

Neither Channon nor Chris did anything to deserve this.

My perfect family is broken.

Deena tells Vanessa you were no victim, you chose to stay. You are evil.

She pleads with the court to do the right thing and give the maximum sentence.

Vanessa deserves no mercy.

Gary on the stand.

Channon was a beautiful girl.

Says the defense attorneys stood in court and lied about Channon and Chris.

They were allowed to lie and we were told we couldn’t cry as the gruesome photos were shown in court.

I’ve sat through two trials and I can’t believe how many excuses two attorneys could come up with.

You were found guilty not by 12 people, but 24.

You saw nothing and did nothing.

In the words of the lawyers, law enforcement and the ME, this was the most brutal crime in the State.

Not once, in any interview did Vanessa Coleman ever state she asked them to stop.

And then they ran to Kentucky.  Why didn’t she run to the police?

The court is being asked to be lenient because she went to drug rehab and anger management class.

Go to anger management class? For a brutal murder?

Anger management class ain’t going to help me.

I wish I had gotten there sooner, but it wasn’t soon enough.

In one of the pictures Channon died with her eyes open.  All I see if fear.

I have a clear understanding of hate.

Anyone with half a brain would have gotten away from those people.

I will never be the man I used to be.

I hate the fact you were born.  I hate the fact that you draw air.

I’ll never get to walk my daughter down the aisle.  I’ll never hold my grandchildren because of you.

I never heard any of the swine that took my child say I’m sorry or show remorse.

I am left with memories and hate.  I will not forgive or forget.

I ask this court to put her away, give her what she deserves and mercy ain’t part of it.

Price up for the State:

State asks for 49 years and six months with enhancements and asks for consecutive sentences.

Leland Price says her use of illegal drugs should carry great weight.

Cruelty should been given great weight.

Her behavior indicates she has no regard for humane life.

Price is shredding the defense mitigation factors.

Lavit for defense says she was being held captive.

She didn’t inflict cruelty.

She did not actively participate.

It’s quite leap if faith for the State to say because she was there, she participated.

Coleman does not meet the definition of a dangerous offender.

I so dislike Lavitt.  In a nutshell, we’ve heard this all before, Coleman did nothing wrong and is a little angel.

Gary is disgusted and just walked out.

She has no past criminal history.

She has excellent history of employment.

She will again be productive member of society after her term is served.

Lavit wants concurrent sentences for a term of 13.5 years.

Judge Blackwood sounds like he’s leaning more toward the enhancements rather than the mitigating factors.

The psychological torture of this unfortunate victim was immense.

This is a horrible crime, exceptionally cruel and it outweighs any of the mitigators.

Court finds the defendant a dangerous offender.

Being there and doing nothing shows this person is dangerous.

Judge Blackwood hands down 43 years!!!

I am so happy for the families.

Christian-Newsom – Prayers Are Answered!

01/15/2013 5 comments

Some very good news!  Senior Judge Walter Kurtz denied retrials for Lemaricus Davidson and Letalvis Cobbins!

Davidson received the death sentence while Cobbins received life without parole.

George Thomas, however will receive a new trial because Baumgartner didn’t fulfill the role of 13th juror.

No forensic evidence linked Thomas to the crimes.  He did admit to being in the Chipman Street house, so he gets a do-over.

Judge Kurtz said the DNA evidence linking Cobbins and Davidson to the rape and murder of Channon was enough to uphold the verdicts.

I am so overjoyed for the Newsoms and Christians!

Christian-Newsom – The Retrial Dilemma

12/13/2012 6 comments

After Judge Blackwood was removed and Judge Walter Kurtz was appointed as his replacement, the task of deciding whether to allow retrials for Lemaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, and George Thomas fell to Judge Kurtz.  Today he is wading through the ton of motions filed by the defendants.

David Eldridge, Lemaricus Davidson’s attorney, is going on about issues of Baumgartner’s drug addiction and the fact he never acted as the 13th juror.

Basically, they want Blackwood’s decisions to stand on the 13th juror and he questions whether Kurtz can do that just reading old records.

Claims there were witnesses putting Davidson and Christian together before weekend of killing.

Eldridge alleges consensual sex with Davidson and drug use by Channon.

At this point, Gary Christian jumps up and storms out of the court saying bullshit loudly.

Claims Davidson wasn’t even there at the time Channon died, he had left the house.

Takisha Fitzgerald is now laying out the circumstantial evidence, Davidson is the one committed these crimes.

There is DNA evidence and Davidson’s fingerprints and he was in possession of Channon and Chris’ belongings.

She tells Kurtz, Eldridge didn’t raise these witness credibility issues until 2 years after trial.  Baumgartner pleaded in March 2011 but defense didn’t complain about 13th juror deal till Sept 2011!

Jan 10th there will be another hearing regarding Davidson!

Now on to George Thomas, he’s waived his presence!  Thomas has the same 13th juror issue and whether Kurtz can act or not.

Steve Johnson begins with while Thomas admits being in the house on Chipman Street, he was asleep when the kidnapping happened and he had no idea they were going to do it.  There is no DNA evidence he took part in the crimes.

Of course that doesn’t excuse the fact he did nothing to prevent the torture and murders.

Johnson says there are serious credibility issues with Detective Nevil Norman’s claim Thomas made a racist comment about Channon because Norman didn’t tell that story until more than year after his discussion with Thomas.

Johnson also says just because Thomas rode around in the 4 Runner does not indicate he wanted to take possession of the vehicle.

Now, Tom Dillard is arguing about legality of a warrant less arrest of Thomas.  This has been gone over about a gazillion times.  So, because this was an illegal arrest, the statements they obtained from Thomas should be suppressed.

An ankle holster found in car Boyd borrowed was tested only this year. Boyd’s DNA was found on it so Dillard claims now that they know this and no Thomas DNA was ever found, it highlights no forensic evidence against Thomas.

Defense claims a Brady issue because the State knew about it and had this been brought out in trial it would have helped Thomas.

Leland Price says the holster was collected and photographed early on before the trials and the defense knew about this for a long time and could have asked to have it tested at anytime.

Defense didn’t challenge credibility of witnesses at trial, instead argued proof at trial wasn’t enough to convict.  The fact the Thomas fled to KY is proof of guilt.

Price says if Kurtz looks at the case, he can act as 13th juror.

Kurtz will issue written decisions by mid January.

Now onto Letalvis Cobbins. Kim Parton is babbling about Baumgartner was a drug addict and his rulings on the 150 motions they filed, are suspect.

Parton says if Cobbins not given a new trial, they will be back in maybe 10 years retrying this case.

Parton complaining with all the changing of lawyers and the amount of evidence in the case caused them to file a motion to delay the trial, but Baumgartner denied the motion.  Therefore they didn’t have the time to do all the investigation they needed to do.

They were focused on looking into Eric Boyd’s participation because he worked at the same mall Channon worked so maybe he targeted her.

She’s also stating the photos used at trial were gruesome and shouldn’t have allowed.

Judge Kurtz says we are here to argue 13th juror issue and why aren’t you talking about that.

Parton is totally clueless here!

OMG! Patron just said, I can’t stand here and say there were overriding issues of witness credibility and admits there is no 13th juror issue here!

Takisha again says the State believes the court can act as the 13th juror.  The record and evidence show Cabins’ guilt.

Leland Price addresses all the side issues Patron brought up.

I’m not really even sure why Parton showed up here today!

Judge Kurtz will issue a ruling mid January.

So, we continue the waiting game!

Christian-Newsom Updates On Vanessa Coleman And Lemaricus Davidson

12/07/2012 5 comments

Screen shot 2012-12-07 at 11.26.08 AMAsking lawyers to check their calendars, Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood has suggested the afternoon of February 1, for sentencing Vanessa Coleman.

Coleman was convicted a second time on 11/20/2012.  The charges can be found here: Vanessa Coleman Guilty of Most But Not All Charges.

Depending on which legal pundit you listen to, Coleman could receive as little as 25 years or up to 50 years.  I’m hoping for the high end, but it’s anybody’s guess as to which way Blackwood will lean.

Yesterday, Davidson’s defense team filed a motion seeking a stay of the Screen shot 2012-12-07 at 11.25.25 AMDecember 13 retrial hearing or any decision by  Senior Judge Walter Kurtz.

Doug Trant and David Eldridge, defense attorneys, want the Tennessee Supreme Court to review the order by a lower appellate court which removed Judge Blackwood from the case.

Kind of silly we are still squabbling over this issue!

Senior Judge Walter Kurtz’s response was swift as well as short and sweet…NO!!

Chief Justice Gary Wade appointed Kurtz to replace Blackwood, so Kurtz says there is no issue of recusal: “the chief justice exercised his statutory and inherent authority. This trial court is not in a position to overturn or modify the chief justice’s order.”

December 13 is quickly approaching!



KnoxNews – Delay

KnoxNews – NO

Vanessa Coleman Guilty of Most But Not All Charges

11/20/2012 5 comments

OK, originally charged with 40 counts when the charges included the kidnap, rape, and murder of Chris Newsom, the first jury released Coleman of all charges relating to Chris.

This retrial for facilitation of crimes against Channon focused on 17 charges.

The verdict came back today as:

Count 8. Not guilty of facilitation to commit first degree murder of Channon Christian in the Perpetration of Kidnapping Chris Newsom

Count 12. Guilty of facilitation to commit first degree murder of Channon Christian in the Perpetration of Rape of Channon Christian

Count 16. Guilty of facilitation to commit first degree murder of Channon Christian in the Perpetration of Theft of Channon Christian

Count 18. Guilty of facilitation to commit second degree murder

Count 23. Guilty of facilitation to commit aggravated kidnapping

Count 24. Guilty of facilitation to commit aggravated kidnapping

Counts 25, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38. Guilty of facilitation to commit rape

Counts 42, 44.  Not guilty of facilitation to commit aggravated rape of Channon Christian by anal penetration, vaginal penetration

Count 46. Guilty of facilitation to commit theft in an amount of $500 or less

Coleman could get less the 53 she was sentenced to or more, due to the facilitation of murder charges.  That will all depend on how Judge Blackwood sentences.

Blackwood did not set a sentencing date tonight, but said all parties will be notified by mail as to the sentencing date.

Channon, Chris, Hugh, Mary, Denna and Gary…have some peace tonight and sleep well!