Posts Tagged ‘Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood’

Vanessa Coleman Verdict Watch- Jury Question

11/20/2012 Comments off

Question from jury:

1:25 Blackwood calls both sides to the bench to read them the juror’s question.

9 separate rape charge, does each count pertain to a certain person…like Davidson, is that your question?  Yes.

  1. Each count refers to 9 different methods of penetration.  Oral, vaginal, anal penetration charged 3 ways: with weapon, coercion and causing serious bodily injury.

Blackwood gives a very good explanation of the various counts.  Describes the various counts and type of rape and  the charges don’t mean who committed, but who may have facilitated.

Jury says that answers their question.

Updates as they happen.

Vanessa Coleman Retrial Day 5

11/19/2012 7 comments

The State rested Friday evening after 4 days.  Today, the defense will present their case.  I’m betting not a whole lot there.  Last go round the only witnesses were Greg and Linda Coleman, Nessa’s parents.

I hope the jury got some much need down time over the weekend and had time to reflect on Coleman’s story changes over the course of the nine interviews.  It went from, ‘I don’t know anything, I wasn’t there’ to admitting, she was left alone in the house with Channon while the thugs went out to murder Chris.  And, her diary pretty much blows the, ‘ I was only 18 and scared for my life,’ theory right out of the water!

Judge Blackwood takes the bench.  Court stated a bit earlier today and the families are still filing into court while the defense asks for Vanessa to be acquitted.

Lavit is asking for acquittal on all charges.  He’s droning on about the evidence does not sustain conviction.

Blackwood swears in Coleman and she states she refuses to testify.

9:12 Jury brought in.

Greg Coleman called, Vanessa’s father.

Greg tells the court he was not aware Vanessa traveled to TN on 12/28/2006.  He found out Vanessa was in TN on the day Cobbins and Thomas were arrested.

Jan 16 he and his wife and two daughters drove to Knoxville.  His wife, daughters Aja and Vanessa had been subpoenaed.

Q. What were you told by Det. Childress?

Objection, hearsay and off we go to the bench.

This isn’t moving along very well because it keeps going to hearsay.

When Vanessa was interviewed, his wife was in the room.  Greg was just in the building.

Waggoner, Childress, Greg, Vanessa, and another detective drove around Knoxville for Vanessa for her to point out locations.  Greg claims Vanessa couldn’t know how to get to the locations they visited.

They returned to the Federal building and interviewed Vanessa again.  That interview lasted around 2 hours.

On the 24th, Waggoner called and offered protective custody because her name and photo was shown on Knoxville TV.

On the 25th, Vanessa and her mother went into protective custody.

After two days, they wanted to go home so Greg drove down to get them.

On the 31st police showed up again to do another interview.  LE had an indictment with them but didn’t tell her till after the interview that’s what Lavit wants jury to recall.

Witness passed to Price.

Price asking if he knew where Hays’ house was & how long it would take to drive there.  Greg says about 15 minutes.

Price is asking Greg Coleman if he “loves his daughter very much and would do anything to help” Vanessa. Greg replies “yes, sir.”

From Jan.11-16 Vanessa stayed with friends & cousins not at home.

Price asks if he wanted Vanessa to stay at his house.  Greg replies I wanted her to stay with me but she was a young 18 yr old woman of age and wanted to stay with friends & cousins.

Linda Coleman called.

Were you aware Vanessa came to Knoxville?  No

When did you speak with her?  New Years Eve. (So Vanessa had access to a phone while in Knoxville!)

Linda Coleman thought Vanessa was a witness for the state, even though she was in federal protective custody.

Agents brought them to a hotel for protection. Vanessa’s mom says that they heard something outside the Hotel room while they were in witness protection so the decided to leave because they thought they’d get better protection at home than they would in witness protection.

Linda was not aware Vanessa was dating Letalvis Cobbins, did not know George Thomas, Natosha Hayes, Stacy Lawson.

Did Vanessa have common sense? “Well…sometimes.”

Vanessa “stayed” with Natosha Hays between Oct and Nov 2006. Went between aunt’s, parent’s & Hays’ house.

Takisha drives home the point that after the crimes, Coleman bounced from house to house didn’t stay with parents and never indicated to them she was afraid of the people she was hanging with.

Takisha is kicking butt here and mama is getting an attitude.

Your observation of your daughter around her friends did you feel she was in danger?  Not really.

But if you did, you would have snatched your child up and gotten her out of there wouldn’t you?  Yes.

Defense rests and recess called.

Not that the defense has much to work with, the parent’s testimony really did nothing to bolster Colemans’s case.

BTW, Linda lied on the stand originally saying she didn’t know Natosha, didn’t recognize her picture, or knew where she lived!


Takisha is laying out the timeline of events for the jury.

Our plan was to first establish the crime and then establish Coleman’s role. “We believe we’ve done that.”

We also intended to show that Channon’s death was a premeditated killing.”

When the guys left the house to get money and had a gun, Coleman could have left and walked to the convenient store, but she didn’t.


So the evidence…

Objection…sidebar and jury sent out.

Lavit raising hell over the Kroger receipt showing Coleman knew her way around Knoxville.

Takisha is rip-roaring mad.

Lavit is a pita and it’s rude to keep interrupting the closing argument.

Jury back…

Judge tells the jury to “disregard” the argument about Kroger receipt…so Lavit won that one.

Takisha arguing that there’s no way Christian did not scream during rapes and there’s no way Coleman didn’t hear anything.

Imagine how Channon’s hope is destroyed when she realized Ms Coleman wasn’t going to help.

Next morning Coleman cooks oatmeal, biscuits, sausage…imagine what Channon felt.  If you’ve ever cooked sausage you know you can here and smell it while it’s cooking.

Takisha is just amazing…doing all the dates, times and story off the top of her head, no notes.  She is really bringing it on!

When cops show up at discovery of Chris’ body, all Coleman had to do was walk outside and tell army of police officers to save her if she was so scared.

They (including Coleman) go out to the store to get cigarettes and a candy bar…she has been the witness of a woman being raped brutally and she’s thinking about eating a candy bar.

If it weren’t for Vanessa Coleman those 3 men could not have taken Chris Newsom to the train tracks.

Substantial assistance? You will not get a legal definition. It’s common sense. It’s for you to decide… think about it from Channon’s perspective, she could have been free, but Coleman was her captor.

The most telling thing in this case is what she put in that diary.

Just because she’s young that doesn’t give her a pass says, Coleman is responsible for facilitating murder and rape of Christian.

Totally amazing closing!

Lavit Closing

Mere presence is not basis to convict anyone of a crime in any court in America. Nor should you on guilt by association.

Coleman was interviewed 9 times by skilled officers. She provided ammunition to proceed against these other killers.

The story didn’t change, it’s the same story, the questions changed, and she just provided additional information.

“This 18 year old girl never knew nothing about this crew’s plans.”

Good lord, Lavit is screaming at the jury.

They’ve got the burden of proof. “Where is it, where is it!” he shouts.

Lavit using lots of obfuscation…

Coleman “wasn’t a player” on this killing team. “They didn’t trust her”

Coleman said 8 out of 9 times in interviews she never saw Newsom.

Chris “wasn’t bound in that house cause he had to be able to walk to those railroad tracks.”

Lavit arguing the 4 men in 4 Runner seen by Xavier Jenkins were Chris, Davidson, Thomas, and Boyd, leaving Cobbins with Coleman and Channon.

I want you do judge this fairly. Coleman was just caught up in something because of her mere presence.

I wish Vanessa didn’t touch the sheets; I wish she wasn’t made to take the pulse.

What substantial assistance did she give in committing these crimes? Where’s the evidence?

Remember Daphne? She was the white girl. Her uncle works for KPD. She was there. She wasn’t indicted. Let’s be fair. ” She aided and abetted Davidson but she “got away.”

The state’s case is a whole lot of fury signifying nothing.

Coleman has never been in trouble.

Journal doesn’t mention crimes. And she was never interviewed about the journal. It just shows the immature words of 18 yr old. Journal was written under watchful eye of Cobbins. The journal was her way of processing what she witnessed.

Judge looking at his watch.

Lavit tries to quote Genesis…lol


Now, he’s on to ‘To Kill a Mockingbird…omg, pulease… Tom Robinson was at wrong place at wrong time Lavit says as he tries to parallel Coleman’s case.

He’s done…btw, his closing was fraught with out-and-out lies!

12:38 lunch is called.  On return, State will offer rebuttal.


Court should have resumed at 1:15…now 1:35  and the doors are still locked! Not sure what’s up.


 Leland Price to wrap up.

Price thanks the jury for their time.

Actions speak louder than words.

He wants them to think about what Coleman did/did not do vs. what she said.

Stacy Lawson tried to get Coleman to leave. “Nobody stopped her. Nobody would have stopped Coleman.”

When Daphne left, she left on foot!

Coleman saw the 4 Runner, she knew what was going on.  She’s 18, not 2!

Coleman hears them in the bedroom tearing those sheets into strips and tying her up….It wasn’t just a rape….this was brutality.

Channon’s screams had to be knocking off the walls of that house.

The defense would have you believe no one was telling her anything, but Cobbins told her he held Chris at gunpoint.

It’s not like nobody is telling Vanessa Coleman what’s going on….they trusted her.

Coleman hears Lemaricus Davidson tell Thomas she’s a rich white girl who doesn’t want to die.

They brought all of Cahnnon’s stuff from the 4 Runner into the house…Coleman claims she didn’t know it was stolen yet she put Channon’s stuff in the red purse. Coleman knew exactly what was going on the whole time. To say she didn’t know anything is absurd.

There was one hostage. One. Not two, but one…Vanessa Coleman wasn’t a hostage. She had so many chances to leave.

Coleman made no attempt to get away, no calls to parents, went to Walmart and didnt ask for help.

Back in KY, Stacy and Vanessa go to get food after crimes but don’t go to police station, which is close by. Instead line up alibi. Coleman tries to get Stacy Lawson to lie about when they left Knoxville.

Price is pounding through all Coleman’s inconsistent statements given after the killers already locked up.

Coleman tried to cover up for Cobbins. The 28th was first time she told authorities about Rome’s role in burning the body.  She’s not cooperating, she’s being false and lying.

Now Coleman suddenly admits she touched the body.  Why?  Because she knows the items will be tested. Coleman cooked up the pulse checking thing be cause she knew her DNA would be on Channon’s bindings.

Price onto the diary now. What better way to get in her mind, to know what she’s thinking than by looking at her journal? It was an adventure for her, for Chris and Channon you know it was a complete nightmare.

Leland is done.

Judge now going over charges and reading instructions to the jury.

3:14 reading of instructions is done.

That’s it folks, jury officially deliberating and we are on verdict watch!

Vanessa Coleman Retrial Day 4

11/16/2012 9 comments

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!

Vanessa Coleman Retrial Day 3

11/15/2012 2 comments

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.

Vanessa Coleman Retrial Day 2

11/14/2012 3 comments

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!

Christian-Newsom – Vanessa Coleman’s Retrial Gets Underway

11/13/2012 Comments off

Prosecutor Takisha Fitzgerald warmly hugs Mary, Hugh, Deena and Gary.

Judge Blackwood takes the bench and calls all the attorneys to the bench.

Coleman enters the courtroom with her usual smirk and dressed in all black. Her parents are in attendance.

9:12am – the jury is ushered in and Judge Blackwood explains to them what to expect and what they’ll be tasked with.

Leland Price reads the indictment.  Coleman is being retried on 17 of the original 32 counts the state charged her with in 2009.

Takisha begins opening statement.  She begins with mentioning Chris Newsom’s burned body and proceeds to explain how Channon Christian’s body was found in a trashcan.  She mentions all the cast of characters.

She describes the Chipman Street house as 900 square feet with no interior doors.

She is describing the train engineer found Chris’s smoldering body by the tracks and how Deena has spent hours trying to reach Channon on her cell.

After Channon’s SUV is found and her cell pings to Chipman Street, police enter the house and find Channon’s body, but nobody else was in the house. They then located Daphne Sutton who was on the rental agreement and she provides the names of Lemaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, and George Thomas.

Takisha goes into the number of interviews with Coleman and how her story changed with each interview.

Coleman’s damning diary is up on the screen now, “I’ve had one HELL OF AN ADVENTURE.”

Blackwood calls the attorneys to the bench…the jury is sent out

Defense attorney Ted Lavit addresses a 2010 immunity form for Coleman by the federal authorities and wants it entered as evidence, the same was argued in original trial.

Defense says state adopted it, state says they didn’t. State says we acknowledge that the agreement was made, but we never agreed to abide by it.

Blackwood calls for a break and leaves the bench to read the document.  He has decided not to allow the immunity form.

Defense now complaining based on the witnesses the State intends to call, they are presenting the exact case they did before and that’s not what we’re here for.

Defense begins opening with Coleman just graduating and going to work and just got mixed up with a bad bunch. She had never been in trouble and was a hard worker.

Coleman was left alone at the house and you’ll see no evidence that Coleman had knowledge of Davidson’s plan.

Lavit makes it sound like a huge house! Like she couldn’t hear them screaming or begging for their lives!

She knew exactly what was happening. She enjoyed it; she wrote so in her diary!

Lavit admits Coleman lied to authorities when first questioned. But says she “spilled her guts” in the follow up interviews.

Lavit tells jury Coleman did not facilitate the crimes. She was “merely there” as Christian was being held, tortured and raped.

Lavit is just droning on and on how Coleman was being watched and couldn’t escape and she was afraid for her life.

According to Lavit, Coleman didn’t know the purse, clothes, and perfume she took belonged to Channon.

Lavit says Coleman’s journal was really frivolous because she was still in danger from Cobbins and Thomas.

Finally, Lavit sits down.

First witness, Josh Anderson.  He played golf with Chris Newsom the day he was kidnapped.

He describes going to the party and how they kept calling Channon and Chris to find out where they were.

They drove to Kara’s house where Chris and Channon were hanging out.  They saw Chris’s truck, but not Channon’s 4 Runner.

Throughout the day, they were trying to figure out what was going on and began to get worried.

He describes how a bunch of them went out searching for Channon’s 4 Runner after receiving the cell phone ping info and how they located it.

Takisha shows him a bunch of photos that he identifies.

He identified Chris’s baseball cap and shoes.

Bunch of stuff being moved into evidence.

All this must be so hard on the Christian and Newsom families.

11:41, Judge Blackwood calls lunch.

12:47 court resumes.

Next up Kara Sowards, Channon’s best friend.

She describes how she and Channon were going to a party that night.  Channon was at her apartment around 5 or 6.

Kara heard Channon on the phone with Chris and he was coming to take her to diner.  Kara left at 8 pm for the party, expecting to see Channon and Chris at the party a little later.

Around 9 pm, Kara called Channon to tell her that Chris was on his way to pick her up.

10:30, Kara noticed Channon and Chris weren’t there so she started texting and calling, but received no answer

Around 3 am Kara left the party.  She saw Chris’s truck but not Channon’s 4 Runner, which was unusual because Chris always drove.

She details how panicked everyone became by the afternoon because nobody had spoken to Chris or Channon and Chris hadn’t gone to work.

She identifies photos of her apartment, Channon’s 4 Runner, the perfume bottle from Channon’s purse, etc.

Kara identifies the clothes Channon was wearing and the clothing she was taking to goodwill.

Wow, defense has no questions!

Xavier Jenkins up next.  Worked at Waste Management that is across the street from the Chipman house.  He spotted the 4 Runner with men inside.

He then saw the 4 Runner leave with 4 black men inside and it drove by him and mean mugged him.

He felt something just wasn’t right because the 4 Runner seemed out of place.

He identifies photos of the vehicle.

Coleman looks pretty bored.

Lavit asks if the believed he vehicle was stolen.  Jenkins said yes.

Lavit asks if he called the police.  Jenkins said no.

Lavit, are you sure there were 4 black men?  That was my impression.

Lavit, but your not sure?  At least the men in the front were.

Lavit, you see anyone in the house?  No sir.

Lavit, did you see anyone leave house?  No.

Lavit, did you see any of the men exit the 4 Runner?  No sir.

Jenkins says he spoke to police on that Monday or soon after the news started carrying the story.

Jenkins is released…excellent witness!

Next, Adrienne Mathis, Eric Boyd’s cousin.  She loaned her car to Boyd…the white car that was parked behind Channon’s 4 Runner on Chipman Street. Boyd is currently in prison in KY for misprision of a felony.

She never knew Davidson, Cobbins, Thomas, or Coleman.

Witness passed.

Lavit did you know the car was parked on Chipman Street?  No.

Lavit, was he one of the 4 blacks in the 4 Runner?  I wouldn’t know that.

Lavit keeps asking the same questions over and over…what’s the relevance?

Jerome Arnold is called.  He lived a block away from the Chipman Street house.

He was watching television that evening.  Around 1:45 am he heard 3 distinctive pops.  Those pops were when Chris was shot.

He though it might by firecrackers leftover from New Years, didn’t think it was out of the ordinary and didn’t call police.

Lavit on cross – did you hear screams?  No.

Lavit if you had heard screams would you have called the police? Yes.

Lavit, but in all this time, you never heard screams?  No.

Roy Thurman is up.  He saw the smoke coming up by the railroad tracks.  He didn’t investigate because homeless people hang around there and lots of times there was smoke from them burning stuff

No questions from defense.

JD Ford called.  Railroad engineer that spotted Chris’s body near the tracks.

He said the legs weren’t badly burnt, but he couldn’t see much more so he wasn’t really sure it was a body.

He called his chief and was told they would call authorities and to wait there.

He got off the train and walked closer and realized it really was a body.  He could identify the body as a male.  Investigators arrived shortly after.

No cross.

2:33, Blackwood calls a recess.

Court resumes.

Lavit is whining about the pictures of Chris’s burnt body. Blackwood says he doesn’t know what pictures will be introduced so he can’t make a decision yet.

Robert Watson on the stand.  State Fire Marshal’s office.  Training officer and K-9 handler.  He responded to the scene at the tracks.

He inspected the scene and saw something had burned so he brought the dog in.  The dog alerted to gasoline in two spots.

He collected evidence and sent it off to the state lab.

He identifies photos of the scene at the tracks.  They are entered into evidence.

Lavit, can you tell the jury about 2316 Chipman Street?  No sir

Russ Whitfield is called.  He’s with KPD Forensics and photographed Newsom site.

He saw what he thought was a kite tail…it was a cloth with knots tied in it.

He identifies photos of the scene.  He now shows the actual evidence he photographed to the jury.

All items entered into evidence.

Lavit, did you identify the owner of the cloth that was tied in knots?  No sir.

Lavit; did you identify any items as being connected to Vanessa?  No.

Lavit, do you know if Vanessa Coleman was connected to tearing the cloth from the larger sheet?  No sir.

Oh, Lavit is just full of crap!

Laura Hodge is called.  Bureau of Investigation, forensic microfiber analysis.

She found gasoline grade presence on the items Whitfield submitted.

Lavit, did your results have any connection to Vanessa Coleman?  No sir.

Did you do any self investigation into went on in the Chipman Street house? No.

Price objects and Lavit starts shouting. Judge ruled in favor of defense, no further questions of that witness. Lengthy sidebar and the witness is gone. The sidebar discussion became loud enough the Judge excused jury while they argued.

Coleman now taken out of court!

Looks like Blackwood called a recess?

Coleman back in.

Takisha is on the stand giving testimony for Dan Crenshaw, who is now deceased.  KPD forensic unit in the fingerprint section.

There is a lot of testimony as to certification and how fingerprints are collected and compared.

He processed Channon’s 4 Runner.  He is the one who find the bank envelope that had Davidson’s print on it.

Lavit pipes up saying, ‘ wait a second, wait a second’ and we go to sidebar again.

IMO, this may have been more effective had they shown the tape of Crenshaw’s original testimony.

Davidson’s palm print is identified on the trash bag.


Also, Davidson’s print was on one of Channon’s photos from the 4 Runner.

The reading of the testimony is over.

Kileen Bible is called.  She is in a wheelchair and getting her testimony picked-up by the mic is hard.  She lived off Chipman and saw the 4 Runner.

She identifies photos of the street and the 4 Runner that was parked in front of her house that are entered.

Lavit, do you know who drove it there?  No.

Lavit, was the 4 Runner there the net morning?  No.

Keith DeBow Admin control of SWAT team.  He was called to the scene because the police were unsure of the conditions in the house.  They entered the house and found Channon in the trashcan.

They cleared the rest of the house.

He identifies photos of the trashcan that are entered.

The team eventually apprehended Davidson hiding out on Reynolds Street.

Joe Cox is up. KPD for 39 years.  Works in the crime lab.

Collected evidence at 2316 Chipman.  He photographed and videoed the scene.

He identifies photos of the scene that go into evidence.

He collected 3 trash bags, one from the kitchen, others from the utility room.

He identifies photos of the bags that are entered.

He identifies photos of the interior of the house.  This part is quite lengthy and tedious.

Many of the items photographed are Channon’s clothing and purse as well as Chris’ hat, his burnt drivers license and burnt cell phone.

He is now identifying actual evidence items taken from the house.

These items were in the 3 garbage bags mentioned earlier.

This is a bit hard to pay attention to because we’ve seen it so many times before, but I do understand this all has to lay out for this jury.

Judge just called for a 5-minute break at 5:36.

Back reviewing evidence.

Price now plays the 10-minute video Cox took at the house.  Cox narrates.

Greene for the defense.  When did you take the video?  The ninth.

From the street level you can’t really see in the house?  Yes.

Of the 158 pictures, how many do you say linked to Vanessa Coleman?  I don’t know what Vanessa Coleman did in that house.

6:13 court is called for the day and will begin again tomorrow at 9 am.

Sandy, Christian-Newsom, Richard Baumgartner

11/11/2012 Comments off


We took a real pounding from Sandy!  Happy to say, after 13 days without power – no heat or hot water – I’m finally back!

Neighbors had hooked up a generator and kindly charged my laptop battery and gave me access to their wifi so that I could communicate with my family.

Things were quieting down til we got hit by a nor’easter!

Needless to say, things are still a mess here with downed trees, limbs and branches.  The most amazing photo I saw was the Seaside Heights roller coaster had been swept off the boardwalk and was sitting in the Atlantic!

It will be a while before we totally recover, but we are moving forward.


After the Court of Criminal Appeals ordered Judge Blackwood removed from the cases of Lemaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, and George Thomas, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Gary R. Wade has appointed Senior Judge Walter C. Kurtz to oversee those cases.  We’ll have to wait and see what rulings Judge Kurtz will hand down.

In the meantime, the retrial of Vanessa Coleman moves forward, presided over by Judge Blackwood.

Jury selection took place in Jackson, about 300 miles away from Knoxville.  On Friday the jury was seated,  The jury is made up of 6 women and 6 men, five are caucasian, seven are African-American.  Alternates consist of two men and two women.

Last month, Coleman appeared at a hearing sporting a new, red hairdo.  She now has a dark, sleek do.  Seems Ted Lavit asked that a private stylist be allowed to go to the Knox County jail to soften up Coleman’s appearance and Blackwood granted the request!  Now, how bogus is that, a freakin hair stylist?

The trial begins Tuesday at 9am.

Richard Baumgartner

After deliberating for more than twenty hours, a 10-woman, two-man jury found Baumgartner guilty of five of six federal charges of misprision

Prosecutors are expected to seek the maximum three-year sentence on each count.

Sentencing will be held on March 27.

With the guilty verdict, state pension officials said Baumgartner’s pension would be immediately terminated!

WBIR  – New Judge

WBIR  – Jury Seated


OMG…Judge Blackwood Recused In 3 Christian-Newsom Cases

10/25/2012 8 comments

Holy good god!!!

Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals in Knoxville has recused Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood!!!!

Thursday, the court found that the trial court had erred in denying the motion for recusal, saying there was a “reasonable basis” for questioning Judge Blackwood impartiality in the case.
Thank you God for looking after these victims and families!!!!