California beauty queen reveals how she was threatened by ex-Navy officer accused of attacking at least two women By Snejana Farberov Published: Share or comment on this article: I could've been the next victim of Christian dating site rapist: California beauty queen reveals how she was threatened by former Navy officer accused of assaulting at least two women e-mail.
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Giggling Kate enjoys a private ballet performance during her visit to the Royal Dahling, we're on Aristogram! Thomas was granted the motion and was scheduled to go on trial on August 11, Baumgartner ruled that Thomas' phone calls made from the jailhouse to his acquaintances were admissible as evidence. District Attorney Randy Nichols announced that the state would seek the death penalty for both Cobbins the first to go to trial and Coleman if convicted. Davidson was also indicted for a second robbery which was committed after the murders. The publicity against the accused led the defense to argue that a change of venue was required in order to ensure a fair trial.
The state argued that an impartial jury could be found during voir dire , and the presiding judge subsequently denied the motion as "premature". On April 16, , Eric Boyd was found guilty in Federal court of being an accessory to a fatal carjacking and for failing to report the location of a known fugitive. On August 25, , Letalvis D.
Cobbins was found guilty of the murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. Cobbins faced the possibility of the death penalty because he was convicted of first degree felony murder in the case of Christian. He was found guilty of facilitation of murder for Newsom but he was acquitted of Newsom's rape. The jurors worked about 10 hours Monday and on Tuesday morning before reaching a verdict. On October 28, , Lemaricus Devall Davidson was found guilty. The jurors unanimously found Davidson should receive the death penalty on the four called capital charges, two first degree felony murder charges and the two premeditated first degree murders of Christian and Newsom.
This sentence is to be served consecutively to the death penalties, while the death sentences are also consecutive.
On December 8, , George Thomas was found guilty on multiple counts. On May 13, , Coleman was acquitted of first degree murder but found guilty on lesser charges. The defendants in the state cases excluding Eric Boyd, who was convicted at the federal level all appealed their convictions. During this time, the sentencing judge, Richard Baumgartner, one of Knox County's three Criminal Court judges, was forced to resign from the bench in March He had admitted to being addicted to drugs and to purchasing prescription pain medication from convicts, and was accused by a woman of trading legal favors for sex during breaks in court sessions.
Baumgartner was later disbarred as a direct result of his actions. On December 1, , seven weeks after Baumgartner's disbarment became final, Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood granted new trials to all four state defendants after a TBI investigation outlined evidence that Baumgartner was likely impaired while presiding over those trials. Separately, Blackwood denied a change of venue, but allowed for potential jurors to be brought in from outside Knox County.
The decision to hold retrials for Cobbins, Davidson, and Thomas the decision to retry Coleman was not appealed was affirmed in a split decision by the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals on April In May , however, the Tennessee Supreme Court overturned Blackwood's ruling ordering new trials for Cobbins, Davidson, and Thomas, commenting that its "order should not be construed as condoning or excusing" Baumgartner's misconduct. In June , prosecutors filed to have Judge Blackwood recused from the case after he invoked the "13th juror rule" to reverse himself and decline to grant new trials for Cobbins and Davidson the motion for recusal also applies to Thomas's case, although he is still set to have a retrial.
The motion cites Blackwood's emotional involvement in the case as potentially interfering with a fair trial. Facing the same charges as in her first trial, on November 20, , Vanessa Coleman was convicted by a jury of facilitation of aggravated kidnapping, facilitation of rape, and the facilitation of the murder of Channon Christian, but not of Christopher Newsom. These convictions were on lesser charges than her initial convictions.
While the retrial was conducted in Knoxville, the jury for the retrial was selected from Jackson, Tennessee , more than miles west of Knoxville. Blackwood sentenced Coleman to 35 years in prison on February 1, , minus credit for time already served. Coleman will be eligible for parole in early On May 17, , the retrial of George Thomas with a jury empaneled in Nashville ended in a verdict of guilty on all counts with a lesser charge on count He was re-sentenced to life in prison by the jury, but with the possibility of parole after 51 years.
On June 4, , Judge Kurtz  sentenced George Thomas to two life sentences consecutive for the murders and 25 years multiple concurrent for the rapes.
In January , Thomas appealed to the United States Supreme Court  but the court did not agree to hear the case. Vanessa Coleman, the only female charged and convicted in the crimes, is held at the Tennessee Prison for Women in Nashville. Serving a sentence of 35 years, Coleman was eligible for parole in and her sentence is to end no later than In August the families of the victims were notified that with good behavior, Coleman's sentence is being reduced by 16 days per month of incarceration, making her eligible for parole consideration in October The parole hearing was rescheduled from October to December.
After the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex in Pikeville opened in , they were transferred to that facility. Cobbins is serving a life sentence without parole, and Thomas is serving years to life. Eric Boyd, who was convicted on federal charges, is serving his sentence of 18 years at Federal Correctional Institution, Beckley , a medium-security prison near Beaver , West Virginia.
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Boyd will be eligible for release in the year According to the Associated Press, some bloggers and media critics claimed that the story was ignored by the national media because the victims were white while all five of the suspects were black. Most news reports came from local media and online news sites. The president of Criminal Justice Journalists, an association of crime, court, and prison writers, editors, and producers, said:. I can't say that this one would have had any more coverage if five whites had been accused of doing these things to two blacks, absent a blatant racial motive Police Chief Sterling Owen IV said that there was no indication the crimes were racially motivated and that the murders and assault "appears to have been a random violent act.
So not only is there no evidence of any racial animus, there's evidence to the contrary.
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Some commentators continued to disagree, claiming that such a crime represented motives of racial hatred. To do the things they did, they would have to hate them to do that. The case attracted the attention of white supremacists. On May 27, , around 30 white supremacists led by Alex Linder rallied in downtown Knoxville in order to protest against the murders.
Murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom - Wikipedia
They were met by counter-protesters, many of whom were dressed as clowns parodying the Ku Klux Klan. After the protest, columnist Leonard Pitts dismissed claims that the crime was under-reported. He cited a report by the Berkeley Media Studies Group which found that "Blacks and Latinos are underrepresented in news media as victims of crime and significantly overrepresented as perpetrators.
I have four words for them and any other white Americans who feel themselves similarly victimized.
Cry me a river. It doesn't make me uncomfortable speaking out against this crime because it was African-Americans [allegedly] committing a crime against Caucasians It's not a black-and-white issue. It's a right-and-wrong issue.
Murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom
Those who committed this crime were unjust in doing so and they should pay the penalty. The house at Chipman Street was bought by Waste Connections , a national garbage collection company that had a depot on the next lot. Waste Connections demolished the house in October , with a spokesperson stating that the company's intent is to replace the house with a memorial dedicated to Newsom and Christian.
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On April 4, , it was reported that, on March 20, , eleven years after the conclusion of the original litigation, trials, and verdicts, a Knox County grand jury had returned a thirty-six count indictment charging Eric DeWayne Boyd with first-degree felony murder, first-degree premeditated murder, especially aggravated robbery, especially aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated rape in the murders. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
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