Sunday, October 4, 2009

Jury Seated in Second Christian-Newsom Torture-Murder Trial

Guest Entry from David in Tennessee!
T&T is honored to have our regular contributor, David from Tennessee bring us the latest on the Christian-Newsom case.

In Knoxville, Tennessee, on the night of January 6, 2007, Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom were abducted from an apartment house parking lot. They were taken to a house three and a half miles away and raped, tortured, and murdered.

Chris Newsom was raped and then led blindfolded, gagged, and barefoot to a set of railroad tracks. He was then shot dead and his body set on fire.

Channon Christian death came after hours of sexual torture. She suffered horrific injuries and was not only raped, but savaged with an object according to the medical examiner. Bleach was poured down her throat. She was "hog-tied" and placed inside a large garbage can. Christian died slowly of suffocation.

The first suspect to be tried, Latalvis Cobbins, was found guilty on August 25 and sentenced to life in prison without parole. A jury was seated on Friday, October 2, for the trial of Lemaricus Davidson, Cobbins' half-brother, the alleged ringleader.

The jury is composed of seven women and five men. One of the men is black, the rest are white. Three extra alternates have been chosen for a total of six. The extra alternates were picked because the trial will not start until October 19. The delay is because of special DNA testing and the absence of the medical examiner, Dr. Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan, who is on vacation. The ME was the best prosecution witness in the first trial.

Davidson is facing the death penalty. He had demanded the right to a Knox County jury despite Judge Richard Baumgartner asking him to reconsider due to the outrage in the community over the most heinous crime in the area in memory.

During voir dire, Davidson's attorneys gave a few clues to their trial strategy. It is apparent they are not conceding anything. They told prospective jurors that Davidson sells and uses drugs. One of his attorneys admitted that Davidson's semen was on Channon but says jurors should "wait and hear all the evidence."

The defense attorneys say that just because Channon's body was in Davidson's house doesn't make him guilty. The gist of the defense seems to be that Davidson is the victim of his freeloading brother (Cobbins) and his pals. Davidson's attorneys were appointed by the court and are two of the best in Knoxville. They have an expensive jury consultant who usually works in white-collar cases. The jury consultant is being paid by Tennessee taxpayers.

During his police interrogation, Davidson said his DNA would not be on Channon Christian. It was. A lot of it. He also claimed to be out selling drugs while the murders were taking place.
Davidson's fingerprints were found on a bank envelope in Channon Christian's SUV and run through the database. This sent the police to Davidson's house. They found her body in a garbage can. Davidson's prints were also found on Christian's pay stub, her Blockbuster rental card, and on the trash bags that held her body. This is in addition to the DNA evidence.

The jurors have been instructed not to read or watch anything about the trial over the next two weeks. The night before the trial starts, they will be sequestered in a Knoxville hotel.

The information on the voir dire came from twitter updates during Friday's jury selection by Jamie Satterfield, the reporter for the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

David From Tennessee


ritanita said...

David from Tennessee,

Thanks for the coverage of this trial. The facts are so horrendous, they send a chill up my spine. I can't begin to imagine the minds of those who commit such atrocities on their fellow human beings.

CaliGirl9 said...

Usually I think I'd have no problem being on a jury for a trial such as this. I can stomach most anything ...

I don't think I could sit through this one. I'd be in tears every day and that would not bode well for the defendant.

Thanks David, for covering this. We must not forget Christopher and Channon, the real victims. The defendants are predators of the highest order, putting Great White Sharks to shame. There is no place on this earth for the murderers of those two young people.

Anonymous said...

While viewing the medical examiner's testimony on live stream during the Cobbins trial, I cried, and I am a man of the old school. I'm afraid this upcoming trial is going to be even worse.

Speaking of his attorneys claim that Davidson was the victim of his freeloading brother and pals, Davidson seems to have never held a job in his life. He was selling drugs and actually robbed a Pizza Hut the day after the murders.

Davidson pled guilty to carjacking in 2001 and was sentenced to a 9 year term. He was released after only 5 years and pulled this horrific crime 5 months later.

David From TN

donchais said...

What a sad, sad case.

Thanks David.

katfish said...

David thanks for keeping us up to speed on this case.
Will you be attending the trial?

Anonymous said...


I don't live near Knoxville, although I have been there many times and know the area. I plan to watch as much of the live stream of the trial as I can and follow the press accounts. The articles I write are my own interpretation.

David From TN

katfish said...

You do a great job David, thanks!