David brings us updates on two events related to Vanessa Coleman's second trial. Sprocket
Vanessa Coleman Denied Parole
David In Tennessee
On Wednesday, December 10, 2014, Vanessa Coleman was denied parole for Facilitation of the rape-murder of Channon Christian. The torture-murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom took place on the night of January 6-7, 2007. Coleman was convicted a second time in a retrial on November 20, 2012. Judge Blackwood sentenced her to 35 years in prison on February 1, 2013.
Why was she up for parole so soon? Vanessa Coleman was convicted of facilitation, not murder. Since she was arrested in January 2007 and remained in custody, Coleman is credited with nearly eight years in prison and is eligible for parole under Tennessee law.
In a unanimous vote after a hearing lasting 90 minutes, five members of the panel rejected the application. One member was absent. Another was too new to the panel to vote.
Vanessa Coleman's defense at both trials was she was afraid of the others, one of whom was her boyfriend, and was herself a prisoner in the death house.
A major question throughout is why Coleman did not free Christian and flee on two occasions when she was alone with her inside ringleader Lemaricus Davidson's house. When questioned at the hearing, Coleman said; "I'm currently in the appeal process, and I have spoken to my lawyer, and it was wise for me not to speak."
Coleman's appeal was rejected by the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals a few days before and the Tennessee Supreme Court is unlikely to even look at the case after two trials.
The main evidence against Coleman was a diary entry a few days after Christian and Newsom were tortured, raped (both of them), and murdered. Coleman wrote of her "adventure in the Big T.N," and how much "she loved her life." When questioned about this at the hearing, Coleman answered "That statement had nothing to do with the case, sir, and that's all I can say."
Davidson was sentenced to death. His brother and Coleman's boyfriend, Letalvis Cobbins, was sentenced to life without parole. Cobbins' friend, George Thomas was sentenced to life with possible parole after 50 years.
Here is a report from WATE, Knoxville's ABC affiliate.