Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Christian-Newsom Torture Murders Status Update, Lemaricus Davidson New Trial Bid

We have another guest post from T&T contributor David in Tennessee!

Judge Rejects New Trial for Lemaricus Davidson in Christian-Newsom Torture-Murder Case

On Friday, November 8, 2019, Judge Walter Kurtz turned down a bid for a new trial by Lemaricus Davidson in the January 2007 murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom.

Davidson has been considered all along as the ringleader and prime mover of the crimes.

"But Kurtz ruled Friday that killer George Thomas' claim that Davidson had no role in Newsom's death was suspect and not enough to merit either a new trial or a new sentencing hearing."

Judge Kurtz decided "the newly presented facts related to Mr. Davidson's role in the death of Christopher Newsom would not have affected the guilty verdicts in this case nor the imposition of the death penalty."

Davidson's attorneys contended Thomas' testimony at the August trial made Boyd responsible for Newsom's murder with Davidson not involved.

Judge Kurtz ruled Davidson was a central figure in the crimes with "... an active and prominent role in the commission of the crimes for which he was convicted."

In other words, the Judge considered the totality of the evidence.

Thomas had taken a secret deal to testify against Boyd. For doing so his sentence would be reduced from Life Without Parole to 50 years. He put the blame for the rape-murder of Newsom on Eric Boyd.

Kurtz didn't believe a lot of what Thomas said. Why? "The court has difficulty in crediting all of Mr. Thomas's testimony given the court's knowledge of his role in these crimes," Kurtz wrote.

A major point is that even in his putting blame on Boyd, Thomas gave still more proof of Davidson being the ringleader of the crimes.

"The court accredits Mr. Thomas's testimony that Mr. Davidson ordered the killing of Mr. Newsom, and that Boyd was the person who killed Mr. Newsom and (set his body afire)."

The full details of the crime are told in earlier articles at Trials and Tribulations.

In his 2009 trial, Davidson claimed that Christian and Newsom weren't kidnapping victims but had come to his house to buy drugs. Davidson claimed the killings happened while he was out selling drugs.

All five suspects claimed to have seen and heard nothing, either stoned, asleep, frightened, etc.

When Davidson and attorneys learned of Thomas's deal, they tried to use it to their advantage. This, despite Thomas's testimony completely refuting Davidson's assertion the couple were willing visitors, not kidnap victims.

"Prosecutor Takisha Fitzgerald argued Thomas's testimony would have 'destroyed' Davidson's defense strategy in his 2009 trial and shouldn't be used now as a basis to attack his convictions and death sentence."

The Judge ruled Thomas's testimony did nothing to absolve Davidson's guilt. Thomas's testimony has Davidson ordering Boyd to kill Newsom and told Thomas to go with him.

Taking Thomas at face value, Boyd and Thomas left the house with Newsom under orders from Davidson.

My own view is that Davidson, Boyd, and Thomas -all three- took Christopher Newsom out to be killed. This was after Newsom had undergone horrendous torture.

Judge Kurtz based his ruling on the "totality" of the evidence. Davidson's attorneys will undoubtedly appeal the ruling.

Incidentally, when Davidson was captured, he was wearing Chris Newsom's shoes. Newsom's cap's and partially burned drivers license were found in the house in which Davidson was hiding.

Eric Boyd provided the vehicle used in the kidnapping.

Here is a video report by Knoxville's ABC affiliate.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Stephanie Lazarus Case - HLN ORIGINALS, New Episode 11/3/19

Sherri Rasmussen & John Ruetten, 11/23/1985

New Show on Sherri Rasmussen Murder
New show airing on HLN Originals, November 3, 2019 at 8pm ET. As part of HLN's series DEAD WIVES CLUB, a new episode will air this Sunday on the murder of newlywed Sherri Rasmussen, murdered by Stephanie Lazarus, a trial I covered from gavel to gavel.

Journalist Matthew McGough, author of TheLazarusfiles.com, former news anchor, writer and producer Pat LaLama and I were interviewed for the episode.

Complete T&T Lazarus trial coverage.

Stephanie Lazarus, Arrested June 2009


Friday, October 18, 2019

Michael Gargiulo Penalty Phase - Jury Has Reached A Verdict

Michael Thomas Gargiulo, 2008
The day of his arrest

UPDATE 10/20: The jury recommended death for Gargiulo. Local NBC4 has the story.
The Washington Post reports Gargiulo will be formally sentenced in February 2020.

October 18, 2019
The LA Superior Court has announced a verdict has been reached in the penalty phase of the case. The verdict will be read in Dept. 106 at 1:30 p.m., Pacific Time.