Monday, September 21, 2009

Jury Selection Begins in Second Christian-Newsom Torture Murder Trial

Guest Entry by David in Tennessee!

Jury selection began on Monday, September 21, in the second Christian-Newsom torture murder trial. The suspect, Lemaricus Davidson, is considered the ringleader of the four people accused. Each is being tried separately. Davidson's half-brother, Latalvis Cobbins, was convicted on August 25 and sentenced to life without parole.

Channon Christian and her boyfriend Christopher Newsom were raped, tortured, and murdered in January of 2007. Newsom was found beside a railroad track. He had been shot 3 times and his body burned. Christian was found suffocated in a garbage can in a house rented by Davidson.

A total of 285 people are to be questioned for the prospective jury in blocks of 15. On Monday, the judge and attorneys questioned 27 potential jurors and excused 16. Three jurors did not show up. Two were rescheduled and the other has not contacted the court. Judge Richard Baumgartner ordered the attorneys to speed up their questions. The judge hopes to question all 285 in two weeks. The potential jurors not excused will return for general voir dire on October 2. The trial could start on October 5.

The trial of Letalvis Cobbins was decided by a Davidson County jury. Davidson insisted on a local Knox County jury. Most of the prospective jurors have heard of the case, but the judge is allowing people to stay on the panel if they promise to judge according to the evidence presented at the trial.

Judge Baumgartner made a series of rulings on motions made by the defense. The judge ruled that ballistics and fingerprint evidence can be heard by jurors as the evidence is relevant and the science accepted as sound. The judge ruled that the defense is free to attack the evidence at Davidson's upcoming trial through the use of their own experts.

The defense effort to get the search warrant of the Chipman Street house tossed out failed. This includes the evidence of Channon Christian's body. Davidson's defense attorneys moved for Judge Baumgartner to exclude the evidence from the Chipman Street house based on an investigator's failure to sign the first page of the affidavit supporting the search warrant. The final page was correctly signed.

Davidson's fingerprints were found on a bank envelope in Christian's SUV, on her pay stub, her Blockbuster video rental card and on the trash bags that held her body. Davidson's DNA was on Channon Christian's body.

David From Tennessee


ritanita said...

Thanks for the update, Dave. I'm looking forward to your coverage of the trial.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Thanks David for this update! I too will be following your reports...


Anonymous said...

The reporter for the Knoxville News-Sentinel gave twitter updates all day concerning jury selection. She reported that suspect Davidson gave a curt nod to the panel when introduced.

He sports professorial spectacles. Davidson is the picture of cool, smiles and laughs on occasion. He pays close attention to jurors, reads questionnaires, and advises his attorneys who they should boot from the panel.

David From Tennessee