Saturday, May 11, 2013

Christian-Newsom Torture-Murder Case: George Thomas Retrial Set to Begin


On Friday, May 10th, sixteen jurors were selected for the retrial of George Thomas for his part in the torture-murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom.

Judge Walter Kurtz announced that 12 will be chosen by lot to deliberate at trial's end.

Back in 2009, I wrote an account of the crime for T&T.

The jury panel is made up of three white women, five black women, and eight white men.  The trial is set to begin Monday, May 13th.

The jurors will travel by bus from Nashville to Knoxville over the weekend. They will be sequestered in a Knoxville hotel and be transported together to court. This has been the procedure in the previous trials in this case.

George Thomas was convicted on all counts in 2009, but was granted a new trial because the judge in his first trial, Richard Baumgartner, was forced from the bench and is now serving a six-month sentence in federal prison.

The lone female defendant, Vanessa Coleman, was convicted of the facilitation of Channon Christian's rape and murder for the second time last November. The other two defendants, Letalvis Cobbins and Lemaricus Davidson, were denied new trials due to extensive DNA evidence against them.

There was no DNA linking Thomas to the crimes, but he admitted to being present in the Chipman Street house the entire time. Judge Kurtz decided he could not act as 13th juror without seeing the testimony and ordered a retrial for George Thomas.

The same prosecution team of Takisha Fitgerald and Leland Price that has handled all the trials in this case will be retrying Thomas. The defense team is led by Tom Lillard, with co-counsel is Stephen Ross Johnson. They were appointed by Judge Richard Baumgartner and represented Thomas in his first trial.

I will be traveling to Knoxville on Sunday to cover the first two days of the trial.
David in TN


Knox News Jury Story


Liz said...

Thanks David - it seems the families nightmares are forever - impossible to understand the horror of this one.