UPDATE 5: Lamaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, George Thomas, Vanessa Coleman, and Eric Boyd
SENTENCE OF LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE FOR LETALVIS COBBINS
by Duncan Mansfield, The Associated Press
The first of four defendants to be tried in the carjacking, rape and murder of a young Tennessee couple was sentenced to life in prison without parole Wednesday by the same jury that convicted him of murder.
Letalvis Cobbins, 26, had faced the possibility of two death sentences for conviction of first-degree murder and felony. He took a deep breath and then sat down after the jury announced its decision, following less than three hours of deliberation.
The jury convicted Cobbins of Lebanon, Ky., on Tuesday in the January 2007 attack on 21-year-old Channon Christian and her 23-year-old boyfriend Christopher Newsom, both of Knoxville.
Christian’s father grimaced as he listened to the sentence.
“The jury didn’t do their job. They didn’t render the verdict they should (have),” said Hugh Newsom, father of Christopher Newsom. “One consolation is he will not be on the street again.”
Earlier Wednesday, Assistant District Attorney Leland Price had tried to persuade the jury of six men and six women — brought from Nashville because of extensive pretrial publicity — that the crime “cries out for justice and the maximum punishment this state can impose.”
Defense attorney Scott Green countered that Cobbins should be sent to prison for the rest of his life, “never getting out, sitting there to rot and think (about what he has done). He has earned it.”
Christian’s parents pleaded for a death sentence for the torture their daughter suffered. Cobbins’ sisters and cousins from Memphis begged for mercy.
The victims were white and middle class, and the defendants poor and black. Some conservative Internet commentators and white supremacist agitators accused the national media of reverse discrimination by failing to give the case the same attention paid to white-on-black hate crimes.
I’m very disappointed with this jury, and my heart aches for the Christians and the Newsoms. Latalvis Cobbins should have received the death penalty, and I can’t for the life of me think of one legitimate reason the jury could have used not to give it to him. Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom were tortured, raped, defecated and urinated on, and murdered in as vicious, cruel, and inhuman a crime as I’ve ever heard of. I don’t know what else to say, I really don’t.
I think the thing about this crime that this jury forgot is the same thing that scares me so much – That if it had been my wife and I who ran across Lamaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins and George Thomas that night, the same thing would have happened to us. There not a God damned thing I could have done to stop any of it from happening. Not against three young, powerful men with guns. I would have been anally and orally raped, shot in the head, and my body would have been burned in some deserted area of town. My wife would have been ganged raped, beaten, pissed and shit on, and tortured for days, then stuffed into a garbage can so tightly that she would have ended up suffocating to death. If the jury had thought about that, and considered that Channon Christian and Chris Newsom actually lived and died through that horrible fate, they would have got this sentence right.
The bottom line is the 12 people that made up this jury failed. They failed Chris and Channon. They failed Gary and Deena Christian, Chris’s mom and dad. They failed Hugh and Mary Newsom, Channon’s folks.
“We are very, very pleased that the families in this community today got justice. Everybody that lives in this community got justice. We didn’t.”
“They took our daughter, they raped her, they murdered her and they tortured her. They didn’t just kill her. If there’s ever a case in this state that deserved the death penalty… What were they thinking?”
Deena Christian, holding a picture of her daughter Channon:
“This is what she’s supposed to look like and they took that away from me. They took that away from her brother. They took Chris away from the Newsom’s and they deserve to die for it, all five of them.”
“The jury let us down. They lied to us when they said they could consider the death penalty.
“It wasn’t the way we wanted it. The jury let us down. They let Channon and Chris down.
“I feel like we let Chris down. We told Chris we’d get them all.”
Cobbins’ three sisters and two cousins who made statements in the morning didn’t stick around to hear the verdict. This wasn’t lost on Deena Christian:
“That’s how much they’re going to take care of their brother in prison. They left the minute they got through with their little sob story. They haven’t seen him in eight years and they won’t see him again. They got paid to come down here I’m sure. They have a little family photo and off they go back to Memphis or where ever they’re from,”
Last, but not least, here’s a video of the Christians and the Newsoms outside the courthouse immediately after Letalvis Cobbins was sentencing. Needless to say, they’re not very happy.
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- UPDATE 4: Lamaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, George Thomas, Vanessa Coleman, and Eric Boyd
- UPDATE 8: Lamaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, George Thomas, Vanessa Coleman, and Eric Boyd
- UPDATE 2: Lamaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, George Thomas, Vanessa Coleman, and Eric Boyd
- UPDATE 6: Lamaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, George Thomas, Vanessa Coleman, and Eric Boyd
- UPDATE: Lamaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, George Thomas, Vanessa Coleman, and Eric Boyd
- UPDATE 7: Lamaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, George Thomas, Vanessa Coleman, and Eric Boyd
- Lamaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, George Thomas, Vanessa Coleman, and Eric Boyd
- UPDATE 3: Lamaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, George Thomas, Vanessa Coleman, and Eric Boyd