UPDATE 8: Lamaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, George Thomas, Vanessa Coleman, and Eric Boyd
GEORGE THOMAS SENTENCED TO LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE FOR CHRISTIAN-NEWSOM MURDERS
excerpts of a story by Jamie Satterfield – The Knoxville News-Sentinel
There were no celebrations Thursday as a Hamilton County jury announced the fate of convicted killer George Thomas.
Instead, an air of resignation and regret-tinged relief hung in Knox County Criminal Court as the jury foreman declared the panel’s decision to spare the life of Thomas, 26, but order him to stay forever behind bars.
“There are no winners in this case,” Thomas’ defense team of Tom Dillard and Steve Johnson said in a statement.
On that, the families of slain couple Channon Christian, 21, and Christopher Newsom, 23, agreed.
“It’s acceptable,” Newsom’s father, Hugh Newsom, said of the sentence of life without parole, meted out less than two hours after the panel began deliberations. “The main objective is putting them off the street so they can never do this again.”
“We can’t help but be greedy,” Christian’s mother, Deena Christian, said of the families’ disappointment that, so far, only convicted ringleader Lemaricus Davidson has rated a death sentence for a fatal January 2007 crime spree.
After the verdict, authorities transported Thomas to the Charles Bass Correctional Complex in Nashville, said Dorinda Carter, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Correction. Bass is an intake center for new inmates, where Thomas will be evaluated perhaps over 30 to 60 days to decide where he should serve out his life sentence, Carter said.
Like Thomas, Davidson’s brother, Letalvis Cobbins, also has been sentenced to life without parole.
A fourth defendant, Vanessa Coleman, faces trial in May. A fifth suspect, Eric Boyd, is serving an 18-year prison term for hiding out Davidson after the slayings, but he remains uncharged in the couple’s deaths.
Prosecutors Takisha Fitzgerald and Leland Price faced a daunting task in Thomas’ case. Unlike in the August and October trials, respectively, of Cobbins and Davidson, they were unable to produce any direct proof of Thomas’ guilt. He conceded he was inside the Chipman Street house when the couple was kidnapped, raped and slain but denied he had a hand in any of those crimes.
Chris Newsom’s mother noted Thursday that Cobbins, who has remained close friends with Thomas while the pair were jailed pending trial, claimed Thomas accompanied Davidson and Boyd when her son was being led to his execution, and Coleman also implicated Thomas. Jurors, however, are not allowed under the rules of criminal procedure to hear one suspect’s statement against another.
“We know there’s more things that he did that the jury was not allowed to hear … so I’m a little disappointed,” she said of the sentencing decision.
I really don’t like George Thomas, and I’ll tell you why. Because even though there was no evidence showing that he was a direct participant in the rape and murder of Christopher Newsom and Channon Christian, he was well aware of what was going on, and he knew that Channon Christian was being held hostage and being raped regularly by Letalvis Cobbins, Lamaricus Davidson and Eric Boyd, and he chose to do nothing.
Not only did he choose to do nothing, according to a memorandum written by Knox County Sheriff’s Office Detective Nevil Norman, George Thomas made certain statements showing that his choice was based on a certain amount of racism (View Memo Here). Also, Two of his co-defendants, Lamaricus Davidson and Letalvis Cobbins, made statements that showed George Thomas was much more involved in this crime than prosecutors were allowed to let on during trial, due to the rules of evidence.
Anyway, that makes three assholes down, two more to go in this horrible example of man’s inhumanity to man. Next up is Vanessa Coleman, then Eric Boyd.
How Garry and Deena Christian, the parents of Channon, and Hugh and Mary Newsom, the parents of Christopher, have kept their sanity throughout this process is beyond me. Every time I write about this case, my heart bleeds for them, especially for Gary Christian, who appears to be the rock that the others have anchored themselves on.
You don’t have to be a genius to see that he loved his daughter Channon very much, and that his heart has been broken into a million pieces. Yet he stays strong for the others, and for Channon, as he listens to her get violated over and over again every time one of these animals comes up for trial. I can only hope to be half the man he is.
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- UPDATE 2: Lamaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, George Thomas, Vanessa Coleman, and Eric Boyd
- UPDATE 4: Lamaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, George Thomas, Vanessa Coleman, and Eric Boyd
- UPDATE: Lamaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, George Thomas, Vanessa Coleman, and Eric Boyd
- UPDATE 5: Lamaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, George Thomas, Vanessa Coleman, and Eric Boyd
- UPDATE 7: 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 3: Lamaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, George Thomas, Vanessa Coleman, and Eric Boyd
- Lamaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, George Thomas, Vanessa Coleman, and Eric Boyd