Appeal claims Baumgartner impaired during trial

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Lawyers for Vanessa Coleman, the last person convicted in the Christian-Newsom torture killings, have filed a sealed motion for a new trial citing impairment by Judge Richard Baumgartner, according to sources close to Coleman's defense.

Baumgartner stepped down from the bench earlier this year after pleading guilty to official misconduct in connection with purchasing black market prescription pain pills from a felon under his supervision.

Sources say Coleman's defense team alleges Baumgartner's drug abuse caused him to be impaired during the weeks-long trial. The TBI investigative file on Baumgartner is exempt from the state's open records law.


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