George Thomas retrial underway in Knoxville

The state set the stage for jurors, talking about Channon

George Thomas

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The brutality of the murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom showed on some jurors faces as prosecutors began their case against George Thomas. His retrial started Monday with prosecutors and defense attorneys spending the morning making their opening arguments.

Later in the day, the state began presenting its case, establishing a timeline for the crime. Key witnesses testified, beginning with friends who first noticed the couple was missing. Next, the jury heard from witnesses who said they saw Channon's car near Chipman street.

Through it all, there was little mention of George Thomas. The defense wasted no time reminding everyone no evidence has been presented connecting him to the car or the crime scene.

Regardless, Chris Newsom's dad is confident the verdict will go his way. "Let's go back to the first George Thomas trial. They had the same evidence as they have now and they were able to get life without parole, who should they not get the same today?" said Hugh Newsom.

There is one major change this time. The jury will not see what Chris and Channon looked like before they disappeared. Channon's dad is concerned that may change the outcome. "How can we have a murder trial of this significance and not have the jury see what they look like as normal people?" said Gary Christian.

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The 16 jurors were selected last week in Nashville.

In 2009, a jury convicted Thomas on 38 charges, including murder, in connection with the carjacking, torture, and killing of Christian and Newsom. He was granted a retrial last year after the revelation of former Judge Richard Baumgartner's pill addiction.

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