Remembering Chris and Channon: 2 lives cut short by violence

By: Jim Freeman
By: Jim Freeman

Knox County (WVLT) Today marks one year.

And a family is still missing its only daughter, while another family misses its youngest son.

January 7th, 2007, is the day police believe Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom were carjacked, kidnapped, and killed while on a date together in East Knoxville.

Four people are charged with first degree murder in the case.

George Thomas, Lemaricus Davidson, Vanessa Coleman, and Letalvius Cobbins have separate trial dates set this year

The state has already filed notice to seek the death penalty against Cobbins, whose trial is scheduled to start in May.

Volunteer TV's Jim Freeman visited with Chris Newsom's mother today.

Mary Newsom says that it's the pleasant memories of Chris and Channon that keep her and her husband Hugh moving forward.

"When he was younger I called him little Joe Joe, but that was a long time ago."

It's memories like that that Mary and Hugh Newsom hold close to their hearts to help them through what's become their endless nightmare.

"You go to bed thinking about it. You wake up thinking about it. In the morning, you're thinking about it. You're thinking about it all the time. It just doesn't go away."

Little Joe Joe eventually grew into his real name, Chris.

And along the way made lots of friends.

Chris used to work for Brad Bailey as a trim carpenter and he says, "he was a wonderful person, a wonderful person."

Especially on the diamond at Halls High where baseball was his passion.

Being remembered by a plaque at his high school ball field wasn't quite how Chris envisioned his future.

Mary says, "he had a good future in front of him and that was taken away from him."

A future that seemed destined to include the love of his life, Channon Christian.

"Well, I know Chris was crazy about her, and we've heard she was crazy about him. Told his bosses, "I'm in love. I found the girl I want."

All the while giving up another love.

"And this was just a couple of months before this happened and he said mom, I've sold my motorcycle. I said I'm glad. I said why did you do that, Chris. And he said, I want a future. I just won't forget that phone call and that line."

Just as Chris's mother won't forget her little Joe Joe.

Chris's former boss and friend won't either.

Brad continues, "I named my new born child after him. His name is Ryland Christopher. And I done it just because I love Chris so much. I wanted his memory to live on."

Attempts to talk with Channon's family were unsuccessful.

Mary says it's been a long journey so far.

And there's still a long way to go.

The first trial of the four accused is still four months away.

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