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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  • by Shari Location: Alpharetta on Nov 3, 2008 at 09:28 PM
    You can tell just looking at the pictures of Chris & Channon that they were in love and wonderful people. I recently heard about this and I too think of it daily and I can't get my mind off of it. My heart starts racing and I am soooooo very angry that something like this could have ever happened. My heart aches for the families and close friends of them both. What an absolute nightmare. I guess God is continually testing us, but this is a burden most could not bear. I have created a website for Chris & Channon (I wanted to do something) www.impactawareness.com if anyone wants to sign the guest book. I cry silent tears everywhere I go because no one's life should end like Chris & Channon's did. I do believe in my heart they went into a shut down mode right away and God was there with them with a power that overtook the evil. I pray for all of the families every single day and will until I die. Just know there are many praying for you. We didn't have to know them to love them.
  • by gene Location: milwaukee on Oct 22, 2008 at 10:02 PM
    this trial will never be fully covered by the media or anyone paper in this nation!for it fits not there own personal forthought but the silant treatment coverage like this will always be ignored by the fourth esate,no news here.
  • by Kelly Location: New Jersey on Jan 8, 2008 at 08:41 AM
    I pray for those two children every night. And for their families-who can never be the same. I pray that God will grant them some kind of peace and allow them to heal some in the knowledge that their children are beyond pain and suffering now and in His care. I can't believe it has been a year-it seems like only a few days ago I heard about this awful, brutal crime. I hope that the people who did this are punished to the maximum penalty allowed by law-but the real punishment is in the future for them-they won't even begin to suffer in this world what is in store for them in the next. Shannon and Christopher, rest easy in God's gentle hands. To their families, you are all in my prayers.
  • by chris on Jan 8, 2008 at 05:26 AM
    The more details that surface make it more and more horrible. My heart goes out to the families who will have to hear how their loved ones suffered at the hands of the ones responsible. To know what their last hours and minutes were like and the horror they suffered is going to be really hard for the families. Pray justice will be done.

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