Christian-Newsom Slayings: State to seek death for Davidson, Thomas

By: Brian Gregory, Rob Pratt
By: Brian Gregory, Rob Pratt

KNOXVILLE, Tenn (WVLT) Although no official papers have been filed, Knox County District Attorney General Randy Nichols left little doubt today about whether or not he'll seek the death penalty against the remaining two charged in the brutal slayings of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom.

"We intent to put Mr. (Lemaricus) Davidson and Mr. (George) Thomas to death in this case," Nichols told the judge in a hearing for Davidson that just wrapped up in Knox County Court.

Official death penalty notices should be filed by the end of the week, according to WVLT courthouse reporter Rob Pratt.

Letalviusa Cobbins was the first in court this morning. Bruce Poston has agreed to be co-counsel for Cobbins in his case. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against him.

His hearing today was quickly reset until March 7, 2008. Prosecutors say they want to get a DNA sample from Cobbins to match against hairs found on one of the victim's body. His trial date is set for next year.

A hearing set for Davidson has also been reset to March 7th.

Vanessa Coleman, the fourth suspect and only woman charged in the murders, was not scheduled to be in court today. She also faces the death penalty.

All four are charged in a 50+ count indictment describing the brutal rape and murder of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom in January of 2007, inside a home on Chipman Street in Knoxville. The two had been headed to a party with friends when they were carjacked.

A man, Eric Dewayne Boyd also faces federal charges for allegedly sheltering Davidson after the murders. Although his trial will be first, he does not face murder charges and prosecutors have not said he was involved in the killings.

Stay connected to Volunteer TV News and for continued coverage of this developing news story.

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