Jury chosen, opening statements in Christian-Newsom murder accessory trial

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- After nearly three full days of jury selection, witnesses are set to begin testifying tomorrow in Eric DeWayne Boyd's trial on charges that he hid one of the murder suspects in the deadly carjacking of a young Knox County couple.

It's a day the victims' families have been waiting for. Still, it has not been easy for them to publicly hear the tales of the brutal murders that led to the accessory charges in this case.

More than two dozen relatives and friends of the victims came to court today. Most of them were wearing buttons with photos of Channon Christian, 21, and Christopher Newsom, 23.

Eric Boyd has no friends or relatives inside as he faces the jurors who will decide his fate.

Jurors were questioned for much of the last two days about potential racial bias.

In the end, there is only one African-American in the jury box, and opening statements were underway by mid-afternoon.

The prosecutor warned the jury about the graphic nature of the crimes allegedly committed by the four murder suspects -- not by Boyd.

The prosecutor described Christopher Newsom's death, saying the murder suspects tied him up, gagged him, wrapped him in cloth, shot him in the back and neck, and then delivered a kill shot to his head. He says Newsom's body was doused with gas, and set on fire.

Prosecutors say that at the same time, Channon Christian was being gang-raped for hours, ultimately she died sometime Sunday evening.

In a much shorter opening statement, Boyd's attorney told the jury his client is not guilty. Reminding jurors not to let their emotions about the horrible alleged crimes prevent them from making a decision on the evidence they will hear.

Jurors will begin hearing that evidence Thursday.

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