Christian-Newsom Murder Trial: Why So Long Before Trial?

By: Kim Bedford
By: Kim Bedford

Knoxville (WVLT) - With the murder suspects not expected to be on trial until at least next May, many are asking why so late?

Volunteer TV’s Kim Bedford takes a look at what goes into preparing for a complex trial like this one.

There are so many details that have to be in place.

Judge Richard Baumgartner is presiding over the case and he tells us everyone on all sides was in agreement on the trial date.

He couldn't speak about the process, so we went to Judge Mary Beth Leibowitz to find out what will most-likely happen between now and next may.

"Sometimes I think it's like choreographing a ballet and making sure everybody's foot's in the right place to do it correctly,” Criminal Court Judge Mary Beth Leibowitz says precision is key for a case like the double-murder carjacking that would rarely go to trial in just a few months. "Most of the time a complex case needs a good six months to get all the information gathered together."

Information, evidence and a lot of different people involved.

"So many defendants, so much complexity to what the D.A.'s office, what the sheriff's department still has yet to do." Judge Leibowitz says calendars for anyone over the murder case will be jam-packed with meeting dates throughout the next year. "You've got to coordinate all the logistics, all the evidence, all the officers who need to testify and all the witnesses who need to testify need to be available."

She also pointed out one thing you may not have noticed, you'll never see a big case like this one take place this fall or next fall.

"You can't set a complex trial during football season because you can't get hotel rooms if a jury is sequestered,” Judge Leibowitz says.

And rushing into four separate trials can come with some major consequences.

"Undiscovered evidence or evidence that wasn't turned over or laboratory analysis that wasn't finished,” Judge Leibowitz says.

Details that the families of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom will have to painfully wait out.

"It's terribly hard because they're waiting for that day when they have their say or see justice done,” Judge Leibowitz also mentioned that selecting a jury for such a high profile case like the double murder will be a very lengthy process in itself.

But getting everything right and prepared is important on many so many different levels here.


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