In 2007, two families became forever linked by a heinous crime. The families of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom. They found justice in a court room.
They found more in a Nashville legislative chamber. The house approved two bills that will print their children's names in Tennessee law books.
Seven years ago, 4 people carjacked, brutally beat and raped, then murdered Channon Christian and Chris Newsom. Now finally some relief from lawmakers. Deena Christian says, "It was such a horrific crime and with these passing we know our kids will never be forgotten and something good will come out of it."
She's talking about the Channon Christian Act. Channon's parents, Deena and Gary, fought hard to pass the bill which prevents attorneys from bringing up any allegations of a victim's past that aren't related to the case and Thursday it passed. During the murder trial, a defense attorney tried to say Channon and Chris knew their killers beforehand and smoked marijuana. Deena Christian says, "As you know, they lied about our daughter and now no one will have to go through that again."
Gary Christian says, "The way the votes turned out is indicative of how the people in the state of Tennessee feels."
Another success Thursday on the house floor, the Chris Newsom bill passed. It eliminates the judge's need to sign a jury verdict after jurors deliver a unanimous verdict which is the so called 13th juror rule. This is what caused the Christians and Newsoms to endure several re-trials after Judge Baumgartner got in trouble for taking prescription pills. Mary Newsom says, "We were very excited about it. We've worked hard for it. The main purpose is to help someone else in case this happens to another family."
Hugh Newsom says, "They gave us a standing ovation and many of our area representatives came by and shook our hand."
Now those two bills go to Governor Haslam's desk for his signature.
The governor says he supports both measures.