Crimetracker: Thomas gets new trial; Cobbins & Davidson don't

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Judge Walter Kurtz has ordered another new trial for one of the men accused of the murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. George Thomas was granted a retrial on Tuesday, while the judge rejected requests from Letalvis Cobbins and LeMaricus Davidson.

They had asked the court for retrials judge in their cases, Richard Baumgartner, resigned and was disbarred because of pill abuse while he was on the bench.

While Kurtz determined he could serve as the 13th juror in Cobbins and Davidson's trials based on the transcripts of the witnesses alone, he did not believe he could do so in Thomas' case.

In November, Vanessa Coleman was retried for her role in the death of Channon Christian and found guilty on 13 of the 17 counts against her. Just like the first trial in 2007, Coleman was found not guilty for crimes connected to Channon's boyfriend, Christopher Newsom.

Last week, the judge rejected a motion by Davidson for a retrial based on a so-called prayer service that took place during his original trial.

The hearing lasted less than an hour and Davidson's attorneys only called one witness, a former juror. The defense argued that the service organized during the trial created bias among the jurors.

The juror told the court that they had asked for the service to lift their spirits. He explained that after being shown pictures of the crime, the jury was emotional and "somber." He pointed out the service was not mandatory.

He said it lasted 25 minutes and the court had a copy of the songs sung during the service. The defense contended the songs were inappropriate.

"I don't recall having a prayer," the juror said.

A heated argument between the lawyers over whether a blog post by a juror, referencing bible readings during deliberations is proof of anything was struck down by the judge.


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