Thomas trial ahead of schedule, jurors look inside house

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The yellow rope stretched from the wall behind the jurors to the judge. From there it was pulled to the left, another 28 feet to the fifth row in the Gallery.

The entire box was 800 square feet.

This was the Chipman street house, laid out in front of jurors in the Courtroom. It took up just over half of the room.

The State is trying to show jurors just how small this house was and how, with no doors inside, it would be impossible to not hear or see what was happening inside.

If this was the real house the jurors would be as close to the judge as George Thomas must have been to the room Channon Christian was held in. Maybe even Christian herself.

Channon was tortured in that house all weekend before being murdered and shoved into a trashcan.

George Thomas says he was there when it happened but didn't pay attention to it, any of it.

The state is trying to prove that involvment was unavoidable and that George Thomas had every opportunity to leave or call the police.

The trial will continue on Wednesday at 9 am.

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Mary Newsom, Chris' mother, was the first person to take the stand as George Thomas' retrial entered its second day. She began by telling jurors that her son went golfing before picking up Channon Christian on the night of the carjacking that led to their murder.

"It was what he liked to do," she said.

Click here to watch the trial live

Mary Newsom was also shown several pictures of things found at the house on Chipman. She was also given a bag of her son's clothes as well as his $136 shoes.

When asked what she thought of the shoes, Newsom rolled her eyes and replied, "(i)t was his money," eliciting a laugh from the jury. The defense declined to cross examine her.

On Monday, the state began presenting its case, establishing a timeline for the crime. Key witnesses testified, beginning with friends who first noticed the couple was missing. Next, the jury heard from witnesses who said they saw Channon's car near Chipman street.

Through it all, there was little mention of George Thomas. The defense wasted no time reminding everyone no evidence has been presented connecting him to the car or the crime scene.

There is one major change this time. The jury will not see what Chris and Channon looked like before they disappeared. Channon's dad is concerned that may change the outcome. "How can we have a murder trial of this significance and not have the jury see what they look like as normal people?" said Gary Christian.

In 2009, a jury convicted Thomas on 38 charges, including murder, in connection with the carjacking, torture, and killing of Christian and Newsom. He was granted a retrial last year after the revelation of former Judge Richard Baumgartner's pill addiction.

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