KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The families of Channon Christian, 21, and Christopher Newsom, 23, have waited more than two-and-a-half years for Tuesday -- the day they got to hear the jury say Letalvis Cobbins is guilty of crimes against the young couple.
Both families say the wait has been long, but it was worth it.
Gary Christian, Channon's Christian's father, pumped his fist, partly fulfilling the promise he made to fight for his daughter years ago.
Gary Christian says, "I'm getting there slowly but surely, honey."
"One down, three to go," Deena Christian, Channon's mother, says.
That one is Letalvis Cobbins. The other three are Lemaricas Davidson, George Thomas and Vanessa Coleman. Testimony during Cobbins' trial suggest Eric Boyd, a convicted accessory after the fact, may have had a roll in the killings, too.
"Cobbins ain't no innocent little chicken," Gary Christian says.
Cobbins seemed to roll his eyes as the jury ruled on his role in the deaths of Christian and Newsom. They were carjacked, raped, and murdered in 2007.
"Our children paid a terrible price in pain, anguish," Chris Newsom's father, Hugh Newsom, says.
The jury found Cobbins guilty on 33 of 38 counts, including the first degree murder of Channon Christian and seven counts of felony murder in her death.
Jurors also said Cobbins facilitated Chris Newsom's death.
"This happened while they were together," Deena Christian says. "A guilty for one was a guilty for both."
"He was found guilty of numerous offenses," Hugh Newsom says. "I guess I can't complain about that."
After years of waiting and dozens of trips to court, the Christians no longer call the district attorneys just prosecutors. They're the family's heroes.
"We've had our ups and downs with the District Attorney's Office," Gary Christian says, "but they did their job and they did it diligently."
Cobbins was the first of four suspects to stand trial. The other three are still waiting for their turn to stand before the jury.
"As long as they're alive. I'm going to hate them," Gary Christian says. "That's a fact."
Cobbins could die for Christian's death. It's a punishment both families want.
Gary Christian seems confident, saying, "He's gonna get death."
"I am hoping he'll get the death penatly," Chris Newsom's mother, Mary Newsom, says, "but if not, life without parole."
It's up to the jury whether Cobbins will get the death penalty, but their decision must be unanimous. One person opposed to seeing Cobbins killed for his crimes can keep him alive behind bars.
The sentencing hearing is set to start first thing Wednesday morning. You'll be able to watch it live on Volunteer TV News and on our Web channel at VolunteerTV.com.
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