Brothers Arraigned in Connection with Double Murder

By: Kim Bedford
By: Kim Bedford

Knoxville (WVLT) - Three men charged in connection with the murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom last month, appeared in a Knox County courtroom Tuesday.

Lemaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins and George Thomas all face a 40 plus count Knox County indictment.

Volunteer TV's Kim Bedford was in the courtroom, where all three appeared together for the first time.

Attorneys were appointed to all three men Tuesday morning.

Davidson and Cobbins were both arraigned and will be back in court May 17th for a status hearing.

Their attorneys all say they need more time to consult with the State and their new clients before they can set a trial date.

Lemaricus Davidson was the first to be arraigned before Judge Richard Baumgartner this morning, he faces 46 counts, including felony murder, premeditated murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated rape and theft.

The Christian and Newsom family watched closely as Letalvis Cobbins showed little emotion being arraigned on 46 counts including 16 counts of felony murder, two counts of premeditated murder, two counts of especially aggravated robbery, four counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, 20 counts of aggravated rape and two counts of theft.

George Thomas was not arraigned today because of a potential conflict with his court-appointed attorney Ralph Harwell.

"The brother of a member of the District Attorney's Office is representing this individual and is talking to him about the case," says William Crabtree, Assistant District Attorney General.

Ralph Harwell's brother, John works as a criminal investigator for Randy Nichols' office.

Assistant District Attorney General William Crabtree argues that Harwell should not represent Thomas because of the potential conflict that could arise with his brother.

"Mr. Crabtree, today, believes in this case, if the stakes are raised, if they give a death penalty notice, and if that then caused a lot of litigation, he's afraid it could cause a problem," says Ralph Harwell.

Harwell says he understands Crabtree's fear, but feels comfortable representing Thomas, even if it means helping someone who may be responsible for the deaths of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. "These people, if they've done the kinds of things the press says they have, they need as good of lawyers and as good of spokesperson they can have in this case."

Eighteen-year-old Vanessa Coleman, the fourth suspect charged, is still waiting extradition from Kentucky, a warrant has been sent to Kentucky's governor.

So, we're in the very early stages here, but one step closer to a trial.


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