Coleman GUILTY of facilitating murder, kidnapping, rape of Christian

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- After a day and a half deliberating, the Vanessa Coleman jury announces its verdict. Back to back not guilty verdicts put everyone on the edge of courtroom benches.

Coleman also escaped guilty verdicts on the most serious murder charges, knocking out possible life and death sentences.

The victims' families reacted with anger and disappointment.

Mary Newsom told Volunteer TV "we are very disappointed in what the jury decided."

"Channon and Chris both deserve justice, and justice was not served here today," said Deena Christian.

Hugh Newsom told the jury, "I hope they go back to Nashville and stay."

Coleman's parents were too upset to talk. Her defense lawyer, Ted Lavit, talked first to Volunteer TV.

"She thanked us. She was pleased. She knew that she was gonna receive some time simply because she was there," said Lavit

Legal expert Bruce Poston disected the verdict. "It's shocking but yet you can justify those verdicts," he said.

Poston, himself a defense lawyer, believes the verdict is tied to controversial state witness Daphne Sutton not facing charges.

"Giving the make of the jury and questions, I think it played a good role," he said.

So what kind of sentence does Coleman face for 17 guilty counts? 15-25 years, due in part to her clean criminal history.


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Jurors ruled that Vanessa Coleman is guilty on four counts of facilitation of first degree felony murder of Channon Christian, guilty of one count of facilitation of premeditated first degree murder of Christian, two counts of facilitation of especially aggravated rape of Christian, nine counts of facilitation of aggravated rape of Christian, and one count of facilitation of theft of property belonging to Christian.

Jurors ruled that Coleman is not guilty of any charges related to the crimes against Christopher Newsom.

None of the charges Coleman was convicted of carry the death penalty.

Judge Richard Baumgartner set Coleman's sentencing hearing for July 30, 2010, at 11 a.m.

Lemaricus Davidson is on death row, and Letalvis Cobbins and George Thomas were both convicted for their roles in the crime and sentenced to life in prison without parole.



KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The jury ruled that Vanessa Coleman is guilty of facilitation of theft of property of Channon Christian, valued at more than $10,000 but less than $60,000.



KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The jury ruled that Vanessa Coleman is guilty of facilitation of rape of Channon Christian on nine counts.



KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The jury ruled that Vanessa Coleman is guilty of two counts of facilitation of especially aggravated kidnapping of Channon Christian.


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The jury found Vanessa Coleman guilty of facilitation of first degree murder in the death of Channon Christian. So far, there have been no guilty verdicts against Coleman relating to the death of Christopher Newsom.


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Jury ruled that Vanessa Coleman is Guilty of the first degree felony murder of Channon Christian. The jury did not return a single guilty verdict relating to the murder Christopher Newsom.



KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The jury hearing the Vanessa Coleman trial has reached a verdict, a source close to the criminal court proceedings tells Volunteer TV News.

The jury is expected to announce the verdict after lunch.


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Jury deliberations continue today in Vanessa Coleman's double murder trial. Coleman is the only woman charged with the January 2007 carjacking, kidnapping, rape and murder of Channon Christian, 21, and Christopher Newsom, 23. She faces the death penalty.

Volunteer TV's Mario Boone is at the courthouse, and will be providing up-to-the-minute courtroom information on, just follow @WVLT.

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  • by Ian Location: Northern England on May 28, 2010 at 12:24 PM
    Daphne Sutton let one of the rapists stay with her after the crimes, and drove him around. Eric Boyd got 18 years for providing them with a car.
  • by wu Location: Bellaire, Texas on May 25, 2010 at 02:55 PM
    Daphne Sutton was not charged as an accomplice because she wasn't an accomplice. She did not know that Channon Christian was in the house when she visited during the crime spree. Coleman, on the other hand, must have known that Christian was being raped, etc.
  • by Ian Location: Northern England on May 25, 2010 at 07:45 AM
    At first Vanessa Coleman was not charged, but interviewed as a witness. She gave a lot of information to the police, before they suddenly arrested her as an acomplice. I don't think she is guilty of murder, but she did facilitate the rape and torture of Channon Christian. Daphne Sutton, a girlfriend of one of the rapists, actually called at the house and was given some of Channon's jewellery, while the crime was going on. Why has Sutton not been charged as an acomplice? Perhaps because she is a glamorous white woman, and her father is a senior police officer.
  • by Robert on May 14, 2010 at 07:55 PM
    A lawyer commentator said that maybe this jury was hung up on D. Sutton, what for? None of these cretins said she was involved in any way. Just because Davidson was getting rid of Channon's cloths and gave a bag to her? She called and told him she did not want used cloths, how does anybody get that she's guilty of murder from that? I think folks are just mad because she had anything to do with davidson Just because her uncle is a cop does not mean he can pull strings to keep her from being charged, that's silly. Knoxville is not a tiny little spec on some map. Unless you think she is the ringleader and all she would have to do snap her fingers and this pond scum would jump, your just wishful thinking. Sometimes woman do stupid things when they think they like or love somebody but it seems the only people who think she has some deep involvement are folks who were not there, the "things" that were there have said she was not there very long. There's something wrong with Nashville juries.
  • by Helen Location: Georgia on May 14, 2010 at 12:24 PM
    This bi... was there, at least heard the screams and did do nothing. May be she did do something, may be she even participated in the crimes, especially after her boyfriend Cobbins had raped Channon, she must have hated Channon. I hope somebody rape her in jail, the way she let it happen to Channon. Shame on this justice system!!
  • by Al Location: Knoxville on May 14, 2010 at 03:12 AM
    I just have a short comment. Why was the Chipman St house allowed to be sold and torn down? That was evidence, and would have been extremely valuable in this trial. Instead of merely being shown photos and told about the house, this jury could have been taken there and esperienced how small it was and how sound would travel. And how Coleman would have to have been involved when they two young people were tortured, raped, and moved around in the house.
  • by J.R. Location: Catoosa Mountain, TN on May 13, 2010 at 06:42 PM
    Words cannot express my deepest sympathy for the family of Shannon and Chris. There is no justice in our world. The courts, the lawyers, are all crooks, theifs and lyers... Money rules and nothing else. There is no punishment too good for the dogs that committed these crimes... Send them all to Iraq and maybe they will get justice...
  • by lurker Location: East TN on May 13, 2010 at 06:25 PM
    The state just didn't have much evidence on this one. I know the families are upset but the jury did their job and convicted despite the lack of evidence presented. I feel sorry for the families but I don't think they should be blaming the jury. The people who did the crimes are the ones to blame. I'm a lifelong East Tennessean and if an impartial jury could've been found here the verdicts would've likely been the same because the state simply did not have the evidence needed for more. I wish they did but they don't.
  • by VonRoyce Location: Tazewell on May 13, 2010 at 05:18 PM
    This is a seriously wrong,because Ms. Coleman is a woman,an african american,and seen as a lesser threat!This woman if she can be called that I don't think she even qualifies as a human after her actions. Involving her self with the other animals she conspired with.To let this person go is not justice for those two kids!After this being a tennessee resident all my life the justice system is a crock in this state!If those were my kids I'd deal out my own justice with the barrel of my shotgun,and that is what needed to be done with them all in this case.Ifeel so bad for those parents," I hope that the good lord will deal with those four real soon!!!!!!"
  • by MVS95 Location: Knoxville on May 13, 2010 at 04:47 PM
    As a MVS (murder victim Survivor) and a member of the East Tennessee Victims Rights Task Force, I am disgusted and disapointed in the overall actions of the jury. Coleman could have called 911 on several occasions and saved Channon's life. SHE CHOSE NOT TO!! By ignoring the evil going on in that house, she willingly became part of that evil. A purple ribbon stands for the fight for crime victims rights. It also shows support and compassion for victims of violent crime and their loved ones. On behalf of the East Tennessee Victims Rights Task Force, on July 31, the sentencing hearing, please wear a purple ribbon to show support and compassion for the Christian and Newsom families. Thank you.
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