Families fed up with legal bickering in Christian - Newsom case

Families fed up with legal bickering in Christian - Newsom case

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By HANA KIM
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- Families of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom, a couple who was carjacked, raped and killed in 2007, say they're fed up with the legal bickering as the case was back in court Friday.

The four suspects who are charged are Letalvis Cobbins, Lemaricus Davidson, George Thomas and Vanessa Coleman.

The court heard again Friday about the continuing battle by the defense teams trying to bar evidence from the home on Chipman Street where Channon Christian's body was found by police in a trash can.

A defense attorney went after the lead Knoxville police Detective Todd Childress.

The defense strategy is simple. Attorneys say all the evidence should be thrown out and not entered in the upcoming trial because the investigator failed to get a signature on a search warrant, a technical and simple mistake that could jeopardize the prosecution's case.

The victims' families spoke Friday for the first time on this issue.

"The legal process has gotten out of hand. That's the battle that I'm going to deal with when I get this one won," says Channon's father, Gary Christian.

"We're trying to come up with what is the point of all of this. We don't understand even what the point is with all the bickering back and forth," says Christopher's mother, Mary Newsom.

Also on Friday, Judge Richard Baumgartner ruled that deputies in court during proceedings against the four suspects accused of the murders have been ordered to start wearing street clothes.

Judge Richard Baumgartner said this is so court won't look like "Army camp."

Deputies are sent as extra security anytime the racially charged cases are in court. The suspects are all black. The victims were white.

Judge Baumgartner also said Friday he'll allow members the Christian and Newsom families to wear pins with photos of the victims.

The defense had filed a motion earlier seeking to bar the pins, but the judge says it's appropriate, as long as the families don't wear them while testifying on the stand.

The suspects are charged with killing the couple after carjacking and raping them in January 2007.

All four suspects were in court Friday on several motions filed in the case.

The attorneys for Letalvis Cobbins also filed a new motion Friday seeking to give Vanessa Coleman immunity so she can testify in Cobbins' case.

Attorneys also added that Coleman's charges should be dismissed since she was subpoened to testify in front of a grand jury in federal court.   There's been no decision yet on the motion. Discussion will continue next week.

Meanwhile other issues brought up to the judge include the defense asking judge Richard Baumgartner to lessen the number of charges against the defendants calling them repetitive.

Also Lemaricus Davidson's attorney also recently filing a motion for the judge to consider the cost of the death penalty. On Friday attorneys told 6 News that it was more costly to put someone to death than jailing them for life.

All four defendants are facing the death penalty.

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