Continuance denied in 1st Christian - Newsom murders trial

Continuance denied in 1st Christian - Newsom murders trial

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Letalvis Cobbins Letalvis Cobbins
George Thomas George Thomas

By HANA KIM
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- The judge denied a motion Friday for a continuance for Letalvis Cobbins, one of the suspects in the 2007 carjacking, rapes and murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom.

Cobbins' attorneys said none of the other three defendants has had so many issues with changes of attorney as well as funding.

Cobbins will be tried by a jury brought from Davidson County, where Nashville is the county seat. 

However, his trial will be conducted in Knoxville. It's scheduled to start on Wednesday, August 12.

During a hearing Friday, a prosecutor revealed that while Cobbins has been jailed, he's talked with family members about being part of a gang called the Crips. The gang, which is primarily African-American, was founded in Los Angeles in 1971.

Cobbins' defense tried to ban these conversations, arguing that they're irrelevant to this case.

Judge Richard Baumgartner hasn't ruled yet on whether the conversations will be allowed as evidence in the trial.

However, Judge Baumgartner sided with the state Friday by allowing several more graphic photos of Christian and Newsom into evidence.

Knox County Medical Examiner Dr. Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan was called to the stand to testify on evidence of some of Newsom's injuries. He was found bound, shot and burned.

"It shows the extent of the damage and the burns to the body, and it also demonstrates the bondage and confirms the bondage to the ankles and particularly the wrists," Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan told the court.

The medical examiner also pointed out that Newsom's injuries were so severe they were most likely committed by more than one person.

Also Friday, Judge Baumgartner denied a change of venue motion by another defendant, George Thomas.

Instead, the jury for Thomas' trial will also be brought in from outside Knox County.


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