Jury for Thomas trial being selected in Hamilton Co.

Jury for Thomas trial being selected in Hamilton Co.

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George Thomas George Thomas

6 News Reporter

CHATTANOOGA (WATE) -- The jury selection process for George Thomas, the third defendant to stand trial in the Christian-Newsom murders, is being done in Hamilton County. It began Monday. 

The county seat is Chattanooga and that's where Knox County court officials summoned 410 potential jurors to the courthouse Monday morning to fill out questionnaires.

The court wants to seat 15 people on the jury, 12 regular jurors and three alternates. About 20 were dismissed Monday for personal reasons.

One woman was dismissed after telling the court she has three jobs and an unemployed husband who expects home cooked meals.

Thomas chose not to come to court Monday. His friend Letalvis Cobbins, who was convicted in this case, did come to court when the jury for his trial was selected in Nashville.

One question on the jury questionnaire asks whether the person knows the race of the defendants. All four are black. The two victims were white.

Other questions ask if the potential jurors have seen reports about the case on TV or if they've ever blogged or commented about it online.

In April, Judge Richard Baumgartner ruled to allow unrestricted media coverage in the trials. All four defendants had asked the court to order media outlets to prohibit people from posting comments about stories related to the case.

Jury selection for Thomas' trial will continue on October 28, 29 and possibly on the 30th. The majority of people in Monday's jury pool will return.

Thomas could face the death penalty if he's convicted.

Jury selection will begin Tuesday in Knoxville for the second trial in the murders, that of alleged ringleader LeMaricus Davidson. His attorneys requested a jury from Knox County.

Due to the amount of publicity in this case, 900 people have been summoned to the Civic Coliseum to start the selection process with questionnaires. Officials said Davidson will be there.

Cobbins was sentenced earlier in August to life in prison without parole for his role in the slayings.

Cobbins' then girlfriend, Vanessa Coleman, is also charged in this case, but her case is currently on appeal and no date has been set for her trial.


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