New DNA in Christian - Newsom murders belongs to TBI lab tech

New DNA in Christian - Newsom murders belongs to TBI lab tech

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LeMaricus Davidson LeMaricus Davidson

By HANA KIM
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- As individual questioning continued Thursday for the jury pool of LeMaricus Davidson, prosecutors told the judge unknown DNA found on evidence in the murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom has been matched to a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation lab technician. 

Before selection started Thursday, the court discussed the status of that new evidence, a strip of white cloth with Christian's blood on it. It was found in a garbage bag in the Chipman Street house where Christian's body was found.

The defense wouldn't say on the record how the DNA match could impact the case.

Davidson's attorneys say the TBI report and raw data of the evidence has been sent to their expert. It will be tested in Tennessee by their expert but it's not done yet. It need to be scheduled in a lab.

Once the defense has the preliminary information, the team will decide if more testing needs to be done.  If so, the defense says that could take weeks.

When Judge Richard Baumgartner heard in court that the evidence hadn't been tested, he became agitated. He pressured the attorneys to get a move on the testing reminding them that the trial was just around the corner.

Meanwhile the disclosure of the TBI lab tech raises the question will the defense use allegations of evidence contamination to their benefit?

Late Thursday afternoon TBI spokesperson Kristin Helm said there is absolutely no contaminatioin of evidence. She says incidents like this happens, but it's very rare. The bureau also wouldn't call it a mistake.

TBI said its technicians can differentiate clearly between Christian's DNA and the skin cell of the lab tech. Helm says there is no significance that a lab tech's DNA got on the cloth and that it shouldn't impact the case.

Judge Baumgartner hasn't made a decision yet about delaying the trial.

Eleven people were kept in the jury pool Thursday and 19 were dismissed.

Two people were dismissed before questioning started due to scheduling conflicts.

Questioning the jury pool - round one

The first person questioned, a financier, was kept in the pool.

A college student was dismissed because she came to the trial for Davidson's half-brother, Letalvis Cobbins. He was convicted and sentenced to life without parole for his part in the crimes.

The third person made the cut after defense attorney Doug Trant asked if he's dealt with people who are bi-polar in his work at Lakeshore Mental Health Institute and if he would factor that into a defendant's background.

A man who's out of work was dismissed after he said all murderers should get the death penalty.

The fifth person, a woman, was kept in the pool. She said everyone was talking about this case.

Questioning the jury pool - round two

Three people were dismissed without being questioned.

A man who's son is a Knoxville police officer was also dismissed.


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