Defense asks for new DNA testing in Davidson trial

Defense asks for new DNA testing in Davidson trial

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By HANA KIM
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- As individual questioning continued Monday for the jury in the LeMaricus Davidson trial, the defense has asked for more DNA testing on evidence that recently came under the microscope.

The defense predicted the testing called Y-STR, that may be approved for panties belonging to murder victim Channon Christian, would delay the trial.

A defense expert recommended this type of testing after analyzing raw data and a report from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

STR is the normal DNA testing, but Y-STR is a more sophisticated procedure that TBI doesn't do.

The defense said only a limited number of labs across the U.S. do Y-STR testing.

The defense asked to have this testing done because sperm was detected on the panties, but it was overwhelmed by Christian's DNA so it couldn't be identified.

The defense said Y-STR testing could possibly identify the male chromosome.

Judge Richard Baumgartner asked the state why its team didn't have the panties tested in 2007 when they were found. Christian and her boyfriend, Christopher Newsom, were killed in January of that year.

He hasn't ruled yet on the request. It it's approved, the panties would be sent to a lab in Utah or Virginia.

Assistant District Attorney General Leland Price said there was too much evidence gathered so the state couldn't have every item tested.

The state also said the panties came its attention after more questions arose following the conviction and sentencing of Davidson's half-brother, Letalvis Cobbins.

Defense seeks more strikes for jury pool

The defense filed a motion Monday morning seeking an additional 10 peremptory strikes to people in the jury pool. These are strikes that allow the defense to cut jurors without question.

In capital cases, the defense can have 15 strikes by rule. However, Davidson's defense says because of the publicity in this case and extent of the 46 count indictment of their client, they want 10 more.

One of Davidson's attorneys said they recognize that the law doesn't explicitly allow the extra challenges, but they're asking the judge to make a special ruling because 15 strikes isn't  sufficient in a case of this caliber.

Questioning the jury pool - round one

The first person, a man, was kept in the pool although the defense was concerned that he saw too much media coverage of the case and wasn't being open with his answers.

A man was cut because he had worked on a house project for the Newsoms.

The next man said all murderers should get the death penalty and was quickly dismissed.

The judge told a mother of four she had too much going on to be sequestered for this trial so she was dismissed.

A woman was kept in the jury pool despite an objection from the defense. She said Davidson is probably guilty since he was arrested and charged.

The next woman was cut from the pool after she said she can't work Saturdays due to religious reasons.

A special education teacher was kept in the pool. She said she only knows a little about the case and works with emotionally disturbed children.

The eighth person was cut due to a vacation celebrating an anniversary. The judge said, have a good time.

The next person was dismissed after clarifying that she's absolutely opposed to the death penalty.

An elderly woman was cut after said she might consider the death penalty, but believes life in prison without parole is what Davidson deserves.

A man was dismissed because his son-in-law heads some local reserve officers and does business with the court.

The next man was also dismissed. He had done HVAC work for one of Davidson's defense attorneys, Doug Trant.

A woman was cut from the pool after she said Davidson seems "evil" and definitely "guilty." She claimed she could set her views aside. 

Questioning the jury pool - round two

A man was dismissed because his brother worked with Eric Boyd, who was convicted in federal court in October 2008 as accessory after the fact to carjacking, but never charged with the slayings. Boyd was sentenced to 18 years in prison.

The next man was also dismissed because he knew too much about the case.

A woman who was a robbery victim in the 1990s asked not to serve on the jury and the judge agreed.

The father of an FBI agent was kept in the pool after saying he could listen to and consider both sides.

A woman was kept for now, although the defense accused her of lying when she was questioned. She said she never joined a Facebook support group of the victims. After research, the defense said they checked and have proof she's lying. The state recommended calling her back to double check. She will be questioned further.

Selection process as a whole

Twenty-two out of 30 potential jurors were dismissed Monday. Sixty people are now in the jury pool.

The court hopes to have a 15 member jury seated by Friday.


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