Davidson's ex-girlfriend says he gave her clothes from murder victim

Davidson's ex-girlfriend says he gave her clothes from murder victim

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LeMaricus Davidson LeMaricus Davidson
Daphne Sutton Daphne Sutton
Prosecutor Takisha Fitzgerald held up a skirt as one of the items for Sutton to identify. Prosecutor Takisha Fitzgerald held up a skirt as one of the items for Sutton to identify.
One of the Nike Shox that belonged to Chris Newsom One of the Nike Shox that belonged to Chris Newsom

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- On the witness stand Wednesday, LeMaricus Davidson's ex-girlfriend said he gave her clothes that belonged to a victim in the Christian-Newsom murders.

Friend lived at Davidson's house before murders

The first witness called to the stand was Kayla Troutt, a friend of Davidson's ex-girlfriend, Daphne Sutton.

Troutt testified that she lived with Sutton and Davidson for about two weeks in late December 2006 at their home on Chipman Street. That's where the body of Channon Christian was found in January 2007.

Troutt said she didn't know Christian or her boyfriend, Christopher Newsom.

On cross examination, Troutt admitted to defense attorney Doug Trant that she was taking oxycontin at the time and that's why her mother had kicked her out of her house. That's when Troutt came to stay with Davidson and Sutton. 

Davidson's ex-girlfriend IDs Christian's clothes

The state next called Daphne Sutton to the stand. Sutton testified that she had an addiction to pain pills when she met and dated Davidson.

Sutton said she first met him in September or October 2006 when her kids were two and three-years-old.

She said she saw Davidson use drugs at times.

After a break, Sutton returned to the stand and said she had moved out of the Chipman Street house before the murders.

On the weekend Christian and Newsom were killed, Sutton said she had gone back to the house to get some of her things.

Sutton said she tried to get in the bathroom, she was stopped. When she went to the front door, she said she was handed a bag of clothes by Davidson. On Tuesday, Christian's mother, Deena, identified those clothes as hers.

Sutton said the Sunday night of the murders, Davidson told her he was locked out of the Chipman Street house. He stayed with her at a friend's.

On Tuesday, Sutton's mother called and told her a woman's body was found in the Chipman Street house. She said she waited until dark and dropped Davidson off along Western Avenue at his request.

Sutton also noticed Davidson was wearing shoes she hadn't seen before and said they looked a little small for him. She identified the shoes at the witness stand. Those shoes were identified Tuesday by Newsom's mother as being his. 

Sutton said she hadn't known him to wear a sweater or glasses, as he has been during this trial.

Sutton also identified a handgun she said belonged to Davidson.

She described a set of floral sheets that were given to her and said, "I didn't like them so I stuck them in a closet." Then she identified the floral cloth that was already entered into evidence.

When video was shown of the Chipman Street house, Sutton said the gas can in the kitchen was out of place and had been given to her by her father. Newsom's body was burned and experts testified Monday they detected gasoline had been used.

Sutton also said shell casings shown in the video were out of place. She said a chair in the bathroom would normally have been in the kitchen.

She said there was racist graffiti on the wall and Davidson claimed someone had broken into the house and stolen her money. Sutton said she didn't believe him because the graffiti was misspelled.

When the name of Eric Boyd came up, Sutton said, "I didn't like him. I was told he didn't like white people."

Boyd was convicted in federal court in October 2008 as accessory after the fact to the murders, but never charged with the slayings. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Sutton said she suspected Davidson was dating a couple of other women while they were together.

After another break, Sutton said she'd never seen Christian or Newsom before.

On cross examination, defense attorney Doug Trant pointed out sweaters photographed in a closet at Chipman Street. She said Davidson rarely wore sweaters.

Sutton identified a pair of Davidson's shoes and agreed with Trant that they're. "considerably larger than the Nikes" that belonged to Newsom.

Sutton said sometimes Davidson would give people drugs in exchange for their cars, but he would give the cars back later.

Sutton told Trant at one point, she saw Davidson talking with a white woman in a Toyota 4Runner in a liquor store parking lot. When prosecutor Takisha Fitzgerald re-questioned her, Sutton said it was an older model maroon 4Runner.

Channon's Christian's 4Runner was silver. As her family and friends searched for her, they found it parked on Chipman Street and investigators processed it.

Judge Richard Baumgartner and the attorneys reviewed questions from the jury, but the judge said he couldn't ask the witness about them and that's all he could say.

Forensics expert photographs victim's items at Davidson arrest house

Gerald Smith with the Knoxville police forensics unit was called to the stand. He collects evidence at crime scenes under supervision.

Smith responded to a house Reynolds Street where Davidson was arrested.

Smith identified photos he took at that house, which was empty at the time. The photos show confiscated items including a hoodie, a cell phone and tennis shoes.

An empty black 9 shot revolver found in the pocket of a hoodie is in one of the photos. Another shows a T-shirt, drink bottle and tennis shoes in a corner.

Smith identified the shoes as the ones that belonged to Newsom. They're size 9.5 Nikes.

On cross examination, the defense asked Smith if he knew the house had been broken into before Davidson's arrest. He said it appeared to have signs of a prior entry, but he didn't know for certain.

A juror asked if the gun was registered and to whom. Smith said, "I don't know."

Sutton's friend also identifies Christian's clothes

After lunch, the state called Kassie Suttles to the stand. She's a friend of Sutton's and knew Davidson through Sutton.

Suttles said she'd visited the Chipman Street house using a car and cell phone belonging to one of her friends.

Suttles said on the weekend of the murders, she learned Davidson was looking for Sutton.

Suttles said she's the one who took Sutton to the Chipman Street house to get her things. She said Sutton went in and got back in the car a few minutes later with clothes.

Back at the apartment where Suttles lived, she said she and Sutton looked over the clothes and noticed they were used and were larger than what Sutton wore. She specifically remembered a pair of Glow brand jeans. Suttles identified the jeans at the witness stand. They were previously identified as Christian's.

Suttles said when Davidson showed up later one night, loud music was playing from a "grey-ish SUV." Davidson wasn't the one driving. He spent some time with Sutton.

Suttles said on Monday, Davidson came to stay at her apartment after telling Sutton he was "locked out of his place."

On Tuesday afternoon, Suttles said Sutton's mother called with some disturbing news. (That's when Sutton said she learned from her mother about the discovery of Christian's body in the Chipman Street house.)

Suttles said she asked Davidson to leave and offered him a ride. They took him to the Ridgebrook area.

Suttles said later they got another call from Sutton's mother and she took her to talk to authorities.

When asked about the shoes she saw Davidson wearing, Suttles pointed to the Nikes that belonged to Newsom.

Suttles admitted that 25 bags of marijuana and scales were found in her possession last year. She said she didn't cut a deal with authorities relating to her testimony in this case.

The jury asked Suttles if she was aware of anything going on in Chipman Street house. She said, "No."

Newsom's cell phone records examined

The state called Verizon manager Chris Massengill to the stand. He outlined the cell phone records for Newsom dating from December 2006 through January 7, 2007.

Massengill said Newsom's phone called Christian's at 7:11 on January 7.

Davidson's cell phone records examined

The state next called a Sprint supervisor named Eric Tyrell to the stand. He testified on Davidson's cell phone number from December 16, 2006 through January 9, 2007.

Tyrell said he didn't find Davidson's phone had called Newsom or Christian's numbers.

He outlined incoming and outgoing calls from Davidson's phone on January 7 and 8, 2007. The records appeared to corroborate the timelines described by Sutton and Suttles.

Christian's cell phone shows last call to parents

The state called Adam Chesney, with U.S. Cellular, who confirmed that the last call made from Christian's phone was to her parents' number at 12:33 a.m.

Cell phone engineer explains where Christian's phone was used

An engineer from US Cellular, Isaac Ndiaye, was called to the stand to testify about interconnections in their network and how cell phones work.

Ndiaye said there are 120 towers around Knox County. The location of the last call from Christian's phone on January 7 was 12:33 a.m. It lasted 31 seconds and used the Cherry Street tower.

Prosecutor Fitzgerald went to great lengths with Ndiaye to help the court understand that the call couldn't have come from the area around Knoxville Center Mall. That's where Christian was at her friend's apartment to meet Newsom the night they were carjacked.

A juror asked if calls after 12:33 a.m. go to switchmail and was the phone used again? Ndiaye said it was used to call voicemail at 3:00 a.m. on January 7.

TBI lab expert found likely bleach stain on Christian's camisole

The state called a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation lab expert named Randall Nelson to the stand. He examined stains on Christian's camisole and found one that was most likely bleach.

Photos and video of the Chipman Street house showed in court on Tuesday showed a spray bleach container in the kitchen.

However, Nelson said he couldn't say the substance on the camisole came from the container in the house.

ATF agent describes arrests of suspects in Kentucky

ATF Agent Barney Waggoner was called to the stand to testify about the arrests in Kentucky of three of the defendants in this case, Davidson's half-brother Letalvis Cobbins, George Thomas and Vanessa Coleman.

Cobbins was convicted in August in this case and sentenced to life without parole. The trial for Thomas is scheduled to be held after Davidson's.

Waggoner interviewed Stacey Lawson, Thomas' then girlfriend, who led them to the suspects. He said he also helped with the search of the home where they were staying. Natasha Hayes lived there.

Agents confiscated a computer from Hayes' house. Lawson testified that Davidson and Cobbins had used it to look at Knoxville news stations, which were reporting they were wanted.

The agents also found a purse with Christian's ID in it. Waggoner said the house was "messy" and they found brass knuckles and other items.

During cross examination, Waggoner admitted to defense attorney David Eldridge that agents also found pornography at Hayes' house. 

Newsoms say murdered son being put on trial

When asked again Wednesday for their thoughts on the defense team's strategy, Chris Newsom's parents had this to say: 

"This is the first time I've ever seen where the victims have been put on trial, deplorable. When you let something like this in the court system there is no ethics. There is no morals. My son was a good son, and I tell you, I'd give everything I have to have him back. He's never been charged with carjacking, kidnap, robbery, rape, vaginal, anal or oral, yet he's on trial," said his father, Hugh.

"And he was a good person. He was a kind love person that would have helped anybody, no matter what color it was," his mother, Mary added.


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