Analyst can't prove all bullets in Newsom's body from same gun

Analyst can't prove all bullets in Newsom's body from same gun

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LeMaricus Davidson LeMaricus Davidson
Patricia Resig, a firearms expert with the police department's forensic lab, described how a revolver operates and the distinct markings made on bullets when they're fired from weapons. Patricia Resig, a firearms expert with the police department's forensic lab, described how a revolver operates and the distinct markings made on bullets when they're fired from weapons.
TBI lab technician Linda Littlejohn prepares to look at evidence brought by prosecutor Leland Price. It's being stored in old paint cans. TBI lab technician Linda Littlejohn prepares to look at evidence brought by prosecutor Leland Price. It's being stored in old paint cans.
"Selling dope, that's what I do. I don't kill people," Davidson told the police department's Ryan Flores during his interview. "Selling dope, that's what I do. I don't kill people," Davidson told the police department's Ryan Flores during his interview.
Channon Christian's father, Gary, wears a button with her picture on it in court. Channon Christian's father, Gary, wears a button with her picture on it in court.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- A firearms expert told the jury Thursday in the LeMaricus Davidson trial  she can't prove all the bullets found in Christopher Newsom's body came from the same gun.

Patricia Resig, a firearms expert with the Knoxville Police Department's forensic lab, said two of the bullets showed similar but inconclusive characteristics to bullets fired when she tested a gun found with Davidson when he was arrested.

The third bullet removed from Christopher Newsom's body was too damaged to compare.

Davidson is one of four suspects accused of carjacking, raping and murdering Newsom and his girlfriend, Channon Christian, in January 2007.

Fingerprint analyst: certain found prints matched Davidson

Police department fingerprint analyst Tim Schade was the first person the state called to the stand. He testified about the rape kit used for the Christian autopsy and about the floral fabric used to bind her.

Schade said they confiscated Christian's sweater and her camisole from the medical examiner, as well as the trash can where her body was found in a house on Chipman Street. That house was rented by Davidson and his then girlfriend, Daphne Sutton.

Schade swabbed the inside of Davidson's mouth for DNA samples and delivered the samples to a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) lab.

He said fingerprints are hard to get from guns, but investigators confirmed prints from Davidson and another suspect, Davidson's half brother, Letalvis Cobbins, were found on the side of a magazine with bullets.

Cobbins was convicted in August in this case and sentenced to life without parole.

Schade said he also found a print from Davidson's left palm on the third bag that enclosed Christian's body. Her body was wrapped in five bags and a sixth, smaller bag covered her face.

On the fourth bag, Schade said investigators found several prints from Davidson's left palm. He also showed the jury where those prints were found on the bag.

Davidson's prints were found on the fifth bag as well.

When prosecutor Leland Price asked Schade about the reliability of finger prints identification he said, "In 100 years, we've never found two people with same prints."

Schade showed the jury pink sheets found with Christian's body and said investigators couldn't find any identifiable prints on them.

On cross examination, Shade told defense attorney David Eldridge he doesn't know when the prints were placed on the trash bags and the two most interior bags around the body had no identifiable prints.

Eldridge also brought up recent studies that blast the reliability of fingerprint analysis. Schade said he's aware of them.

A juror asked Schade if the hours of time lag between the match to Davidson and the verification was normal since at the time this was a missing persons case? He said, "I can't answer that" and explained each case was handled on its own.

Another analyst with the police department, Dan Crenshaw, testified Tuesday he identified Davidson's thumbprint on an envelope found in Christian's Toyota 4Runner around 2:00 a.m. on January 9, 2007. Her body was found later that day.

The jury also asked if Schade was 100 percent sure the prints were a match to Davidson. He said, "Yes, I'm 100 percent sure they're Davidson's."

He also said the bags appeared to be lawn style trash bags that looked fresh.

Firearms expert: can't prove all bullets found in Newsom came from same gun

Police department firearms expert Patricia Resig was the next witness the state called to the stand.

Resig described how a revolver operates and the distinct markings made on bullets when they're fired from weapons.

Resig identified a rifle that prosecutor Takisha Fitzgerald brought to the stand. It was found at the Chipman Street house.

She said the bullets recovered from Newsom's neck and back were fired by the same gun, but she can't say for certain what gun that was. His body was found bound, shot and burned along a set of railroad tracks near the Chipman Street house.

Another bullet was recovered from Newsom's skull. Resig said she can't say that bullet came from the same gun as the other two bullets.

During cross examination, Resig told Eldridge that so called class characteristics are common with many firearms.

In the state's rebuttal questioning, Fitzgerald asked Resig which handgun would fire in quick succession? Resig pointed to a high standard revolver that was found in Davidson's possession.

The jury asked a question about bullets and weapons. Resig said she can't make a 100 percent match to the high standard revolver and she doesn't know who legally owns the gun.

Resig said fire can also affect the condition of bullets.

Judge's reminder about buttons showing victims

Just before the lunch break, Judge Richard Baumgartner reminded the people in court that only immediate family members can wear buttons with pictures of Christian and Newsom.

The judge said he'd noticed some additional people were wearing buttons.

TBI lab tech: fabric binding victims matched

The state called TBI lab technician Linda Littlejohn to the stand. She examined floral fabric and was able to make what she called "fracture matches" to other fabric from the Chipman Street house. The floral fabric was found binding Christian's body.

Floral fabric was also found binding Newsom's body. Littlejohn said the fabric samples matched  each other.

Police: Davidson not hurt during arrest

The police department's Greg Knight was called to the stand to testify on his part in arresting Davidson at a house on Reynolds Street. A SWAT team and what's called a "hot zone" vehicle, which looks like a tank, were used in the arrest.

Knight said no one hit Davidson or injured him during the period from his arrest to his questioning.

He also said Davidson wasn't wearing glasses when he was arrested.

Police interview: Davidson changes story, blames brother, denies ever seeing victims

ATF Agent Forest Webb testified on the guns entered as evidence in this case. Webb explained that guns didn't have serial numbers prior to 1968.

For the guns in this case, Webb said an M1 rifle was shipped to Knoxville in 1981, the high standard revolver was shipped new to Knoxville in 1966 and another gun was shipped to Knoxville in the 70's.

Webb took part in Davidson's interview along with Knoxville police. He said Davidson was informed of his rights.

Webb said Davidson's interview lasted several hours and he first denied doing any of the things that were done to Christian and Newsom.

Webb also said as the interview continued, Davidson's story changed more than once. At one point, Davidson told investigators he didn't have sex with the victims and he'd never seen them.

Then the state played Davidson's interview in court. The police department's Ryan Flores did the interview on January 11, 2007 beginning at 4:15 p.m. Davidson told Flores, "I know my rights."

At one point, Davidson said, "I don't even know what #*@ happened" and started to cry.

"Tell me what you know?" Flores said. Davidson said he was worried about guns and scales in his house. "I'm not narcotics," Flores told him.

"Selling dope, that's what I do," Davidson said. "I don't kill people."

Later Davidson told Flores, "Ya'll found a body in my house. I ain't stupid. I ain't had *#@ to do with it."

"Either way it goes, I'm going to jail," Davidson said. "Tell me what you know!" Flores said, adding not to "hoo doo me."

Davidson said his then girlfriend, Daphne Sutton, asked him about a dead body on the railroad tracks. He claimed he didn't know anything, then claimed his brother showed up in a 4Runner.

Eventually, Davidson implicated Cobbins and his friend, George Thomas, also charged in this case, in Newsom's murder.

Davidson later admitted driving the 4Runner, but said he didn't know about Christian. He claimed Cobbins had the 4Runner on Saturday.

Davidson said he saw his house on the TV news the Monday after the murders when Christian's body was found there. However, her body was found Tuesday.

Davidson said he left his loaded gun on a shelf and noticed Sunday it was missing a bullet.

Davidson said he hadn't fired the gun since New Year's, but he felt someone had used it. He said Cobbins later admitted he was involved in Newsom's murder.

Flores asked how Cobbins got the 4Runner? "He didn't say *#@," Davidson said.

Davidson then claimed Cobbins admitted to him that he and Thomas had something to do "with it" on Monday. Later, he said Eric Boyd was also involved.

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

Flores made Davidson go through it again. Davidson said Cobbins brought the 4Runner to Chipman Street on Saturday and he took the keys and drove it around.

"Daphne don't know nothing about this," Davidson told Flores. He said she picked him up Sunday night, then Monday he woke up and "my house is on the news."

At one point, Davidson admitted to wiping down the 4Runner before leaving Chipman Street. He said Cobbins and Thomas were "acting funny."

When pressed about the victims, Davidson said, "Neither one ever been in my house before. I don't know them at all, never saw them my life."

"If I tell you everything, then I'm an accessory," Davidson said to Flores. "It's got to be done to help yourself," Flores told him.

"I know I'm going to prison. I don't want to go for life," Davidson said. 

Finally, Davidson said, "I saw the people in my house. That's why I left. I knew the girl at my house. I knew G (Thomas) killed the dude. I knew they were gonna kill them cause they saw everybody."

Davidson then claimed Cobbins and others left with Christian and Newsom and returned with Christian in a hoodie covering her face. This time, he said Newsom was never in the house.

Davidson said Cobbins and Thomas carjacked the couple, took them to Chipman Street, then left and returned with Christian.

"Bro I got this, is all I heard," Davidson claimed Cobbins told him when he asked what was going on.

Davidson eventually said Christian pleaded for her life. Although he initially claimed he had no contact with her, he said later, "She touched my arm" and said "I don't want to die."

Davidson also claimed again he never had sex with Christian. "We won't find your DNA on her?" Flores asked. "No," Davidson said. Lab technicians did find his DNA on her, causing him to be charged with her rape.

Flores asked Davidson if he would consent to have DNA samples taken. At first, Davidson said he didn't want to do it without a lawyer because of how he was treated during his arrest.

However, Davidson finally agreed to let his DNA samples be taken if Flores stayed in the room while it was done. Flores said he would.


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