Closing arguments to continue, Davidson doesn't testify

Closing arguments to continue, Davidson doesn't testify

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Defense attorneys David Eldridge and Doug Trant huddle with LeMaricus Davidson Defense attorneys David Eldridge and Doug Trant huddle with LeMaricus Davidson
DNA analyst Kelli Lewis said the Y-STR testing did not find Davidson's DNA on a rectal swab taken from Chris Newsom. DNA analyst Kelli Lewis said the Y-STR testing did not find Davidson's DNA on a rectal swab taken from Chris Newsom.
Prosecutor Takisha Fitzgerald told the jury, "It wasn't a drug deal gone bad, but it doesn't matter. The family knows better. Those statements were made to influence you (the jury). Give those kids justice." Prosecutor Takisha Fitzgerald told the jury, "It wasn't a drug deal gone bad, but it doesn't matter. The family knows better. Those statements were made to influence you (the jury). Give those kids justice."

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- Closing arguments will continue Tuesday in the LeMaricus Davidson trial. He chose not to take the stand in the Christian-Newsom murders case.

The jury is expected to get the case Tuesday. The death penalty is a possible sentence for Davidson.

State's closing: Consider what happened to victims

Prosecutor Takisha Fitzgerald began her closing Monday afternoon by asking the jury to consider what happened to the victims. Was this a drug deal gone bad or two innocent people who were carjacked and killed?

Fitzgerald described the condition of murder victim Christopher Newsom's body. He was raped, shot three times and set on fire by railroad tracks.

She said floral fabric on his body was the same as fabric found at the house on Chipman Street which was rented by Davidson and his then girlfriend, Daphne Sutton.

Fitzgerald said Newsom was shot by bullets consistent with a gun Davidson had and Newsom's ball caps were found at Davidson's house.

She said Newsom's girlfriend, Channon Christian, was held against her will, raped, brutally beaten and Davidson's DNA was found in her body and on her clothing. 

Davidson's prints were found on some of the trash bags enclosing Christian's body which was found in a trash can in Davidson's house. 

Fitzgerald said the victims' friends and family described Chris and Channon's lives. Both were good kids. Both had jobs. Both had money. Both were expected at a party in Halls where they never arrived. Instead, they were carjacked.

She told the jury to consider the timeline. Records show at 9:02, Newsom called Christian. That refutes testimony Saturday by Lynn Freeman saying she saw them at an East Knoxville gas station between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m.

Fitzgerald said the couple was expected to arrive at the party at 10:00, but they never did.

A worker at Waste Connections, next door to Davidson's house, saw Christian's Toyota 4Runner around midnight on Chipman Street. It was found parked on that street the next day by her friends and family, who were searching for her.

Continuing the timeline, Fitzgerald pointed out a 12:30 call from Christian to her father. At 1:00 a.m., the Waste Connections worker saw the 4Runner leave Chipman Street.

According to testimony, Davidson called Freeman at 2:58 a.m. Why, Fitzgerald asked.

At 3:00 a.m., Christian's phone shows a check of her voicemail. Why, she asked again?

At 3:13 a.m., Davidson tried to track down his girlfriend, Daphne Sutton.

Freeman testified that she called Davidson Sunday morning and told him "slow down." What was he doing? Why did he sound odd?

Fitzgerald told the jury, Christian was dependable, responsible and loved her family. If she was alive and well Sunday afternoon, why didn't she call Newsom?

Davidson called on Sunday afternoon still looking for Sutton. Sunday evening, Sutton went to their house on Chipman Street. She said she'd moved out not long before the murders.

Sutton said Davidson gave her clothes that she realized later weren't new, weren't her size and included a red skirt, although he didn't like her to wear red.

Sutton testified that she called Davidson to come get the clothes and he showed up in a Toyota 4Runner. Sutton later identified the clothes, which turned out to be Christian's.

Fitzgerald reminded the jury about Sutton's testimony that Davidson stayed with her Monday night and was wearing Nike Shox shoes "that were too small for him." Those shoes were identified by witnesses as Newsom's.

Fitzgerald said Christian was killed sometime before 2:00 a.m. Monday and Davidson was arrested Thursday with a gun and Newsom's shoes.

She pointed out Davidson's lies during his interview by police when he said he "never touched Ms. Christian."

Fitzgerald also pointed out that there were no records of phone calls between Christian, Newsom and Davidson.

Fitzgerald said the defense theory doesn't make sense. She said she believes Christian was so scared after she heard or saw Newsom raped that she called her parents and convinced her father she was okay.

Christian didn't access her voicemail, Fitzgerald said. It was Davidson or his half-brother Letalvis Cobbins who did it, worried that Christian's family was looking for her.

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

Fitzgerald explained criminal responsibility to the jury and how the defendants can be held responsible for the acts of others.

It doesn't matter who pulled the trigger, Fitzgerald told the jury. Davidson's responsible. "You know they wanted to kill him (Newsom). That's why they shot him in the head."

Fitzgerald played part of Davidson's police interview when he told the investigator, "I never seen them in my life, never been in my house before."

When the investigator asked Davidson about the carjacking, he said, "They pulled in front of the house" and said they "carjacked" the 4Runner.

Fitzgerald told the jury, "It wasn't a drug deal gone bad, but it doesn't matter. The family knows better. Those statements were made to influence you (the jury). Give those kids justice."

Judge instructs jury

Judge Richard Baumgartner charged the jury Monday afternoon before the state's closing argument. Since the charge is lengthy, he only read the first 66 pages of it.

Davidson is facing 38 counts including first degree felony murder, first degree premeditated murder, especially aggravated robbery, especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated rape and theft.

The jury has a 95 page jury form to go through, plus the verdict forms are 41 pages.

Click here to read the charge form.

Click here to read the verdict forms.

Davidson doesn't testify

Davidson told the judge Monday morning he made the decision not to testify himself, but it was the advice of his attorneys as well.

Before Saturday's testimony, the judge told Davidson he had the right to testify in his defense, but he could be cross examined by the state.

If he did testify, Davidson could have been asked about a prior aggravated robbery conviction, but not about any prior kidnapping or carjacking convictions.

"I'm sure you've given it a great deal of thought already," the judge said Saturday. Davidson shook his head no.

Davidson's half-brother, Letalvis Cobbins, testified in his defense in his trial in August.

Police on drug traffic in Knoxville

On Monday morning, the state called its first rebuttal witness, Josh Shaffer, who works with the Knoxville Police Department's repeat offenders unit.

Shaffer testified that in his experience, the majority of pills are sold in north or West Knoxville or on campus.

Shaffer said you can get marijuana everywhere in Knoxville and it would be a "waste of gas" to travel to East Knoxville to buy it if you live in Halls.

Shaffer said he didn't know where Newsom got his marijuana or his amphetamines.

He also said he didn't know where Newsom's girlfriend, Channon Christian, got her amphetamines.

Christian's work records show oxycodone

The state also called Shara Johnson to the stand. She worked with Christian. She said Christian was drug tested and the results were negative except for oxycodone.

The judge cut off Johnson's testimony at this point because he said she's not the keeper of the drug testing records.

Victims' bank records

The state called Barbara Thomas with First Tennessee bank. She said records show on January 6, 2007 Christian spent $5.05 at a Walgreens. She had more than $210 available.

A woman with TVA Credit Union testified that Newsom had $961 in his account and withdrew $100 at 8:47 p.m. on January 6.

That's the last day their family and friends saw the couple alive.

DNA analyst: Davidson not a match for Newsom rape

The defense called DNA analyst Kelli Lewis to the stand. She's worked over 1,000 cases and has performed Y-STR testing for Bode Technology in Lorton, Virginia. That lab did the Y-STR testing used in this case.

Defense attorney David Eldridge asked about Christian's underwear. Willis said the lab received known DNA samples from the defendants and the victims.

Lewis said the results of the underwear analysis showed DNA from two unknown men. It didn't match any of the defendants or Newsom.

Lewis also said the Y-STR testing did not find Davidson's DNA on a rectal swab taken from Newsom.

On cross examination, prosecutor Leland Price asked if it's possible that a profile didn't come from sperm cells? Lewis said it's "possible."

Price asked if the samples could have been contaminated by handling the underwear.? "It's possible," Lewis said of the unknown male DNA.

On rebuttal, Eldridge then asked Lewis about a TBI report on the underwear. She said it indicated semen and sperm in the sample.

The jury asked Lewis if Y-STR testing any less accurate than conventional testing. She said, "No."

Jurors also asked how long DNA would be detectable? She said it "varies" based on several conditions such as storage and what the sample was exposed to.

Toxicology expert: marijuana found in Newsom's system

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation toxicology expert Melanie Carlisle was the first witness the defense called to the stand.

Carlisle reviewed the tests on drugs in Christian and Newsom.

She said no drugs were found in Christian, but tests indicated Newsom was a casual user of marijuana. This information was previously introduced in testimony by the medical examiner and Newsom's best friend.

Prosecutor Fitzgerald asked Carlisle if Newsom being high would prevent him feeling the pain of being raped or shot. Carlisle said it would not.

Judge reverses decision, Cobbins' past conviction allowed

Before the jury was brought in, Judge Baumgartner had denied a defense request to enter Cobbins' prior robbery conviction in New York into the record.

After Davidson decided not to testify, the judge reversed his decision and allowed Cobbins' conviction to be introduced.

Attorney David Eldridge introduced the conviction when the jury was brought back in, then the defense rested.

Defense chooses not to call witness with misgivings

The defense decided not to call Susan Hill as a witness. Hill said Friday she feared for her life and didn't have anything relevant to add to this case. She planned to fight a subpoena from the defense.

Juror switch

The twelfth juror was replaced by a male alternate.


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