Jury selection resumes in Chattanooga for Thomas trial

Jury selection resumes in Chattanooga for Thomas trial

Posted: Updated: Dec 16, 2009 10:05 AM EST
George Thomas George Thomas

By HANA KIM
6 News Reporter

CHATTANOOGA (WATE) -- Jury selection resumed in Chattanooga Monday for George Thomas, the third defendant to stand trial in the Christian-Newsom murders.

This round of jury selection is the individual questioning stage. Those who make the cut will return for group questioning on Wednesday.

One of Thomas' attorneys told a potential juror they think Thomas will be found not guilty so a sentencing phase won't be necessary.

A magazine publisher in the jury pool had heard a little about the case. Judge Richard Baumgartner warned the pool about the graphic autopsy photos of the victims, Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom.

A man who was a robbery victim said his experience will have no weight on this case so he made the cut.

A woman who said her husband's cousin worked with Christian was kept in the pool.

Monday afternoon, the first black juror in the pool said she was willing to be on the case, but admitted the death penalty would be a hard sentence to deliver. She was kept for the time being.

The state is seeking the death sentence against Thomas.

The ringleaders in the couple's carjacking, rapes and murders, LeMaricus Davidson, was given the death sentence in October.

Davidson's half-brother, Letalvis Cobbins, was given life without parole for his role in the crimes.

One potential juror revealed that he heard other jurors talking about case. The judge said that's a concern because they were told not to talk about it.

Judge Baumgartner said he wanted to know who the jurors were. 

Also, the judge advised the attorneys for both sides to show the graphic pictures of the victims and not just talk about them, in a effort to lessen the shock. However, the attorneys sides said they don't  want to do that.

Judge Baumgartner said he's concerned they'll lose jurors during the trial due to those pictures.

By the end of Monday, a little over 60 jurors were questioned and 28 were kept.

Due to the amount of pre-trial publicity in Knoxville, the jury is being selected in Hamilton County. However, Thomas will be tried in Knoxville.

Opening arguments are set for December 1.


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