Fingerprint analysts: Thomas' prints not found at crime scene

Fingerprint analysts: Thomas' prints not found at crime scene

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George Thomas George Thomas
"We were not able to identify any prints from George Thomas in the evidence from this case," fingerprint analyst Dan Crenshaw said. "We were not able to identify any prints from George Thomas in the evidence from this case," fingerprint analyst Dan Crenshaw said.
Knoxville police crime scene analyst Joe Cox handles some of the fabric found in the Chipman Street house. Knoxville police crime scene analyst Joe Cox handles some of the fabric found in the Chipman Street house.
This is one of the photos shown in court of the trash can where Channon Christian's body was found. This is one of the photos shown in court of the trash can where Channon Christian's body was found.
This photo shows the DVD of "The Manchurian Candidate," which George Thomas checked out of a Kentucky library. This photo shows the DVD of "The Manchurian Candidate," which George Thomas checked out of a Kentucky library.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- Two Knoxville police fingerprint analysts told the jury Wednesday they didn't find any of George Thomas' prints at one of the Christian-Newsom murders crime scenes.

Thomas is the third defendant to stand trial in the case.

Channon Christian and her boyfriend, Christopher Newsom, were carjacked, raped and murdered in January 2007.

Thomas pleaded not guilty Tuesday to all 38 counts against him including first degree murder, especially aggravated robbery, rape and theft.

Fingerprint analyst: No prints found that matched Thomas

Knoxville police fingerprint analyst Daniel Crenshaw was the first witness the state called to the stand. He's a civilian employee with the police department.

Crenshaw said he was working the overnight shift during the weekend of the murders. The couple went missing on Saturday, January 6.

Crenshaw said he thought Christian's stolen Toyota 4Runner had been wiped down to remove prints. It was found parked about two blocks from LeMaricus Davidson's rental house on Chipman Street where Christian's body was found.

Davidson was given the death penalty in October for his role in the slayings.

At 11:00 p.m. Monday, Crenshaw said he processed a bank envelope found in the 4Runner and found Davidson's print on it around 2:00 a.m. He contacted the lead investigator on the case, Todd Childress.

Investigators tracked down Davidson's house at 2316 Chipman Street, but Crenshaw's match needed verification. That didn't come until hours later.

Crenshaw said in the meantime, he drove by the house and it seemed eerily quiet.

Christian's body was found hours later in the house on Tuesday. Crenshaw said he didn't find any of George Thomas' prints on the garbage bags wrapped around her body, which was stuffed in a trash can.

Crenshaw said he found Davidson's palm prints on those garbage bags around Christian. He also said finding palm prints indicate someone has been lifting the item where the prints were found.

On cross examination, defense attorney Tom Dillard asked Crenshaw, "No identifiable prints of George Thomas?" Crenshaw answered, "We were not able to identify any prints from George Thomas in the evidence from this case."

SWAT team officer describes finding Christian's body

The state's next witness was Knoxville police SWAT team Officer Keith Debow. He led the entry into the Chipman Street house on January 9.

Debow said no one was in the house. He saw handgun magazines and an M-1 carbine rifle.

After going into the kitchen, Debow noticed a large trash can that appeared to have something inside because the sides were pushed out.

Debow said he opened the lid of the trash can and saw Christian's body.

Prosecutor Takisha Fitzgerald showed a photo of the trash can with Christian in it to the jury. It was the first time the Chattanooga jury got a glimpse of where Channon spent her last moments of life. At least one juror appeared to wipe away a tear.

Debow was also involved in the arrest of Davidson, who had been tracked down at a house on Reynolds Street.

Debow said the SWAT Team took Davidson into custody after he put his hands out a window and officers pulled him through it. He said he asked Davidson where his gun was and he pointed down, maybe indicating his waist band or the floor.

On cross examination, defense attorney Steve Johnson asked if police wear gloves so they won't contaminate a scene. Debow said, "That's part of it, yes."

Johnson led the emphasis, again, to the fact that investigators didn't find any of Thomas prints at the scene.

Crime scene analyst videotapes Chipman Street house

The state called Knoxville police crime scene analyst Joe Cox as its next witness. He videotaped the Chipman Street house.

Cox said he had to stop the examination of the Chipman Street house at one point to clear up a problem with a warrant.

The state showed a picture of Christian's iPod found in the house. It was engraved, "Channon Christian we love you, Mom and Dad."

Multiple pictures show ammunition that investigators found in the house.

Cox explained that another photo showed a DVD copy of "The Manchurian Candidate" which was found in the bathroom. It had been checked out of a Marion County, Kentucky library by Thomas several months earlier.

More photos showed items found in trash bags including a pay stub from the shoe store where Christian worked and a ball cap worn by Newsom.

Prosecutor Leland Price had Cox identify several minutes worth of evidence collected from the house at Chipman Street including Christian and Newsom's clothing and possessions.

Second fingerprint analyst: No prints from Thomas

After lunch, the state called Knoxville police fingerprint analyst Tim Schade to the stand. He processed prints linking Davidson to the crimes.

On cross examination, Schade told the defense he didn't find any prints linking Thomas to the crimes.

Newsom's mother: Son sold motorcycle because he wanted to live

Chris Newsom's mother, Mary, took the stand next. She described Chris telling her he sold the motorcycle he loved because "he wanted to live."

Mary said Chris didn't know any of the defendants in this case.

She said the last night Chris was alive, he spent the day playing golf with his best friend, Josh Anderson, then came home to clean up and take Christian to dinner.

Mary said after Christian's mother, Deena, called Sunday evening looking for their kids, she started calling his cell phone, but never reached him.

His body was found on Sunday bound, shot and burned along a set of railroad tracks near the house on Chipman Street.

Mary told prosecutor Takisha Fitzgerald she was sure if Chris and Channon were in any danger, he would help her before helping himself.

Mary identified Chris' belt, which was found partially burned and helping bind his body. She also identified his socks, which were found gagging him. His body was barefoot.

The defense didn't have any questions for cross examination.

Christian's mother takes stand

Channon Christian's mother, Deena, took the stand and told the jury today is her son, Chase's 26th birthday.

Deena said Channon didn't know any of the defendants either.

She said on January, 7 2007, she talked with Channon before she went to work and helped her pick out clothes for a friend's party that night.

Deena said she called Channon several times with no answer. "Something in pit of my stomach said something was wrong."

She said the shoe store manager called Sunday looking for Channon, who was supposed to open the store at noon. "I knew something was wrong then."

Deena said she called authorities to report Channon missing and a detective treated her like a "nuisance," maybe because he was also dealing with a robbery.

After her family and friends found Channon's Toyota 4Runner parked on Chipman Street, Deena said she went to the scene with the spare keys and opened it. Investigators had also arrived and they started work.

Deena identified numerous items belonging to Channon that were found in the Chipman Street house.

She also identified her senior photo in high school, which she said Channon like to carry with her. "She liked to make fun of me and my hair."

The defense didn't cross examine Deena.

TBI lab tech: Crime scene fabric matched victims

The state called Tennessee Bureau of Investigation lab technician Linda Littlejohn to the stand. She was asked to compare fabric pieces found at the crime scenes.

Littlejohn said the fabric matched samples in the autopsies of Christian and Newsom.

On cross examination, Littlejohn told defense attorney Tom Dillard it appeared the fabric was ripped by hand, but she didn't know if tests were done to find skin cells.

Jury hears call when Thomas' girlfriend takes him to task

Tim Brooks, who works at Grayson County Detention Center in Kentucky, was called to the stand to describe their call monitoring system.

Then the jury heard a portion of a call between Thomas and his then-girlfriend, Stacey Lawson. Jurors were given transcripts.

Thomas told Lawson that Christian was in Davidson's bedroom in the Chipman Street house. "Shoulda, coulda, woulda," Thomas said when Lawson asked why he, or anyone else, didn't help Christian.

Court breaks early

The court broke for the day at 4:15 p.m. Judge Richard Baumgartner said prior obligations by officials mean they won't have time for testimony by Thomas' ex-girlfriend, Lawson. He said it's expected to be lengthy.

Lawson was visibly upset outside court and said, "I just want to go home."

The state will continue its case Thursday morning.

Thomas family declines interview

Thomas' mother and aunt were in court Wednesday. They declined a request by 6 News for an interview.


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