Ex-girlfriend: Thomas did nothing when gun was pointed at me

Ex-girlfriend: Thomas did nothing when gun was pointed at me

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George Thomas George Thomas
Stacey Lawson said LeMaricus Davidson pointed a rifle in her face during a New Year's Eve celebration and scared her, but George Thomas did nothing. Stacey Lawson said LeMaricus Davidson pointed a rifle in her face during a New Year's Eve celebration and scared her, but George Thomas did nothing.
Prosecutor Leland Price handles the rifle Lawson identified. Prosecutor Leland Price handles the rifle Lawson identified.
Ethel Freeman identified curtains she gave to Davidson and his then girlfriend. Pieces were found binding the victims' bodies. Ethel Freeman identified curtains she gave to Davidson and his then girlfriend. Pieces were found binding the victims' bodies.
When the state called Knoxville police firearms analyst Patricia Resig to the stand, she used a tape measure to mark off the dimensions of the Chipman Street house. When the state called Knoxville police firearms analyst Patricia Resig to the stand, she used a tape measure to mark off the dimensions of the Chipman Street house.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- The ex-girlfriend of George Thomas told the jury Thursday that he did nothing when another defendant pointed a gun in her face on New Year's Eve just before the Christian-Newsom murders.

Channon Christian and her boyfriend, Christopher Newsom, were carjacked, raped and murdered on the weekend of January 6-7, 2007.

Ex-girlfriend: Thomas did nothing when gun pointed at her

Thomas ex-girlfriend, Stacey Lawson took the stand as the first Thursday morning. She's from Lebanon, Kentucky. She called him "G."

She said she visited in Knoxville at the rental home of LeMaricus Davidson in East Knoxville about three times in December 2006. The house was on Chipman Street.

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

Lawson said in late December she came down for two or three days and helped a woman named Ethel Freeman move to Washington Ridge Apartments in Knoxville. That's also where Channon Christian's best friend lived and where the couple was carjacked.


Lawson said she drove Thomas, along with his friend, Letalvis Cobbins, and Cobbins' then girlfriend, Vanessa Coleman, to Knoxville with her on December 28.

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

An appeal of Vanessa Coleman's case was denied on Monday. One of her attorneys said he expects her trial to be scheduled in the spring.

Lawson said as they celebrated on New Year's Even, "We shot a brown revolver into the air." She identified the revolver when prosecutor Leland Price showed it to her, as well as another revolver and a rifle Davidson kept in his bedroom.

Lawson said Davidson pointed a rifle in her face during the celebration and scared her.

She said she left the Chipman Street house on January 2 after calling her mother for money.

Lawson said she doesn't remember Davidson's phone number showing up on her cell phone at 2:57 a.m. on Sunday Jan 7, 2007.

On January 10, Lawson said she spoke with Thomas on the phone. He told her to go to the home of their friend Natasha Hays in Lebanon, Kentucky right away. When she got there she said Thomas, Cobbins and Coleman were there.

Lawson said she went upstairs at Hays' house, checking a computer and learned about the murders and the search for Cobbins and Davidson. "I was shocked. I couldn't believe it. I thought, who have I had myself around?"

Later, Lawson was confronted by the police and she told them where Thomas was. She was taken to the police station.

On cross examination, defense attorney Tom Dillard asked Lawson if she fired a gun in Knoxville because they were celebrating New Year's Eve. She said, "Yes." But she said she never saw Thomas with a gun.

Lawson told Dillard that Thomas was passive, even when Davidson pointed a gun at her.

Dillard also asked Lawson was it correct that Thomas never said he raped, robbed or murdered anyone. She said yes.

The jury asked Lawson, Did Thomas do anything when Davidson pointed the gun at you? She said, "No." They also asked, who else was smoking pot when she was there. She said, "Pretty much everyone" and that they smoked it every day.

Friend sees Thomas in area on same day Newsom's body is found

The state's next witness was Ethel Freeman.

Freeman said she sold Davidson and his then girlfriend, Daphne Sutton, some furniture and other items including curtain shears. Sutton and Davidson rented the Chipman Street house together.

Freeman identified parts of the curtains when prosecutor Takisha Fitzgerald showed them to her. The fabric was found binding Newsom and Christian's bodies.

On Saturday, January 6, 2007, Freeman said she was expecting money from Davidson for what she sold him, but he never came by her apartment.

She said she called him and his voice sound "racy," like he was in a big hurry. She also said she didn't recognize his voice at first and thought he was Cobbins. 

Freeman said Davidson assured her it was him so she told him to "slow down or you're going to have a heart attack." They agreed he would pay her later.

On the next day, Sunday, Freeman said she went to the Chipman Street house, but wound up at a neighbor's house to get some dishes. Freeman said she saw Thomas walking by on street, but she didn't say anything to him.

That afternoon, Newsom's bound, shot and burned body was found along railroad tracks near Chipman Street.

Freeman said she had no luck connecting with Davidson so she started to go back home. However, she said the railroad tracks were blocked, forcing her to get on Interstate 40 to go home.

She said she later learned that the tracks were blocked because Newsom's body had been found.

Freeman said on Sunday afternoon, she kept calling Davidson to get her money with no luck. She went back to the Chipman Street house again on Monday, but it looked abandoned and she saw police in the area so she left without leaving a note.

On cross examination, defense attorney Tom Dillard pointed to Freeman's testimony before a federal grand jury as well as in the federal trial of Eric Boyd, saying she never left her apartment on January 6.

Boyd was convicted in 2008 as an accessory in this case and sentenced to 18 years in prison.

In this trial, she has testified that she went to the Chipman Street house.

Dillard also asked Freeman if she testified for the defense in the Davidson trial that she saw Christian and Newsom at a Cherry Street gas station the night they went missing. "Yes I saw them," she said, agreeing that she was absolutely sure.

However, Freeman also said the people she saw at the Exxon station looked like the victims on the news. In the Davidson trial, she said the couple claimed they had run out of gas and asked her for money because they were on their way to Johnson City or Jefferson City. She said she turned down their request.

Freeman also insisted that she saw Thomas walking on Chipman Street on the day Newsom's body was found. She said she knew it was him because she knows him.

When Dillard asked Freeman to describe Newsom she said he had dark hair. "That's all I know."

Prosecutor Takisha Fitzgerald began asking Freeman questions to clarify her testimony, but Judge Richard Baumgartner stopped Fitzgerald after a defense objection.

With previous transcripts in hand, Dillard returned and grilled Freeman about her frequent changes in testimony. She agreed that she said what was written and said she didn't know any changes to be "mistakes."

An argument broke out between the state and defense attorneys and Fitzgerald wound up yelling. The judge called the attorneys to the bench for a private conversation. The jury went out during this time.

"What is amazing to me your honor is that this is the same prosecution who said her (Freeman's) testimony was unbelievable during the Davidson trial," Dillard said.

Judge Baumgartner eventually agreed that Fitzgerald could ask Freeman questions about her previous testimony that pointed out she consistently said she saw Thomas walking on Chipman Street on Sunday.

The jury was brought back in and Freeman told Fitzgerald yes to her questions each time about her previous testimony.

The jury asked Freeman if she saw which way Christian and Newsom went when they left the gas station. She said, "No."

Bank staff testifies that victims had money in account

Following Freeman's claim that Christian and Newsom said they were out of money, the state called Barbara Thomas, with First Tennessee, to the stand.

Thomas testified that Christian's balance when she was killed was more than $200. The records show one transaction on Saturday for $5.00 at a Walgreens.

The state also called Kimberly Elkins to testify on the records for Newsom's bank account. She said he withdrew $100 on the Saturday he went missing and still had more than $900 in it.

The jury asked Elkins how long it would take to go from Halls, where Newsom lived, to Cherry Street? She said, "I'm just guessing, 20 minutes."

Former drug user testifies Thomas stayed at Chipman Street house

The state called admitted former drug user Darin Willis to the stand. He said Davidson supplied him with drugs.

Willis testified that he knew Thomas, who stayed with Davidson and Cobbins at the house on Chipman Street.

Willis said he saw Davidson driving Christian's stolen Toyota 4Runner, along with two other men he couldn't identify.

Willis also said he stopped at Davidson's for drugs, but Davidson came onto the porch and said he didn't have any.

Willis said Davidson mentioned the search going on around him and helicopters flying over and said a woman's body had been found nearby. Willis said he thought the mistake was strange when he saw on the news later that it was the body of a man.

Man gets wrong number calls from Davidson

The state called Jason Mynatt to the stand after the lunch break. He testified that he got a Cricket cell phone for Christmas and began getting wrong number calls. The calls turned out to be coming from Davidson.

Mynatt said he doesn't know any of the defendants or the victims.

Friend of Davidson's ex-girlfriend testifies

The state's next witness was Taylor Shadix, a friend of Davidson's ex-girlfriend, Daphne Sutton. They worked together at Sonic on N. Broadway.

Shadix said Davidson and Sutton argued a lot.

Shadix also said she gave Davidson rides at times and he called her looking for Sutton on the weekend of the murders.

Another friend of Davidson's ex-girlfriend testifies

Kayla Troutt, another friend and co-worker of Sutton's took the stand next. Troutt said she stayed with Sutton and Davidson at their Chipman Street house for a couple of weeks just before the murders.

Troutt said on the weekend of the murders, Davidson called her several times about some clothes he had for Sutton. She said she eventually got annoyed with the calls.

In Davidson's trial, Sutton testified that she eventually came to the house and he gave her the clothes, which turned out to be Channon Christian's.

Davidson's ex says Thomas was at house on weekend of murders

The state then called Daphne Sutton to the stand. She said when she and Davidson lived together at Chipman Street it was "good at first." But she said their relationship went "downhill" in December and she moved out late that month.

"He assaulted me," Sutton told prosecutor Takisha Fitzgerald.

Sutton said she and Davidson got into an argument on Friday, January 5 and she stayed with some friends. She said Thomas was at the Chipman Street house when she left.

Sutton said she spoke with Davidson on Sunday evening because she wanted to go back to the Chipman Street house to get her makeup.

When she got there, Sutton said Davidson was on the porch and she went inside. She said Cobbins and Thomas were in the living room and neither spoke to her.

She said Thomas sat in front of the entertainment center, very near where Christian's body would later be found in a trash can.

Sutton said Thomas was rolling a joint while she was there and Davidson wouldn't let her in the bedroom. He gave her the clothes and she left.

Sutton said when she got back to where she was staying, she realized the clothes were used and not her size. She also noticed there was a red mini-skirt and he didn't like her to wear red "because of the gang he was in." Davidson was in the Crips and preferred that gang's color of blue.

Sutton wore a red and black checked dress during this testimony.

She said Davidson came to where she was staying in a Toyota 4Runner and got the clothes. She said she didn't recognize the 4Runner, but noticed it had a Tennessee decal and a North Face decal on the windows.

Sutton said Davidson called her later, claiming he was locked out of the house because Cobbins was gone with keys. She said her friends agreed that he could stay there so she picked him up.

Fitzgerald showed Sutton a video walk through of the Chipman Street house and asked her to identify what's out of place. Sutton pointed out bullet shells and a gas can on a shelf. She said she thought it was the gas can her father brought her because she had run out.

Investigators said gas had been used to help set Newsom's body on fire.

Fitzgerald then asked Sutton to identify some evidence. Sutton recognized a pair of Nike Shox she said Davidson was wearing on the weekend of the murders and they looked too small for him. The shoes belonged to Newsom.

On cross examination after a break Sutton returned with a black jacket over her dress.

Defense attorney Tom Dillard asked her how long she was at the Chipman Street house on Sunday night. She said, "three or four minutes."

Dillard asked if Thomas stopped her from moving around the house like she said Davidson did. Sutton said no.

Dillard showed Sutton the video of the house again and asked if Thomas moved out of the chair where she saw him. "Not that I recall," she said.

Sutton also said she often saw Thomas rolling "blunts," or marijuana, but never saw him with a gun and he didn't give her any clothes.

Cell phone records track victims

The state called cell phone managers and a cell phone engineer to the stand to establish that Christian and Newsom were taken to the Chipman Street area.

A third friend of Davidson's ex-girlfriend testifies

The state then called Daphne's friend, Kassie Suttles to the stand. She said she drove Sutton to the Chipman Street house to get her things, but she stayed outside while Sutton went in.

Suttles said Sutton came back out of the house with clothes and when they got back, Sutton found the clothes were used.

Suttles said Davidson came over in the 4Runner around 10:30 p.m. and got the clothes after he was called.

She said Davidson came back over on Monday.

The next day, Suttles heard from Sutton's mother that a body had been found at the house on Chipman Street. She said they drove Davidson to another complex.

Crime scene analyst describes evidence at Davidson's arrest

Knoxville police crime scene analyst Gerald Smith to the stand. He was on duty on January 11 when Davidson was arrested at a home on Reynolds Street.

Smith documented the scene and collected evidence. He identified an empty .22 caliber revolver that was found there, along with clothing that included a hoodie and a pair of Nike Shox that belonged to Newsom.

Firearms analyst shows dimensions of crime scene house

When the state called Knoxville police firearms analyst Patricia Resig to the stand, she said she couldn't identify Newsom's gunshot wounds as coming from weapons that Davidson or Cobbins had.

Resig also used a tape measure to mark off the dimensions of the Chipman Street house.

It showed the house would fit in about half of the courtroom. The state implied that it would be difficult for Thomas to be there during the murders without knowing what was going on.

State's case continues

The state said it has eight witness left to call and three will take awhile, including the Knox County medical examiner. Court will be held on Saturday, when the state is likely to conclude its part of the case.

Thomas family back in court

Thomas' mother and aunt were back in court Thursday. They sat alone in one aisle.


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