Judge approves more DNA testing in Christian-Newsom murders

Judge approves more DNA testing in Christian-Newsom murders

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Vanessa Coleman Vanessa Coleman

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- In a court hearing Friday, Judge Richard Baumgartner agreed to more DNA testing to be included in Vanessa Coleman's trial for the Christian-Newsom murders.

Coleman is charged in the carjacking, rapes and murders of Channon Christian and her boyfriend, Christopher Newsom, in January 2007.

Newsom's bound body was was found near some railroad tracks in East Knoxville. The medical examiner said he had been repeatedly raped, beaten and shot. His body was also burned.

Christian's bound body of Channon was found in a trash can in a nearby house on Chipman Street two days later. The medical examiner said she was also repeatedly raped, beaten and bleach was poured down her throat. She suffocated in the trash can.

The DNA testing on the items was requested by state prosecutors. The items include:

  • A dog leash found at the railroad tracks with Newsom's body
  • A floral cloth strip used to bind Newsom
  • A floral cloth strip found in a room at the Chipman Street home

The state wants to send the cloth strips to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's lab for the testing.

Judge Baumgartner and the attorneys also went over the questions that will help select the jury for Coleman's trial.

The next hearing is scheduled for February 25.

The trial begins in May.


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