Judge adds time to Cobbins' sentence in Christian-Newsom murders

Judge adds 100 years to Cobbins's sentence in Christian-Newsom murders

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Letalvis Cobbins Letalvis Cobbins

By HANA KIM
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A judge on Thursday added 100 years to the sentence for Letalvis Cobbins, who was already convicted in the Christian-Newsom murders.

Cobbins was convicted in August 2009 of first degree murder in Channon Christian's death and facilitation of first degree felony murder in her boyfriend, Chris Newsom's death. He was sentenced to life without parole on those charges.

The couple was carjacked, raped and murdered in January 2007.

Thursday's hearing was to sentence Cobbins for the remainder of his charges in the case.

Judge Richard Baumgartner gave Cobbins four consecutive 25 year sentences for a total of 100 years.

The judge said he didn't understand how someone could commit these crimes. He said they were the worst of the worst and "exceptionally cruel."

In a surprise move, Hugh Newsom, Chris's father, asked Cobbins to help the Knox County DA's Office prosecute Eric Boyd for the crimes.

Boyd was convicted in 2008 as an accessory after the fact of the carjackings and sentenced to 18 years in prison. Boyd was never charged with murder despite Cobbins implicating Boyd to police in Chris' murder.

As Newsom sat on the stand, he told Cobbins if he agrees to the offer he can redeem himself a little bit.

Newsom urged Cobbins to talk to the prosecution and said Cobbins could send a good message to young troubled kids by doing the right thing.

Before Newsom spoke to Cobbins, the other parents of the victims addressed the court to give their impact statements.

Chris Newsom's sister looked straight at Cobbins and told him that God knows the truth and he will be the ultimate judge. Cobbins made eye contact with her and nodded several times.

Channon Christian's mother, Deena, asked, "How could this happen to our kids? Why? They were good kids."

Referring to her daughter, Deena told Cobbins, "You raped her and stuffed her in a trash can." She also said he was a coward who ran away and wasn't man enough to admit what he did.

"I am haunted everyday by the image of my beautiful son laying naked on a railroad track no one should have to die this way,"said Chris' mother Mary Newsom.

Channon's father, Gary, told Cobbins, "You have never told the truth. You never even knew their names. I hate you. You have no idea the hate I have for you."

"I committed your soul to hell. One day God will have his vengeance," Gary said as Cobbins looked at him.

At one point, Gary said, "I hate the fact your worthless mother and worthless father gave you breath."

Gary also said he wishes officers would set Cobbins out on the streets so he can have his justice. He finished by leading the court in a prayer.

Hugh Newsom followed Gary on the stand and made his proposal to Cobbins.

After the impact statements, the state argued for the maximum sentences for Cobbins.

Prosecutor Leland Price said, "No comment," when asked if the DA's office knew that Hugh Newsom would ask Cobbins for help with Boyd.

After the hearing, Newsom said his proposal wasn't planned and was a last minute thing.

"To go up there and bash him, I knew it wasn't going to do any good so I gave him a proposition he could consider," Newsom said.

Cobbins chose not to speak on his behalf during the sentencing hearing, but he did have a request for Judge Baumgartner before he left the courtroom.

He asked not to be taken back to the Morgan County Correctional Complex because he says he is being physically and verbally abused there.

It's used as a transfer point when Cobbins is brought into Knox County from custody in West Tennessee.

The judge said the state Department of Correction is in charge of the facilities and he had no control over it.


 

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