Thomas gets 2 life sentences in Christian-Newsom murders

Thomas gets 2 life sentences in Christian-Newsom murders

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By HANA KIM
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A judge on Thursday gave George Thomas consecutive life sentences for his role in the Christian-Newsom murders.

A jury found Thomas guilty in December 2009 and sentenced him to two sentences of life in prison without parole.

However, the jury only dealt with the sentencing that involved the possibility of the death penalty. Judge Richard Baumgartner decided how those life sentences would be served, and sentenced Thomas for the lesser charges.

The judge gave Thomas two consecutive life sentences, one for each victim.

The judge also sentenced Thomas to 50 years for the rest of his lesser convictions. That time runs at the same time as his life sentences.

Channon Christian and her boyfriend, Chris Newsom, were carjacked, robbed, repeatedly raped and murdered in January 2007.

Judge Baumgartner said the house where the couple was taken on Chipman Street was so small there's no way Thomas wouldn't know what happened. He also said Thomas is as guilty as the others convicted: LeMaricus Davidson and Letalvis Cobbins.

The families of the victims gave their impact statements in court Thursday afternoon.

Chris Newsom's mother, Mary, called Thomas a coward during her statement.

Thomas answered questions that Newsom's father, Hugh, asked him from the stand during his statement. When Hugh asked if Thomas said he was ashamed of shooting Chris, Thomas said, "That's not true."

Hugh told Thomas he could've been a hero if he had stopped the murders instead of choosing to be stoned and do nothing.

In her impact statement, Channon Christian's mother, Deena, said Thomas knew exactly what was going on, heard and saw Channon's rape and torture and did nothing.

Deena also told Thomas she hopes Channon and Chris haunt him for the rest of his life.

Channon's father, Gary, told Thomas that he hates his soul, and knows people who smoke more dope, but couldn't watch their neighbor torture a stray dog.

Gary ended his statement with a prayer like he did in the sentencing for Cobbins. The last line of the prayer was, "May your soul rest in hell."

Prosecutor Leland Price argued that Thomas' disregard for human life should earn him the maximum sentence.

Defense attorney Tom Dillard argued that although the victims were treated with exceptional cruelty, there's no proof Thomas was directly involved in it. Dillard asked the judge to weigh that.

Thomas chose not to speak on his own behalf Thursday.

The state filed a motion in February seeking for Thomas to serve his sentences consecutively. Part of the basis is his previous criminal history.

Thomas was found guilty in May 2004 of unlawful possession of a weapon. He was sentenced to a day in jail, a $250 fine and court costs.

In November 2004, Thomas was found guilty of two counts of theft of property under $500, plus failure to appear for booking. He was sentenced to nine days in jail and court costs.

The state also argued that Thomas treated or allowed Christian and Newsom to be treated, with exceptional cruelty and their personal injuries were "particularly great."


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