Jury selection begins in Nashville for Coleman trial

Jury selection begins in Nashville for Coleman trial

Updated:
Vanessa Coleman Vanessa Coleman

By HANA KIM
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The jury selection process for the trial of Vanessa Coleman, the fourth defendant in the Christian-Newsom murders, began Friday in Nashville.

Knoxville court officials were in Nashville Friday interviewing from a pool of about 140 potential jurors who received questionnaires.

Judge Richard Baumgartner told them not to do any research on Vanessa Coleman from this point forward.

Only a small number of jurors were cut from the pool Friday due to having seen pre-trial publicity or because of their opposition to the death penalty, which the state is seeking against Coleman.

Vanessa Coleman was in court Friday with her two attorneys, Ted Lavit and Russ Greene.

Potential jurors will be interviewed again on April 27. The jury is expected to be seated by April 30.

The trial will be held in Knoxville. Opening arguments are scheduled for May 3.

Judge Baumgartner still has several motions to rule on before the trial starts including a defense motion to throw out a portion of Coleman's statements to investigators.

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

Coleman was initially put in federal protective custody just after the crimes because she was identified as a possible witness.

Coleman signed away her right to custody right before she was interviewed by ATF Agent Bernard Waggoner in Knoxville.

Investigators originally found Coleman in Kentucky with two men convicted in this case, her ex-boyfriend, Letalvis Cobbins, and his friend, George Thomas.

Not long after the ATF interviewed her, Coleman was arrested in Kentucky and charged in the case.

Cobbins and Thomas are serving life without parole for the murders.

LeMaricus Davidson, who is Cobbins' half-brother, received the death penalty.


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