Jury seated for Vanessa Coleman trial

Jury seated for Vanessa Coleman trial

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Vanessa Coleman Vanessa Coleman

By HANA KIM
6 News Reporter

NASHVILLE (WATE) - The court seated a jury from Davidson County Friday for the trial of Vanessa Coleman in Knoxville. She's the fourth defendant in the Christian-Newsom murders.

Nine women and three men are on the jury. Four of the jurors are black, one of the men and three of the women. The rest of the jurors are white. Both victims where white. All four defendants are black.

Four alternates were also chosen for the jury: a black man, white woman, black woman and white man.

"Not to get into any of the racial issues but I am very pleased with the racial composition of this jury, and I think we are going to  get a fair trial, not because of the racial composition but because it a jury of our peers," said defense attorney Theodore Lavit.

The 16 member jury will be brought to Knoxville Sunday afternoon and sequestered for the trial.

The jury was selected from a group of 57 people who returned for group questioning Friday.

Opening arguments in the trial are on Monday.

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

Newsom's shot, burned, bound body was found along a set of railroad tracks.

Christian's bound body was found stuffed in a trash can in the house where the couple was held after their carjacking.

Some people in the jury pool raised concerns during Friday's questioning about viewing graphic photos of the victims.

Opposition to the death penalty caused several people to be cut from the pool Wednesday and Thursday. The state is seeking the sentence against Coleman.

Prosecutor Takisha Fitzgerald talked to potential jurors Friday about how defendants can be guilty by association.

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

She was eventually 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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