Back-to-back death penalties for Davidson in C-Newsom murders

Back-to-back death penalties for Davidson in Christian-Newsom murders

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LeMaricus Davidson LeMaricus Davidson
Gary Christian stares at LeMaricus Davidson as he leaves the witness stand. Gary Christian stares at LeMaricus Davidson as he leaves the witness stand.
"How can a normal person" do these things, Mary Newsom asked Davidson. "I'm sorry. I guess you're not normal." "How can a normal person" do these things, Mary Newsom asked Davidson. "I'm sorry. I guess you're not normal."

By HANA KIM
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - LeMaricus Davidson, one of four convicted in the Christian-Newsom murders case, was sentenced Friday to back-to-back death penalties.

Judge Richard Baumgartner called his consecutive death penalty sentencing decision "unprecedented."

Davidson was already serving time on death row for the four capital convictions he received in the case in October 2009.

As he prepared to announce his decision, Judge Baumgartner said this is one of the most "incredibly outrageous, cruel, inhumane cases that this court has ever seen." He also called it one of the most "horrendous" crimes in Knox County that he knows of.

The judge also said it's clear to him that Davidson was the ringleader in the crimes and how anyone can engage in that kind of conduct is "unexplainable."

Judge Baumgartner said the Tennessee foster family who testified at Davidson's sentencing hearing hoping to save him from the death penalty instead showed the judge that Davidson had a chance to change his life, but he didn't.

"I'm sorry, but I have no mercy," the judge told Davidson and his defense team.

Davidson was also found guilty in his trial of especially aggravated robbery, especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated rape and theft of Channon Christian and her boyfriend, Chris Newsom, in January 2007.

The jury found Davidson guilty of the lesser charge of facilitating Newsom's rapes, rather than raping Newsom himself. Davidson was found guilty of raping Christian.

Judge Baumgartner sentenced Davidson to 80 years for those lesser convictions.

Before Davidson was sentenced Friday, state prosecutors said they were seeking another death sentence for Davidson in case the others were overturned. The defense argued that another death sentence is illogical.

After hearing arguments from attorneys on both sides regarding Davidson's criminal past, Judge Baumgartner said Davidson is a "range 2 offender" so that increased his sentencing range.

Davidson was convicted of aggravated robbery and carjacking when he was a teen and served time in prison. He was also charged with home invasion and thefts.

Victims' impact statements

The Christians

Deena Christian, the mother of murder victim Channon Christian, asked in a victim's impact statement she read from the witness stand if Davidson "bothered" to learn Channon's name before he kidnapped, raped and tortured her.

She called Davidson an animal who has no remorse for what he did.

Deena also told Davidson he and his "cohorts" destroyed the lives of her family and they miss Channon, but they won't miss him. Deena called Davidson an "animal" to his face.

Gary Christian, Channon's father, said in his statement that he dreams of his daughter and smells her hair and hears her voice. He said in the dreams, she has his grandchild.

"I can see her smile and then it fades away."

Gary said he wakes up and hates even more.

In his dreams, Gary said he and his son, Chase, find Davidson and give him a little "East Texas justice," not this."

Gary says every day he has nightmares, except he's awake. Glaring at Davidson from the stand, Gary said he could see his daughter being tortured over and over again and he can't stop it.

"Any man, woman or beast who speaks against my daughter is my enemy," Gary said.

Gary directed his anger at Davidson's defense attorneys saying the couple's characters were dragged through the mud unjustly during the trial.

"I will do everything in my power to have that needle stuck in you as soon as possible," Gary told Davidson.

The statements by the Christians are different from any they've given in previous sentencing hearings in this case.

The Newsoms

Mary Newsom, the mother of Chris Newsom, said in her statement that Davidson deserves nothing less than the death penalty.

"How can a normal person" do these things, Mary asked Davidson. "I'm sorry. I guess you're not normal."

Hugh Newsom, Chris' father, said when he saw the autopsy photos and imagined what Chris went through in his last hours, it sent "indescribable rage" through him.

He pointed out that although Davidson was raised in the Memphis housing projects so was Elvis Presley.

Davidson's sisters made successful lives for themselves, Hugh pointed out. "What happened to you," he asked.

Defense attorney Doug Trant interrupted Hugh's statement when he referred to Davidson's past crimes. The judge advised Hugh not to make those references so he altered his statement to address Davidson's past time served instead.

Davidson declined to make any comments on his own behalf when the victims' impact statements were finished.   

Reaction afterward

During the hearing, Davidson showed no emotion but he also didn't look away when the victims' families cast emotional daggers at him.

"I don't think he has any reaction to anything. He has no feelings. He may not be human," Mary Newsom said.

"He showed no remorse and no feelings," Hugh said.

However, the victims' parents expressed their satisfaction with the sentencing. "He got what he deserved. I am just proud of the judge. He did the right thing," Deena said.

"I'm glad. That's exactly what he deserves. He should be locked up for the rest of his life, no chance of getting out whatsoever," Mary said.

"There's never been a crime in the state that horrendous and he gave him everything he could give him," Gary Christian said. He added that Davidson will die. "Just wish he could die twice."

The parents were happy with Judge Baumgartner's ruling, but said they were disappointed in the justice system. 

Hugh Newsom said the couple could still be alive if Davidson wasn't let out on the streets before the murders.


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