Four suspects charged with murder in Knoxville double slaying

Four suspects charged with murder in Knoxville double slaying

February 1, 2007

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- Four suspects, including a woman arrested in Kentucky Wednesday night, are now facing murder, rape and kidnapping charges in the double slaying of a young Knoxville couple.

But the location of the carjacking that began the series of charges in the investigation and why it happened is still being kept quiet.

The suspects were indicted Thursday in Knox County, separate from the federal charges some of the men already face relating to the carjacking. The rape charges involve both murder victims, Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom.

Lemaricus Davidson faces 46 counts including felony murder, premeditated murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated rape and theft.

Letalvis Cobbins faces 46 counts including 16 counts of felony murder, two counts of premeditated murder, two counts of especially aggravated robbery, four counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, 20 counts of aggravated rape and two counts of theft.

George Thomas faces 46 counts including 16 counts of felony murder, two counts of premeditated murder, two counts of especially aggravated robbery, four counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, 20 counts of aggravated rape and two counts of theft.

Vanessa Lynn Coleman, 18, faces 40 counts including 12 counts of felony murder, one count of premeditated murder, one count of especially aggravated robbery, four counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, 20 counts of aggravated rape and two counts of theft.

Although there were two murder victims in this case, three of the suspects face 16 counts of felony murder each. That's because Davidson, Cobbins Thomas are accused of killing Christian and Newsom while committing other crimes.

And all of those add up. For example, kidnapping a victim and then killing him is one count.

Raping a victim and killing him is counted separately. All three are accused of kidnap, rape, robbery and theft while committing murder.

One suspect charged in the federal case does not face charges in the Knox County indictment. He is Eric Boyd.

The new charges are in a 46-page indictment released Thursday evening at a press conference by the Knox County District Attorney General's Office. 

District Attorney General Randy Nichols says he is working closely with the U.S. Attorney's Office since the suspects are charged both locally and federally. He says he doesn't expect any more arrests in this investigation.

When asked if he expected change of venue motions from the defense due to media coverage, Nichols said, "I personally would like the opportunity for 12 citizens of Knox County to hear this evidence and make a decision on the guilt or innocence of these individuals. That is my goal."

Vanessa Coleman hasn't been charged in this investigation until now. She was arrested in Lebanon, Kentucky around 11:30 Wednesday night.

Coleman was arrested on a warrant as a fugitive from justice in another state. She's being held in the Marion County, Kentucky Detention Facility without bond.

An extradition hearing is scheduled for Coleman Friday morning in Kentucky. She could waive the hearing and be brought back to Tennessee immediately. Or she could fight extradition and a hearing would be set.

Coleman is one of three suspects arrested in this case in Lebanon, Kentucky. Letalvis Cobbins and George Thomas were also arrested there.

Coleman was identified but not charged in an affidavit and search warrant released to the public on January 25 as part of federal charges. 6 News did not reveal her identity at that time because she was not charged. (In the affidavit attached to this report, her name is covered.)

The murdered couple was last seen on a date on the night of January 6. They were carjacked by sometime early the next morning.

Christopher Newsom's body was found the next day. It was bound, shot and burned, along the railroad tracks near 9th Ave.

Investigators say Newsom's body smelled of gasoline.

Channon Christian's body was found three days after the couple disappeared. Investigators say it was in a large plastic garbage can in Davidson's house on Chipman Street. Her body was in five separate dark trash bags.

There was evidence that Christian had been bound, physically assaulted and raped. Also, the Knox County medical examiner found apparent carpet fibers in her hair.

Vanessa Coleman told investigators she was at the Chipman Street house while Christian was being held there. She said she witnessed Christian's mouth being cleaned with a bottle of some type of cleaner.

Coleman also told investigators she saw clothes that were stained with blood and smelled of gas being put in the washing machine at the house.

The next step in court process will be an arraignment of the suspects. No specific date has been set but the DA it should occur in the next week to 10 days.

6 News Reporter Sonu Wasu and Anchor/Reporter John Haney contributed to this report.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WATE. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.