Motion denied to suppress Coleman's statements in Christian - Newsom murders

Motion denied to suppress Coleman's statements in Christian - Newsom murders

Posted:
Vanessa Coleman Vanessa Coleman

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- Judge Richard Baumgartner ruled Tuesday that the motion to suppress statements by Vanessa Coleman, one of the four suspects charged with the 2007 murders Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom is denied.

Judge Baumgartner writes that Coleman "clearly was informed of her Miranda rights and voluntarily made the decision to waive those rights more than once. She signed not one, but multiple waivers of her rights."

The judge also writes that Coleman "clearly understood the subject matter about which she was being questioned. She told the authorities that she had looked up the Knoxville news on the computer with her co-defendants and others in Kentucky."

Earlier in March, the court released three interviews done in late January 2007, about three weeks after Christian and Newsom's bodies were found. Investigators say the couple was carjacked, raped and killed.

Christopher Newsom's body was found along some railroad tracks in East Knoxville and Christian's body was found in a house on Chipman Street.

The longest interview was with Knoxville police investigator Todd Childress on January 31 when Coleman was arrested in Lebanon, Kentucky. Childress drove there to question her.

An agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Bernard Waggoner, did a shorter interview with Coleman and her parents on January 28 in the Knoxville field office.

A third interview with Knox County Sheriff's Office investigators is not dated. 

In the interviews, Coleman sometimes refers to her boyfriend, Letalvis Cobbins, as "Rome" and another man, George Thomas, as "G." Both men are also awaiting trial for the murders.

Coleman described for the ATF agent what she was told happened to Christopher Newsom. "We were in the living room on the floor when he (Cobbins) was talking. He said that they had wrapped him up and burned him. When he said they, I automatically knowed it was them three, Lemaricus, G, and Rome."

Coleman also spoke in the interviews about Channon Christian, saying she saw the men repeatedly go in and out of the bedroom where Christian was tied up and blindfolded.

Coleman told police investigator Todd Childress she saw Davidson snap Christian's neck with one hand on her chin and one on the back of her head.

After that, Coleman said she started asking Cobbins what was going on and "I told him (Cobbins) I was gonna call the police if they did not tell me what was going on. Lemaricus told me that if I said anything or called the police he said, 'I will kill you right now.'"

"He (Davidson) hollered at me to come in there and check on her pulse. He said that he couldn't tell if she was dead or not," Coleman said.

Then she added, "...I couldn't tell and he got mad at me and he started yelling, telling me to 'Get out! Get out! Shut up, don't say nothing!"

"You had just seen him, I believe you said, snap her neck and choke her?" investigator Childress asked. "And you were standing there when he did that?"

Coleman agreed that she was and later said Davidson sprayed what smelled like bleach in Christian's mouth.

"After I went back into the living room, I seen them drag her from the back room into the living room and tie her up in the fetal position," Coleman said.

Investigators say the suspects eventually stuffed Christian into a trash can where she suffocated to death.

Coleman told investigators she didn't know Christian was in the trash can, even though it was in the kitchen instead of outside where it was usually kept.

One of the investigators asked Coleman if she helped kill Christian. Coleman answered "no."

Coleman told police she took Christian a coffee cup filled with water while she was tied up in the bedroom. She also admitted to peeking into that bedroom at other times, once seeing Cobbins inside with Christian.

The investigator asked her if she got mad at Cobbins because he was her boyfriend. She said he "wasn't the type to care."

In the interview, police then told Coleman, "It's very hard for us to believe you."

"I understand," she replied.

"If we can't believe you, what are, in front of 12 average citizens, gonna be in the jury when you sit there and your story is told to them?" Childress asked.

Coleman said, "I'm telling you the truth."

Powered by WorldNow

1306 N. Broadway NE Knoxville,
Tennessee 37917

Telephone: 865.637.NEWS(6397)
Fax: 865.525.4091
Email: newsroom@wate.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Young Broadcasting of Knoxville, Inc. A Media General Company.