Families: time never heals pain of Christian - Newsom murders

Families: time never heals pain of Christian - Newsom murders

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Gary and Deena Christian Gary and Deena Christian
Mary and Hugh Newsom Mary and Hugh Newsom

By HANA KIM
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- Two-and-half years after their children were carjacked, raped and murdered, the Christian and Newsom families are frustrated with the justice system and dealing with pain that never heals.

Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom were killed in January 2007.

Four suspects are charged in the slayings and face the death penalty: Lemaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, George Thomas and Vanessa Coleman. All four are still awaiting trial. 

"Every day it's the same battle," said Channon's father, Gary Christian.

"Sometimes I just don't want to get out of bed. Sometimes you just can't do it," added her mother, Deena Christian.

The murders of their daughter and her boyfriend were so horrifying they drew international attention.

"Lots of strangers send us cards all the time with wonderful thoughts and prayers," said Chris' mother, Mary Newsom.

Those words of support from all over the world, as well as heartwarming flashbacks from the past, bring occasional smiles. However, the parents say there's not an hour that goes by when they're not grieving.

"We all got a lot of problems we didn't used to have," Gary Christian said.

"Life has changed," Mary Newsom said.

"Our lives will never be the same," Hugh Newsom added.

There's probably no better example of time standing still than Channon's room. There are plenty of snapshots of the striking 21-year-old and the people she loved the most in this world, including Chris.

"Knowing that we are going to see him one day, that's what gets us through," Chris' mother said.

Plus, there's the promise of justice they made to Channon and Chris.

But as they continue awaiting the suspects' trials, Channon's father, Gary, said, "We are going through mortal hell in that courtroom."

They've never missed a court date, even with more than 60 hearings so far. They say it's a legal process clogged by dozens of unnecessary defense motions.

Channon's father says he wouldn't be surprised if Judge Richard Baumgartner grants the defense's motion to delay the trials. "I would fall over backwards if he don't."

The families say they aren't blaming the judge, but they're furious with the legal system they feel is protecting the people who took their children's lives.

There's no ruling so far on delaying the trials and no decision on a motion to grant immunity to  Vanessa Coleman.

Her attorneys say she was subpoenaed to testify in front of a federal grand jury in 2007 in this case so she should be immune to prosecution by the state.

The next hearing in this case is scheduled for Thursday.

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