Accessory case deliberations to start Wed. in double murder

Accessory case deliberations to start Wed. in double murder

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Good Morning Tennessee Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- The jury will start deliberating Wednesday morning in the trial of a man accused as an accessory in a Knoxville couple's murders.

Jurors were handed the case Tuesday afternoon, but told Judge Tom Varlan they needed more time to review evidence. They're begin Wednesday at 9:00 a.m.

Eric Boyd is charged with being an accessory after the fact of the murders of Channon Christian and her boyfriend, Christopher Newsom, in January 2007. 

Three men and a woman are charged with kidnapping, raping and murdering the couple.

Both sides gave their closing arguments Tuesday afternoon.

The prosecution said again that Boyd helped one of the suspects, Lemaricus Davidson, and knew too much too soon about how the couple was killed to claim he stopped helping as soon as he learned the details. 

The defense argued that the evidence against Boyd is circumstantial, some of the prosecution's witnesses weren't credible and insisted he stopped helping Davidson after he learned what had happened.

Defense rests

Defense attorney Phil Lomonaco rested his case Tuesday afternoon after calling just two witnesses.

A carpenter named Michael Keegan said he had measured the distance of the house on Chipman Street where Christian's body was found to Waste Connections Inc.

An earlier witness for the prosecution said the business is a block away. Keegan said it measures about the length of eight courtrooms away instead.

The defense also recalled Leesa Greer, who testified Monday for the prosecution.

Greer had said she overheard Boyd saying he was going to get food for Davidson after the murders.

However, the defense argued that Greer was lying to the grand jury when she made that claim and that she took food to Davidson instead. She denied that.

Victim's slow death detailed

Before the prosecution rested on Tuesday, the acting Knox County medical examiner testified about Christian's slow death. 

The medical examiner, Dr. Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan, said on the stand that Christian died a very slow death after her body was wrapped in trash bags and stuffed in a fetal position in a trash can.

Mileusnic-Polchan said Christian likely died from lack of oxygen. One of the bags was over her head.

There were no signs Christian was strangled, but Mileusnic-Polchan said she did have bruises on her neck, arms, upper back and anal area.

Christian's mouth was also bruised, had abrasions and some of the tissues in it were torn.

Plus, Christian had blunt trauma to her head and bruising of the brain. Mileusnic-Polchan believes it came from being hit with something.

The medical examiner said Christian had "extreme" sexual injuries from both vaginal and anal rapes, apparently done with an object. The attacks left abrasions and caused bleeding.

A TBI agent later took the stand Tuesday, confirming that DNA taken from Christian's body matched two of the suspects, Lemaricus Davidson and Letalvis Cobbins.

Mileusnic-Polchan said she thought the suspects had tried to clean Christian's body because it had a strong odor she couldn't exactly identify.

She believed Christian died sometime the afternoon or evening of January 7, 2007.

Mileusnic-Polchan also testified that Newsom died of a gunshot wound to the head. He was also shot in the back and neck, doused with gasoline and burned beyond recognition.

Newsom's body was found along the railroad tracks near 9th Avenue.

Mistrial denied again

Before the defense got underway with its case Tuesday, Boyd's attorney again made a motion to have Judge Varlan declare a mistrial.

Attorney Phil Lomonaco argued that one of the witnesses, Daphne Sutton, should have been charged in the case. He said she admitted to lying to police, which delayed her boyfriend, Lemaricus Davidson's arrest, as well as the grand jury.

Lomonaco also argued that Sutton received special treatment because she's white and all the  suspects who are charged are black. Plus, Sutton's uncle works for the Knoxville Police Department.

Jude Varlan denied the motion.

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