TBI report includes suppliers discussing ex-judge's addiction

TBI report includes suppliers discussing ex-Knox County judge's addiction


6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A 150-page portion of a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation report released on Friday revealed more details about ex-Knox County Judge Richard Baumgartner's addiction to prescription pills. 

In the last few years, Deena Castleman and Chris Gibson, at one point criminals in Baumgartner's court, got to know the judge pretty well.

After graduating Baumgartner's drug court in 2006, Castleman told the TBI she went to Baumgartner looking for a job.

That's when she said Baumgartner asked if she was clean and if she could get him hydrocodone.

Their relationship soon turned sexual. Castleman told investigators she was uncomfortable with the judge's advances, but eventually the attention made her feel good.

She said Baumgartner told her it would be in her best interest to keep quiet about their relationship. 

Castleman told investigators she stayed on his good side for years, including all through the Christian-Newsom murder trials, supplying him with pills and sex.

According to Castleman, she gave Baumgartner about 30 pills at least two times a week for more than a year.

It was Castleman who introduced Baumgartner to Gibson. He became Baumgartner's regular drug dealer.

Gibson told investigators he felt the pressure to feed Baumgartner's addiction, often satisfied at Gibson's home.

He said he stopped dealing pills to the judge around September 2010, after Baumgartner allegedly ran out of money having maxed out his retirement.

Gibson says he recorded eight conversations between him and Castleman.

Castleman and Gibson were in trouble with the law and Baumgartner had taken a medical leave from the bench, when Gibson recorded a conversation on February 14.

Gibson: "Yeah he (Baumgartner) went from percocets to roxys and it was at least 20 roxys every two to three days."

Deena: "Wow, and he would snort, too. Did you know that?"

Gibson: "I didn't know he was snorting, no."

In another exchange, Castleman and Gibson discussed the Christian-Newsom murder trials and how high Baumgartner was on the bench.

Deena: "Okay, if something goes down and they do bring criminal charges against him all four of those (expletives) could get their (expletives) thrown out, could be a mistrial, and they could all go free?"

Gibson: "I know."

Deena: "Because he chose to go in there (expletives) up in this major, major murder trial."

In a hearing Thursday, the actions of Judge Baumgartner led Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood to throw out four convictions connected to the slayings of Channon Christian and her boyfriend, Chris Newsom.

Judge Blackwood ordered new trials.

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