In Day 3 of testimony, Coleman's grand jury testimony is read

In Day 3 of testimony, Coleman's grand jury testimony is read

Posted: Updated:
Natosha Hays, known as "Blue", discussed trips she took to Knoxville with Coleman and others. Natosha Hays, known as "Blue", discussed trips she took to Knoxville with Coleman and others.
A cell phone expert testified about tracking Channon's cell phone. A cell phone expert testified about tracking Channon's cell phone.
In cross examination, Dr. Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan told the defense, "I can only tell you what the victims went through." In cross examination, Dr. Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan told the defense, "I can only tell you what the victims went through."
Gary Christian (front left) watches Vanessa Coleman as her grand jury testimony is read. Gary Christian (front left) watches Vanessa Coleman as her grand jury testimony is read.
Michelle Cox with the defense reads Coleman's grand jury testimony. Michelle Cox with the defense reads Coleman's grand jury testimony.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - After more than 30 witness took the stand on Tuesday and Wednesday, testimony continued on Thursday in the case against Vanessa Coleman.

Several friends of Coleman's testified and a defense team staff member read the testimony Coleman gave to the grand jury.

Our past coverage of the murders and the cases in its entirety can be found here.

Coleman is being tried for a second time for her role in the torture, rape, murder and robbery of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom.

The results of her first trial were thrown out because Judge Richard Baumgartner revealed that he was addicted to pain pills while he resided over her original trial.

Coleman friends take the stand

Kentucky resident Stacy Lawson was one of the first to take the stand Thursday.

She and others, along with Coleman, traveled to Knoxville several times in late 2006.

Lawson told prosecutors that she got into it with Davidson and that he even stuck a gun in her face once.

"There was a lot of tension in the house," Lawson said.

Lawson said she was scared and left, but that she didn't think the same was true of Coleman.

"I don't think she was scared. She didn't want to leave," she testified.

Lawson said after the crimes, Coleman came back to Kentucky and said to Lawson when questioned about her return, "I came back with you."

"She told me she didn't know what I was talking about, she came back with me and I was like, 'No you didn't. When did you get back and how did you get back?' and she just kept saying the same thing to me," Lawson said.

When asked to clarify what that was she said that Coleman just said she didn't know what she was talking about.

Lawson said Coleman was "on edge" and not her normal self after returning from Knoxville.

Lawson was eventually taken into custody and said she told authorities the truth about what she knew.

The defense asked about Coleman after returning from Knoxville. Lawson said she appeared to be scared and that Cobbins was with her.

Lawson admitted to lying to authorities "at first" about whereabouts of Coleman and the others.  

Lawson said she saw Davidson's former girlfriend Daphne Sutton at the Chipman Street house in early January and also said that Coleman, Cobbins and Thomas planned to live in Knoxville and that they left after Christmas to do so.

Natosha Hays, known as "Blue", took the stand. She is another of Coleman's friends from Kentucky and was introduced to Coleman by Cobbins.

Hays talked about trips to Knoxville with Coleman and others. She also said that the group was planning to move to the area.

"They decided they were going to move down here because they packed all their stuff and left my house," Hays said.

She said that after the crimes, Coleman and Cobbins and Thomas showed up at her house, but acted normally. She let Cobbins use her computer.

Hays changed her testimony from what she said during the first trial with regard to the search of her daughter's room. This time around, she said she didn't remember any concerns.

Hays sparred with defense attorney Theodore Lavit over some details.

"You're not much on details are you?" Lavit said after Hays offered little in the way of information.

Expert discusses tracking Channon's cell phone

A cell phone expert with U.S. Cellular took the stand to talk about how Channon's phone was tracked after her disappearance.

On cross examination, Lavit pressed him about who made certain calls that weekend.

"I don't even know the number, who they are, who owns them. I'm only here to testify that this call happened at a certain time and somebody made it from this number to that number," he told Lavit.

He also said the phone call was traced to the Cherry Street area.

After a recess for lunch, prosecutors called another cell phone expert, Ricardo Leal, to the stand.

Former deputy discusses initial Coleman interview

Nevil Norman with the Knox County Sheriff's Department, who retired in 2009 from the homicide division discussed traveling to Kentucky in 2007 with Sheriff Hutchison.

He said he took part in the initial interview of Coleman. Former Sheriff Hutchison and current Sheriff J.J. Jones also took part.

Norman said he read Coleman her rights and that he signed off on it.

On the stand, she described Coleman's willingness to talk and said she cooperated when she was taken in for questioning.

The jurors listen to a tape with Coleman's voice from that initial interview. It's the first time the jury hears her voice.

In it, Coleman lied and said that she returned to Kentucky on Jan. 2. The interviewers confront her about the lie.

"We know you're lying to us," Hutchison said.

"We know you were on Chipman Street on Sunday," Jones is heard saying.

She describes staying at the Chipman Street house.

Channon Christian's father Gary, stared at Coleman as the tape was played.

During cross examination, defense attorney Theodore Lavit asked Norman if he knew how old Coleman was at the time. After he replied no, Lavit told him she was 18.

Lavit asked Norman if he knew about the influence Cobbins had on Coleman. Norman said no.

The entire transcript of Coleman's interview with the Knox County Sheriff's Office is available here.

Coleman's testimony transcript is read aloud

A member of Lavit's staff the read Coleman's words from her testimony in front of a federal grand jury. Jurors were also given a typed transcript.

The interview in its entirety is also available on our website.

The defense initially fought to get the testimony thrown out because she made the testimony as part of a plea deal for immunity, but Judge Blackwood agreed with the prosecution's argument that the immunity form was not relevant in this case.

As the transcript is read, Coleman's discussion revolves around the incidents leading up to and during the kidnappings, rapes and murders.

She described LeMaricus Davidson returning to the home on the night of Saturday, Jan. 7, 2007 with a white girl with dark hair who was blindfolded and had her head down.

Coleman said she saw Davidson tying the girl up on an air mattress and that when he saw her watching, he told her to get out.

Still reading the interview, the staff member reads Coleman's word about Davidson and George Thomas leaving the house with strips of sheets, a blanket and a gas can.

Coleman told the grand jury the two left at one point and returned with blood-stained clothing.

She said Thomas looked nervous as he returned and his hands were shaking.

Coleman said she kept to her back bedroom on that Saturday night.

At one point, she heard the girl saying, "stop, quit, don't do that." She also testified that she heard Davidson ask the girl for a password and went to the kitchen to make a cell phone call.

She said she slept in the back bedroom with her boyfriend, Letalvis Cobbins on Saturday night.

On Sunday morning, she said made breakfast and saw that the girl was still tied up, clothed, in the bedroom. Coleman said she brought the girl a glass of water.

Coleman said at some point Davidson's girlfriend Daphne Sutton came by to pick up some of her things.

She detailed watching Davidson choke the girl on Sunday night. At this point, Christian's father began visibly shaking and rocking back and forth in courtroom.

The staffer read the part of Coleman's transcript where she described witnessing Davidson tie the girl up and spray something that smelled like bleach into her mouth. She said he then placed the girl in a garbage bag.

Coleman testified that she told Davidson she was going to call the police and that he threatened to kill her if she did.

Medical examiner testifies about autopsies

Medical examiner Dr. Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan discussed how photos assisted her with her autopsy.

Jurors were shown a photo of Christopher Newsom at the train tracks where his body was found.

Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan explained how Newsom had a gag in his mouth and a sweatshirt around his head, but no shoes. His feet were covered in mud, suggesting he had to walk to the place he was shot.

Despite his charred body, she said she could tell his hands were tied. His feet were also tied with floral bedding torn in strips.

In additional to the gunshot to his head, he was shot two other times and had anal trauma. He was also blindfolded.

Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan said the anal trauma happened while Newsom was alive and that the gunshot to his back and shoulder area happened before the shot to head.

She discussed how Channon was in five layers of trash bags and placed in a trash can.

Jurors were shown photos of the body in Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan's office.

She spoke about the injuries to Channon's body from the rapes and said she had injuries to her mouth from forced oral sex.

Channon also had head trauma, a bruise to brain and both old and fresh trauma to her cervix.

The medical examiner testified that Channon couldn't breathe for a period of time and also had carpet burns and arm injuries as well as a cut on the hand.

Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan identified the floral material she said was used to bind the hands and feet of Chris and Channon and a bag that was wrapped around Channon's head.

On cross examination, the defense asked whether she knew if Coleman assisted in the crimes.

Dr. Mileusnic-Polchan said, "I can only tell you what the victims went through."

Christian Family Reacts

Listening to the details of their daughter Channon's rape and murder for the second time around was difficult for the Christian family. But Gary Christian said he wants the jury to hear and see everything.

"It doesn't matter, I want that jury to see what she caused, what she could have stopped and she didn't," Christian said.

Despite long deliberations between the attorneys and the judge on whether or not to show the autopsy photos, the Christians wanted those images to be seen. After two long days of expert testimony they said Thursday's testimony gave a graphic look at what happened.

"It takes forever to go through all that evidence but they have to do it because now they'll come back and pull it together and the jury will get the point," Christian said. "You can't hide the evidence, it's there, she's guilty and they better do what's right."

6 News Anchor Gene Patterson and 6 News Reporters Stephanie Beecken and Alexis Zotos
contributed to this report.

Powered by WorldNow

1306 N. Broadway NE Knoxville,
Tennessee 37917

Telephone: 865.637.NEWS(6397)
Fax: 865.525.4091

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