Christian, Newsom families await jury's decision

Christian, Newsom families await jury's decision

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"Even if the trial's over, I still don't sleep," said Deena Christian. "I'm still waiting for my daughter to come home." "Even if the trial's over, I still don't sleep," said Deena Christian. "I'm still waiting for my daughter to come home."
"I think [the state] did a real good job presenting the evidence we have and I think the jury will make a good decision," said Mary Newsom, Chris Newsom's mother. "I think [the state] did a real good job presenting the evidence we have and I think the jury will make a good decision," said Mary Newsom, Chris Newsom's mother.

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - It's now a waiting game for the Christian and Newsom families as the jury continues deliberations in the Vanessa Coleman trial. But after five days of testimony they believe Monday's closing arguments tied everything together.

"I think their philosophy is say the same thing over and over and they finally get it," Gary Christian said of the state's strategy to convince the jury.

Coleman is charged with facilitating the rape, theft and murder of Channon Christian. Closing arguments and jury instructions for the retrial wrapped up in mid-afternoon on Monday. The jury deliberated for two hours before calling it a day.

In their closing arguments, the state reconstructed the timeline for the jury, stressing the many times Coleman could have escaped.

"All of the stuff that she knew she had the opportunity to not only get herself out of the house she had the opportunity to save Ms. Christian," Assistant District Attorney Takisha Fitzgerald said in closing arguments.

But the defense counters that Coleman was a victim in all this. "This 18 year-old girl never knew nothing and there's no proof that she ever knew anything when those three people took off like that," said defense attorney Theodore Lavit.

However, the Christians say the defense's story doesn't add up. "There's no way [Coleman] didn't hear, my daughter did not sit there and take that. If you saw the pictures, you saw the brutality pf what they did to her," said Deena Christian, Channon's mother.

Now it's up to the jury to decide.

"I think [the state] did a real good job presenting the evidence we have and I think the jury will make a good decision," said Mary Newsom, Chris Newsom's mother.

The families have been watching the jury all trial long.

"I've been watching them," said Gary Christian. "Especially after the medical examiner, some looked sad, but some looked mad, I've been watching them and I feel good about those people."

But there is a fear that they might rush their decision.

"I think the timing of this trial was really poor. So close to Thanksgiving holiday, those people obviously want to get back to their families in Madison County, so if they have some member of the jury holding out, how long will the argue?" asked Hugh Newsom, the father of Chris Newsom.

Right now, both families are already looking to the future.

"We have a long way to go, we have a lot of things we want to do, a lot of things we want to change," Gary Christian said.

The Christians say they are working with the district attorney to change legislation to help  ensure other families don't go through what they have. They say their fight for justice is far from over.

"Even if the trial's over, I still don't sleep," said Deena Christian. "I'm still waiting for my daughter to come home."

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