Two elementary schools were directly impacted by a massive tornado in the Oklahoma City area on Monday. It brings to mind a storm from a 1996 tornado which destroyed the Allardt Elementary School in Fentress County.More >>
Two elementary schools were directly impacted by a massive tornado in the Oklahoma City area on Monday. It brings to mind a storm from a 1996 tornado which destroyed the Allardt Elementary School in Fentress County. More >>
POWELL (WATE)— It's been six years since the brutal murder of a young Knoxville couple, and the start of a traumatic chapter for their families and the community.
The day before the anniversary, a public memorial was held for Chris Newsom.
"The clouds parted and sun came out. It was just like Chris looking on from above," said Hugh Newsom, Chris's father.
The clear, blue sky over Chris Newsom's grave in Woodland Memorial Garden was at least one thing that brought a smile to the faces of Mary and Hugh Newsom.
For the first time, Chris's parents opened his memorial service to the public.
"It's wonderful, humbling to have everybody out here to honor Chris, to honor us, and be here to share this day with us. It means an awful lot," said Mary Newsom, Chris's mother.
Hundreds of people turned out for Sunday's event brought hundreds. Many were Chris' childhood friends, who knew both Chris and his parents.
"They're sitting here looking at Chris's friends who have families, married with families and have careers. They're thinking that could have been Chris, that should have been Chris," said Larry May, a Newsom family friend.
The event brought some who never met Chris Newsom, like many of the members of the Shepherds Club, the motorcycle club started by Gary Christian. The club honors his daughter Channon, Chris's girlfriend, who was also killed.
"Channon and Chris go together, you can't have one without the other. It's just as important to us as it is to go to both and support the families on both sides," said Erin Martin, a member of the Shepherds Club.
Gary and Deena Christian attended the Newsom memorial. They hope the memorials will make sure nobody forgets about the murders.
"I'm glad as many people turned out as they did. People showing up at things like this kind of keeps it in our head that nobody is forgetting," said Gary Christian, Channon's father.
The Newsoms say this gathering gives them strength, since three of the men convicted in the murder are asking for re-trails.
The family will be in court again this week. A judge will hear on Thursday Lemarcus Davidson's latest amended motion for a new trial.
Davidson's attorneys are asking for a new trial due to outside influences on the jury during deliberations. They say the jury held a religious praise service while deliberating on the death sentence for Davidson.
"We've had no life in six years. We've been to court 291 times, we're starting on the third judge. It's been a long, prolonged, drawn-out situation," said Hugh Newsom.
After the service, Mary and Hugh Newsom made it a point to meet everyone who was at Sunday's service.
The couple said it was their way of thanking everyone personally.
A similar service will be held for Channon Christian Monday at 5:30 p.m. at Highland West Memorial Park, next to Pellissippi Parkway in West Knoxville.
The family asks that you please come early, so parking can be accommodated before the memorial starts.