Knoxville community gathers to remember Channon Christian

Knoxville community gathers to remember Channon Christian

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And each friend, family member and even stranger released a balloon in the air, carrying their prayers and love up towards Channon. And each friend, family member and even stranger released a balloon in the air, carrying their prayers and love up towards Channon.

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The community came together Monday to remember a life cut tragically short.

It has now been six years since the brutal murder of Channon Christian and her boyfriend Chris Newsom, and the family is still seeking justice.

In an emotional memorial service, the Christian family welcomed the community to remember their daughter Channon.

"I just want to thank everyone for coming, we appreciate you guys. Without your support and your prayers we would not have gotten through the last six years," Deena Christian, Channon's mother said to a crowd of more than 100.

It's been more than half a decade since the murder of their daughter and for years they kept the annual memorial service private, but after many requests from the public, they opened it to the community to share in their grief.

"This could have happened to anyone's children and I think it really hit close to home," Deena explained, saying many people have followed their story and the trials and often ask how they can take part in honoring Channon.

The tragedy spawned the creation of the Sheperds, a motorcycle club created to keep Channon's memory alive and they were in full force at Monday's service.

"The Sheperd's are our family, they're not just our friends, they get us through each and every day."

The Christians say on the anniversary, everything is more difficult.

"It's the hardest day to get through, at work it was really tough, all I could do was think," Gary said.

"All I've been able to think about all day long is I wish I could have protected my daughter," Deena added. "I wish she were here but she's not, and there's nothing I can do."

But they say having more than 100 people to lean on helps, and each one of them holds a special place in the hearts of Gary and Deena Christian.

"They're brought to us from Channon, from our angel," Deena said.

And each friend, family member and even stranger released a balloon in the air, carrying their prayers and love up towards Channon.

On Sunday, a similar public memorial was held for Chris Newsom at his grave site at Woodhaven Memorial Gardens.

Both the Newsoms and the Christians will be in court when Judge Walter Kurtz is scheduled to hear a motion Thursday on a possible retrial for LeMaricus Davidson.

He's one of the Christian-Newsom defendants granted a new trial due to ex-judge Richard Baumgartner's painkiller addiction.

Orders for three of those defendants were set aside when Kurtz was assigned the case.

Just last week Baumgartner sent an appeal letter to the state retirement system.

He argues that the law denying pensions for malfeasance in office is unconstitutional and that the behavior he was convicted for did not arise from his duties as a judge.

But the Christians argue Baumgartner deserves to be in prison for what he did and his appeal for his pension is disappointing.

"I lose pay every day I walk into that courtroom but that doesn't stop me, I mean he sat up there doing what was supposedly the right thing, keeping it out of appeals, knowing he was doing drugs, he doesn't deserve his pension," Deena Christian said.

Baumgartner was convicted in federal court late last year for concealing a felony, the drug conspiracy involving his mistress.

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