Jury seated in Nashville ahead of George Thomas retrial

Jury seated in Nashville ahead of George Thomas retrial

Posted:
George Thomas (Source: Tennessee Corrections) George Thomas (Source: Tennessee Corrections)

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

NASHVILLE (WATE) - After more questioning Friday morning, a jury was selected to hear the case for the retrial of Christian-Newsom defendant George Thomas.

Thomas is set to be tried again for his involvement in the kidnapping, torture and murder of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom in January 2007.

He was granted a retrial after the original presiding judge later revealed he was abusing prescription pills while overseeing Thomas' trial.

In that trial, Thomas was found guilty on 38 charges and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

This week it took only 10 hours of questioning to select a jury for the retrial, much less than attorneys anticipated.

On Thursday, the pool of potential jurors was whittled down to less than 80 people.

To start things off Friday, several people were dismissed for hardships, saying they had to care for family members and no one was available to cover for them.

Another juror said he needed to work enough hours to receive overtime pay, but the judge did not dismiss him.

Judge Kurtz told the potential jurors, "This is not California. We will not waste your time and take half-day recesses."

Thomas was present again in court and wore a white shirt to court. He maintained a blank stare throughout proceedings, much like he did Thursday.

The judge then began explaining more about the trial, saying that they were not seeking the death penalty for Thomas and telling the pool not to be concerned about the lapse between the crime and the trial.

Both the state and defense attorneys spoke to jurors about what they needed to prove in the case and asking jurors questions about their backgrounds that might influence their decisions.

The defense asked whether any potential jurors might let emotion override the evidence in the case.

The state made sure no one had a problem judging another person.

One potential juror who was later excused, said he wanted to know why the trial was being held in 2013 for a crime that occurred in 2007. The judge said he'd have to consider evidence only.

After several more jurors were dismissed during questioning, the jury was officially seated around noon.

Sixteen people were selected for the jury. Four of those people will be selected later randomly to serve as alternates.

The jury consists of eight white men, three white women and five black women. All ages are represented in the pool, though most are middle-aged. Two are in their 20s.

Thomas' retrial is set to begin Monday at 9 a.m. at the City-County Building in downtown Knoxville. Jurors will be bussed to Knox County on Sunday.

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