Davidson's girlfriend takes the stand in Thomas retrial

Davidson's girlfriend takes the stand in Thomas retrial

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George Thomas listens to testimony in Day 2 of his retrial. George Thomas listens to testimony in Day 2 of his retrial.
Mary Newsom, Chris' mother, spoke about what her son was doing the day of his disappearance. Mary Newsom, Chris' mother, spoke about what her son was doing the day of his disappearance.
Deena Christian said she waited up for her daughter, Channon, the night she was kidnapped. Deena Christian said she waited up for her daughter, Channon, the night she was kidnapped.
Daphne Sutton is questioned by Assistant District Attorney TaKisha Fitzgerald. Daphne Sutton is questioned by Assistant District Attorney TaKisha Fitzgerald.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - As testimony continued in Day 2 of the retrial for Christian-Newsom defendant George Thomas, both victim's mothers along with the former girlfriend of ringleader, LeMaricus Davidson, took the stand.

Thomas is on trial for the second time for his role in the carjacking, torture, rape and murder of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom in January 2007.

He was granted a new trial in January because the judge overseeing his original trial later revealed that he was abusing prescription drugs while on the bench.

On Monday, opening statements were made and more than 10 witnesses took the stand.

Victims' mothers testify

Testimony continued Tuesday with victim Chris Newsom's mother, Mary, taking the stand.

She spoke about what Chris was doing the day of his disappearance and what he was wearing the night of the kidnapping. She identified several pieces of evidence as his, including his shoes.

During Newsom's testimony, jurors were listening very attentively, with some leaning forward and most taking notes.

Newsom was shown photos of some her son's burnt items. Thomas could be seen looking at the photos.

She explained how she felt after learning her son was murdered.

"It was just the most devastating news we'd ever heard and nothing that we'd ever imagined," she said.

After her testimony, Newsom returned to her seat and received a big hug of support from her husband, Hugh Newsom.

Deena Christian, Channon's mother, was the next witness called by state attorneys.

She said her daughter was working two jobs and studying at University of Tennessee.

She discussed the last time she saw her daughter. They were deciding what Channon should wear to the party that night.

Deena said the night of her disappearance, Channon called to say she'd be home around 3:30 a.m., so her mother decided to wait up for her.

She said when she first called police to report Channon missing, they said she had to search first, so Deena did a grid search.

Christian also looking at photos on the stand and identified several of Channon's items, including the sweater she was wearing the night she was kidnapped.

Tuesday was the sixth time the Deena Christian and Mary Newsom have taken the stand, and there's a hope it will be their last. 

"There's a hope but I'm not going to say this is the last trial we'll have to endure, you just never know. I'll do it till the day I die fighting for justice for Channon and Chris," Deena Christian said.

Mary Newsom echoed those thoughts. "I really hope don't have to come back here and do it again, but if something would happen and I'd have to come back here I would be back."

TBI investigator testifies

Linda Littlejohn with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation took the stand and identified floral fabric from the Chipman Street house where Channon's body was found.

She matched the sheets at the house to bindings on the victims.

Davidson's girlfriend and friends take stand

Taylor Shadix, an acquaintance of Daphne Sutton, LeMaricus Davidson's then-girlfriend, was the next witness called.

Shadix testified about Davidson calling her to get a hold of Sutton while the couple was in a fight.

Daphne Sutton then took the stand. Sutton used to live with Davidson at the Chipman Street house with her two children.

Sutton described for attorneys the layout of the house.

She said she left Davidson because they started arguing and he became physical with her.

Sutton said Davidson, Thomas, Letalvis Cobbins and Vanessa Coleman were at the house and Thomas slept in the living room.

Sutton testified that Davidson choked her and that it was loud, but that no one in the house helped her. She decided to leave.

Sutton said she left the house even though she had no car or phone.

She discussed a visit to the Chipman Street house on Jan. 7, 2007. She said she went to the house because she thought a girl was there.

When she arrived at the house, she said she noticed a blanket over the window.

Sutton said when she went inside Davidson grabbed her and wouldn't let her in the bathroom. She said Thomas was in a chair near the entertainment center.

She said Davidson gave her a bag of clothes and she left. While she was in the house, she said no one said anything about someone being in danger.

Sutton said when she saw that the clothing he had given her wasn't new, she gave it back. He came over to a friend's apartment in a Toyota 4Runner with a Tennessee sticker on it.

She said she gave him the clothes and he left in the 4Runner.

On Jan. 8, Sutton said she saw Davidson in new shoes that looked too small for him.

She said friends drove Davidson to get drugs and money.

On Tuesday, Sutton's mother called and told her about a dead girl found at the Chipman Street house.

"He was laying beside me and could hear through the phone, because his eyes got really big and as soon as I got off of the phone, he kept saying, 'Please believe me,'" she said.

Sutton said after she heard the news, she dropped Davidson off because he had stayed the night with her.

She discussed the same floral sheets Littlejohn testified about, saying they were a gift given to her and Davidson. She also identified Channon's car.

Attorneys played for Sutton a video of the Chipman Street house and asked her to identify anything that was out of place.

"The gas can and shell cases weren't there last time I was there," Sutton testified. She also said that they had a blanket or sheets over an air mattress in the house.

Sutton was asked to mark on a map where Thomas was sitting when she last saw him at the house.

Under cross examination, defense attorney Tom Dillard asked her where Thomas was on Jan. 5 when Sutton and Davidson had the fight. Sutton said she wasn't sure, but he was at the house.

Dillard asked if she had seen Thomas in possession of a gun and she replied, "Not that I can recall."

Sutton said she didn't see the 4Runner at the Chipman Street house when she arrived at the home on Jan. 7, sometime between 6 and 8 p.m.

Dillard asked where Thomas was the time she stopped by and Davidson wouldn't let her in the bathroom. She said she assumed that he was in the chair.

She said that Thomas did not give her clothes. She said that the only times she had seen Thomas again was in the house.

Sutton again said that she had not seen Thomas with a gun, though she had seen Davidson with keys and a gun.

Court then recessed for lunch.

After break, Sutton's friend Kassie Suttles was called to the stand.

She testified about Davidson calling Sutton on Jan. 7 and going with Sutton to the Chipman Street house. She said they got the bag from Davidson and he later came over to the house.

Suttles said when they learned of the body, they didn't call police. Before state attorneys objected, Sutton said she thought Davidson's brother had done the crimes.

Investigators testify

Retired Knoxville Police Department crime scene investigator Gerald Smith was the next to be questioned.

Smith spoke about investigating the complex where Davidson was found. He also identified items at the complex where he was taken into custody.

State attorneys at one point roped off the courtroom with investigators to demonstrate the size of the Chipman Street house.

It demonstrated the house on Chipman was about half the size of the courtroom.

The families hope the demonstration reveals to the jury that Thomas could not have been in the house and not known what was happening.

"With all that was happening in that house, the screams that Channon would have screamed and all the torture and the violence that went on, he knew," Deena Christian said.

A TBI investigator also testified that tests on Channon's shirt came back positive for bleach.

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