Christian, Newsom bills advance in Tennessee State House

Christian, Newsom bills advance in Tennessee State House

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Both the Christian and Newsom families were in Nashville pushing for passage of the bills, which are designed to make changes in the courtroom. Both the Christian and Newsom families were in Nashville pushing for passage of the bills, which are designed to make changes in the courtroom.
The families met with Gov. Bill Haslam earlier in the day. The families met with Gov. Bill Haslam earlier in the day.

By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter

NASHVILLE (WATE) - The Tennessee House Civil Justice Subcommittee approved Wednesday the Channon Christian Act and the Chris Newsom Act, in honor of the two Knoxville murder victims. Both families were in Nashville pushing for passage of the bills, which are designed to make changes in the courtroom.

Christian and Newsom were brutally raped and murdered in 2007. What followed was an ordeal in the legal system of trials and retrials.

The "Channon Christian Act" clarifies rules regarding character evidence in trials, while the "Chris Newsom Act" creates the presumption that a judge approves a verdict following a unanimous verdict.

"This bill does not take any power away from a presiding judge. It's a documentation requirement that is not needed," said Hugh Newsom, Chris Newsom's father.

Mary Newsom testified before the subcommittee saying the multiple trials and retrials were devastating for her and her family. She said her daughter lost not only her brother, but also her parents during the proceedings.

Newsom said she wanted to keep other families from going through the same heartache.

Deena Christian said the Lemaricus Davidson trial was the hardest for her, saying the defense lied about her daughter's character.

"Nobody knows what it's like to sit through a murder trial when your daughter is the victim," said Gary Christian during his testimony.

Both bills passed the subcommittee and now move on to the full House Civil Justice Committee.

"It's something we told Chris that we would do and we will keep on doing it no matter how hard it gets," said Mary Newsom.

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