Two men in custody in Knoxville double murder investigation

Two men in custody in Knoxville double murder investigation

January 11, 2007

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- Police are questioning two brothers who were taken into custody Thursday in connection to the murders of a UT student and her boyfriend. A third man is also being questioned in Kentucky.

Officers took Lemaricus Davidson, 25, into custody without incident in Knoxville at a house at 1800 Reynolds Street around 3:45 p.m. The house appears to be unoccupied and has for sale signs in front of it.

A few hours earlier, officers from several law enforcement agencies helped take his brother, Letalvis Cobbins, 24, into custody in Lebanon, Ky. without incident. He was found just after noon inside a house. Officers checked the house after a tip.

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Cobbins is being held in federal custody. Local investigators are in Kentucky questioning him.

The men are being held on un-related charges. No charges have been filed against either man in the double murder investigation.

A third man, George Thomas, who was with Cobbins in Kentucky is being detained for questioning. According to Knoxville police, he is not related to the brothers.

Police are questioning Cobbins and Davidson about the murders of Channon Christian, 21, and Christopher Newsom, 23.

According to the U.S. Marshals Office in Kentucky, two or three suspects carjacked Christian and Newsom the night they disappeared.

Newsom was shot to death while Christian was held hostage for a number of days before she was also shot to death.

Her body was found in a rental house Tuesday on the 2300 block of Chipman Street in East Knoxville. Newsom's body was found Sunday afternoon along the railroad tracks near 9th Ave.

U.S. Marshals say they have combined efforts with the Knoxville Police Department, Knox County Sheriff's Office and the ATF due to concern the carjacking suspects would commit a similar crime in another state.

Davidson and Cobbins have extensive criminal records in several states.

Davidson was convicted of carjacking and aggravated robbery charges in Jackson, Tennessee in 2000.

The crime was similar to what allegedly happened in Knoxville. According to police offense reports, a woman was sitting in her van while using a pay phone behind a gas station. The woman said three people approached her and held her at gunpoint, demanding her van.

She said she tried to give them money but they forced her out and stole her van.

The woman identified Davidson as the gunman in the case.

Davidson was just released from prison a few months ago in Tennessee. He was also wanted on a failure to appear warrant for driving on a suspended licence in Knoxville.

Neighbors say Davidson lived in Knoxville with a woman and two children at the house where Channon Christian's body was found.

Cobbins is wanted in Lebanon, Kentucky for failing to appear on a charge of criminal mischief. He was also charged there with attending a cockfight and disorderly conduct. In Shelby County, Tennessee, he was charged with contempt of court.

And in New York, Cobbins was charged for offenses in Queens in 2003 and the Bronx in 2004.

6 News Reporters Erica Estep and Sonu Wasu and Anchor/Reporter Tim Miller contributed to this report.

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