Channon Christian's parents speak out about brutal double murder

Channon Christian's parents speak out about brutal double murder

May 20, 2007

6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- For the first time since their daughter's murder, the family of Channon Christian is speaking out about their grief.

Police say 22-year-old Channon Christian and her boyfriend, Christopher Newsom, were carjacked, kidnapped, tortured, and murdered this past January.

That night the couple was having dinner and watching a movie at a friend's apartment off Washington Pike. It is the last time they were heard from.

Channon's father, Gary Christian, says he was the last one to speak to his daughter. She called home just after midnight, telling them she was going to be late.

"I said. 'Alright, be careful, and I love you.' That's the last thing she said to me, that she loved me," he said.

Gary and Deena Christian say life has been a living hell since that last phone call.

They say Channon and Christopher drove to the apartment complex in separate cars. Authorities believe they were carjacked as they tried to leave.

Christopher Newsom's body was found along railroad tracks behind 9th Street. He had been shot three times, burned, and wrapped in a blanket.

Police found Channon Christian's body in a home on Chipman Street.

Channon's mother, Deena Christian, says the loss has left a big hole in their hearts. "I think they were just at the wrong place, unfortunately at the wrong time."

The family has religiously attended every court hearing. Gary says it's the only thing he can do now to honor his daughter's memory.

He talked about how tense he gets when the accused killers are brought in. "That's pure hate. That ain't tense. I mean, they took our baby girl."

He refers to the suspects as a pack of "wild animals."

"It's no different from hunting back in East Texas, sitting in a deer stand and looking at a pack of wild dogs. They just bring them in one at a time," he says.

The murders have sparked worldwide interest. The Christians say they have received letters and cards from Chile, Switzerland, Alaska, and all over the United States.

Some people have called the murders a hate crime because the suspects are all black and both the victims are white.

But if you ask the Christians, the only color they see in all of this is the color of blood.

"I believe in my heart that wild animals come in lots of different colors. The end result is they're still wild animals," Gary says.

"I could care less if they were pink or purple or whatever color they were. They took our child. They took our daughter. They took Chris, took away from Newsom family," Deena adds.

Memories of Channon Christian are all over the family home. Pictures of her are everywhere. A scrapbook full of happier memories lies under the coffee table, a jar filled with flowers preserved from her funeral sits in a corner.

In a room upstairs is a picture signed by all her friends, and a quilt patched with her favorite T-shirts.

Family members describe Channon as a beautiful person, inside and out. Now her smile still lights up the home that is filled with grief.

Many Internet sites outline horrific details about the murders.

Channon's father said he cannot comment on the investigation, but he says 75 percent of what is outlined on those sites is simply not true. He calls them fallacies.

Four people have been arrested and charged for the murders: Lemaricus Davidson, Latalvius Cobbins, Vanessa Coleman and George Thomas.

The Knox County District Attorney's Office has not announced whether they plan to seek the death penalty in this case.

The Christians say they are hoping prosecutors will seek the death penalty.

All of the suspects in the case will appear in court for their next hearing on September 27. They will be tried separately for the crimes.

The first trial is expected to begin in May 2008.

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