Eleven years after the heinous deaths of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom, Eric Boyd has been arraigned on charges of felony murder, first-degree murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated rape in a 36-count indictment. Boyd was initially only convicted of accessory to the crime after the fact.
Boyd was arraigned in Knox County Felony Court Thursday morning. His court date has been set for Monday, September 10.
Channon Christian, 21, and her boyfriend Chris Newsom, 23, did not arrive at a friend’s party on January 6, 2007, and never returned home to their parents. The next day, a train conductor reported a body near the railroad tracks and 9th Avenue in East Knoxville.
It was learned the next day the bound and burned body was that of Chris Newsom. It was later revealed he had been raped, beaten and shot. Christian’s abandoned Toyota 4Runner was found not far from where Chris Newsom’s body had been found. On January 9, fingerprints in the car led to a house where a body was found and later identified as Christian.
Lemaricus Davidson, Latalvis Cobbins, George Thomas and Vanessa Coleman were tried and convicted for charges related to the murders. Davidson was sentenced to death while the three others received long prison sentences.
Boyd was convicted in April 2008 of charges of accessory after the fact and was sentenced to 18 years in prison. He was tried in federal court, not in state court as the other four suspects had been.
Boyd was transferred from a federal prison in Yazoo City, Mississippi and was booked in to Knox County jail Tuesday.
Gary Christian, Channon’s father, says he does not want to relive the trials all over again but is glad to see Boyd being punished.
“It’s not something that I want to do, but it’s important we do it,” said Christian. “In my opinion, Eric Boyd is going to hurt somebody when he get’s out of prison and that’s what I said I would not do is allow that to happen.”
Chris Newsom’s parents, Hugh and Mary Newsom, say they have been waiting on this news for a long time.
“Very excited, very happy to hear this news,” said Mary Newsom. “We have been waiting for this news for eleven years now and working towards getting to this place.”
Christian says this trial won’t bring justice.
“I don’t think that we are ever going to get true justice on this earth,” said Christian. “It will come but not here. I think closure, that’s a different story. I think I have my closure.”
The Newsoms, however, think it will do the opposite.
“I promised Chris justice,” said Mary Newsom. “I promised Chris that we would get whoever did this to him and I meant to keep that promise for as long as I live, so I would have kept fighting for this for the rest of my life. But closure, we’ll never have closure. You can’t bring Chris back. We miss him every single day”