KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A man who spent time in prison in West Tennessee is sharing his story about the time he spent with his cellmate – Lemaricus Davidson, the man considered the ringleader in the carjacking, torture and murders of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom. Davidson was sentenced to death after he was convicted.
In 2003 and 2004, Kelvin Cowans was behind bars in West Tennessee where he met Davidson. Both were serving time for aggravated robbery.
“We would compare our crimes and stuff and his was just always a little darker,” said Cowans.
Cowans, who is currently out of state, said via Skype he and Davision were cellmates and he thought they were friends – determined to turn their lives around.More details: 10 years since Christian-Newsom murders in Knoxville
“This was before the murders. This guy was like a brother to me. We played on the same basketball team. He was my barber. I was his barber. We played checkers all the time,” said Cowans.
Three years later, after they had both been released, Cowans learned about the horrendous crimes Davidson committed against Christian and Newsom. It made him remember a time he says he saw Davidson choking another inmate.
“I walked in and broke it up because it looked like to me he was about to kill him,” he said. “Seeing that and then hearing how he choked Channon Christian, it wasn’t farfetched for me because I had already experienced that with him in the penitentiary before he got out.”
Cowans wrote a book about his experience with Davidson called “The Most Evil Person I Ever Met.”
“I just thought it was so evil and I met a lot of weird evil people in the penitentiary. And he just turned out to be the most evil one I ever met.”
Cowans has also written another book about Eric Boyd and why he believes Boyd should face more charges in the crimes against Christian and Newsom. He’s not the only one who agrees. Cowans is now working with the Newsoms to push for Boyd to serve more time.
Chris Newsom’s body was found burned along some railroad tracks. Channon Christian’s body was found in a garbage can inside a small house nearby on Chipman Street.
Eventually four people were tried and convicted for their roles in the murders. A fifth man, Eric Boyd, was accused only as an accessory to the crimes. His case came first and while he’s serving time in federal prison, the accounts that came out in the following trials left many people wondering whether he should have shared more of the blame.
Now there’s an effort to keep pushing for justice in the double murder case that shocked our community 10 years ago.
“We made a promise to our son when he was in his body bag. We went to the funeral home and told him that we would get anyone who did this to him,” said Mary Newsom.
Lemaricus Davidson, George Thomas, Latalvis Cobbins, and Vanessa Coleman were convicted for their roles in the kidnapping torture and murders. Eric Boyd was charged with being an accessory after the fact.
“As it stands right now, Eric Boyd will get out in four to five years. We don’t want him out on the street to do again what he did,” said Mary Newsom.
“There’s no way around saying all these people were involved in this double kidnapping, torture and murder, but this person right here, they aren’t going to get judged to the fullest extent of the law when they provided the car for the crimes to even happen,” said Cowans.
Cowans, a former felon who turned his life around, began his own investigation into the crimes. He even met with the Newsoms for information. Now he’s written a book about his findings titled, “The Case Against Eric Boyd.”
“From a former criminal’s point of view, when I started to judge what it would take for two people to be carjacked and drive 3.1 miles, I was like it’s just impossible that just two people did this,” said Cowans.
What Cowans learned he wrote about in a new book. It also called him to action. He started a petition on change.org.More online:Sign the petition
“Starting a petition to indict Eric Boyd for his part in those horrible murders of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom, I thought it was the right thing to do,” said Cowans.
The Newsoms hope Boyd remains behind bars.
“We know what he is capable of now and it’s scary very scary,” said Mary Newsom.
The Newsoms support Cowans’ efforts and hope people sign the petition.Related:Families push for more charges for 5th person charged in Christian-Newsom case
When asked if Boyd will face additional charges, the district attorney’s office said:
“The decision was made in 2007 that there was not enough evidence to charge Eric Boyd with the murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. Nevertheless, General Allen treats this as an open investigation, and she continues to dedicate staff and resources to the case. Our extensive efforts have not revealed enough evidence to date that would alter the conclusion initially reached ten years ago. The investigation is ongoing, however, and General Allen is dedicated to working every angle of this case and looking into new leads as they may arise.”
Earlier this month, WATE 6 On Your SIde sat down with Knox County’s former sheriff and a Knoxville Police Department lieutenant on the case who knew the Newsom family beforehand. They shared their thoughts on Boyd and his role in the murders.
“I do think Eric Boyd had a lot more to play in it. I think he was there for the carjacking. I think he was there in the killing of Chris,” said KPD Lt. Tim Snodderly.
“I’d like to have seen him tried at the state level as well. There are many times the state will go ahead and yield to the federal government and I think that was the case here. But sure, 18 years was not enough for what happened to these two young children,” said former Knox County Sheriff Tim Hutchison.
“I always thought there had to be one other player involved and when you looked at the transportation. How do you get out to the east end and those sorts of things almost is impossible not for there to be another player but obviously we were never able to get a sufficient amount of evidence to even charge him, much less prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” said former district attorney Randy Nichols.