KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The Tennessee Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence for the main suspect in the 2007 murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom in Knoxville.
Lemaricus Davidson sought to overturn his convictions on counts including first degree murder and two death sentences.
Davidson raised several issues, one of which was the legality of the search of his house based on a faulty affidavit. The Knoxville police officer who prepared it did not sign it. Neither the judge who issued it nor the assistant district attorney general noticed the admission.Previous story:Tennessee Supreme Court hears appeal in Lemaricus Davidson trial
The Supreme Court upheld that a signed affidavit is required and the warrant was invalid, making any evidence found as a result, including Christian’s body, inadmissible at trial. However, the court adopted a limited good-faith exception to the rule for a non-constitutional violation. The exception applies when a law enforcement officers carries out a search he or she believes in good faith to be valid but later turns out not to be because of the affidavit requirement.
The court also ruled Davidson’s statement to law enforcement was admissible in court, the court did not err in allowing family members to wear buttons with the victims’ photos, and the court did not err in allowing post-mortem photographs of the victims during trial.More coverage: Christian-Newsom Murders
Christian and Newsom went missing in January 2007 in North Knoxville. Newsom’s burned body was found the next day by the railroad tracks near Davidson’s home. He had been brutally raped and shot three times. Later, Christian’s vehicle as found down the street and police found a bank envelope in her back seat with Davidson’s fingerprint.
Police then searched Davidson’s house and found Christian’s body in a garbage can in the kitchen, beaten, raped and suffocated to death.
Davidson was found guilty in October 2009 of multiple counts of first degree felony murder, first degree premeditated murder, especially aggravated robbery, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated rape, facilitation of aggravated rape, and theft of property. He was then given two death sentences. The Tennessee Court of Appeals upheld the verdict and sentences last year.