KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — It has been 14 years since 21-year-old Channon Christian and 23-year-old Chris Newsom were brutally murdered. In the years since, their families have fought for justice while also honoring their memories.
The randomness of the crimes left the community in fear and the victims’ families have been forced to constantly relive the nightmare, appearing in court hundreds of times in their pursuit of justice — which has also resulted in several new laws and five people in prison for their crimes.
Lemaricus Davidson, the alleged ringleader of the carjacking, kidnapping, rapes and murders was sentenced to death. Letalvis Cobbins is serving life without parole.
George Thomas is serving two consecutive life terms. Eric Boyd was given two life sentences plus 90 years.
Late last year, Vanessa Coleman, who was deemed a facilitator and sentenced to 35 years, was denied parole.
Channon Christian, 21, and her boyfriend Chris Newsom, 23, did not arrive at a friend’s party on Jan. 6, 2007, and never returned home to their parents. They were last seen at the Washington Ridge Apartments. The next day, a train conductor reported a body near the railroad tracks and Ninth Avenue in East Knoxville. The next day it was learned the bound and burned body was that of Chris Newsom and later it was revealed he had been raped, beaten and shot. Channon’s abandoned vehicle was found nearby.
On Jan. 9, 2007, fingerprints in the car led to a house at 2316 Chipman St. A body was found, but not immediately identified. Friends and family feared the worst and later investigators confirmed Channon Christian was dead. She was found in a trash can — beaten, raped and with bleach poured down her throat. The medical examiner determined she suffocated in the trash can.
Since the discovery of their bodies, the manhunt that followed and the arrests and later convictions of those held responsible for the young couple’s deaths; the convicted who remain behind bars continue to exercise their legal rights in the appeals process and court dates continue.
The latest proceeding occurred in December 2020.
We will continue to update this ongoing story, developing since 2007, as we learn more.