Judge Stacks 100 Years to Cobbins’ Life-Without-Parole Sentence

Jamie Satterfield, Knoxville News Sentinel, February 25, 2010

A Knox County judge today stacked 100 years to convicted killer Letalvis Cobbins’ life without parole sentence.

The time was for crimes committed leading up the deaths of Knox County couple Channon Christian, 21, and Christopher Newsom, 23, in January 2007.

“This is the worst of the worst,” Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner said. “If ever there was a case that deserved maximum sentencing, this case deserves maximum sentencing.”

The decision came after a hearing to determine whether Cobbins should receive additional punishment for crimes that preceded the deaths of the University of Tennessee student and her boyfriend, a trim carpenter.

Newsom’s father had made an extraordinary appeal to his son’s killer during the hearing.

“All you have to do is testify in a grand jury hearing stating who participated in grabbing Chris and Channon . . . all you have to do is make arrangements before you go back to prison to testify before a grand jury and at Eric Boyd’s trial,” Hugh Newsom told Cobbins.

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Newsom told Cobbins that in return he would ask the media to allow Cobbins to make a public appeal to “kids growing up in a situation like you did, telling them crime doesn’t pay.”

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Cobbins answered him with silence.

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Cobbins was convicted of their deaths and of kidnapping and robbing them and of raping Christian. He was acquitted of raping Newsom.

Cobbins was the first of four defendants to be tried in the case.

Davidson has been sentenced to death. Suspect George Thomas was sentenced to life without parole. Suspect Vanessa Coleman faces trial in May.

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