Posted on December 2, 2011

Judge Grants New Trials in the Channon Christian, Chris Newsom Murders

WBIR, December 1, 2011

The four defendants–Lemaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, George Thomas and Vanessa Coleman–have all been sent back to prison, where they will stay through the new trials.

Special Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood presented a detailed account of illegal and unethical behavior by former judge Richard Baumgartner to feed a painkiller addiction prior to, during, and after the murder trials.

Because of the double jeopardy rule, none can be found guilty of any higher crime than their previous convictions. That means only Davidson is again eligible for the death penalty.

The victims’ families are now bracing for the new trials, which could take years.

“We’ve wasted four years of our life because of what he did,” said Mary Newsom, mother of Chris Newsom, about Baumgartner’s behavior.


Meanwhile, both Hugh Newsom and Gary Christian pointed out that they are upset at the conditions in which the prisoners live. Both say they have visited one of the state’s maximum security prisons and feel that that the prisoners there are treated much better than they should be.


Letalvis Cobbins though complained to the judge about his treatment, saying, each time he leaves prison, he is mistreated, calling it “dehumanizing.”

Judge Blackwood cut off Cobbins’ complaints and ordered him out of the courtroom.


Channon Christian and Chris Newsom were kidnapped, tortured, raped and murdered in January 2007. {snip}