Posted on August 15, 2019

Jury Finds Eric Boyd Guilty of Grisly 2007 Knoxville Murders

Jamie Satterfield, Knoxville News Sentinel, August 13, 2019

A Knox County jury on Tuesday declared Eric Boyd guilty in the 2007 murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom.

The seven-woman, five-man jury had deliberated since Monday before returning its verdict of first-degree murder in the Knox County Criminal Court trial on Tuesday afternoon.

Channon Christopher and Christopher Newsom

The verdict carries an automatic life sentence for each of the two slayings. Judge Bob McGee will decide at a Sept. 18 sentencing hearing whether those two life sentences should be stacked one onto the other and what, if any, extra punishment Boyd should receive for the related crimes, including kidnapping and rape.

Boyd is the fifth defendant to stand trial in the slayings of Christian, 21, and Newsom, 23.

‘We made a promise to Chris’


“We said we would not stop until Eric Boyd was prosecuted,” Newsom’s father, Hugh Newsom, said after the verdict. {snip}


Davidson and three others — Letalvis Cobbins, Davidson’s brother; Vanessa Coleman, Cobbins’ girlfriend; and George Thomas, Cobbins’ friend — each admitted they were inside the Chipman Street house while the couple was being held captive but all denied any active role in the crimes.

All four were indicted in the slayings and underlying crimes, including rape and kidnapping. Davidson, Cobbins and Thomas were convicted of all crimes committed against the couple, while Coleman was acquitted of crimes involving Newsom and deemed a facilitator only in the crimes committed against Christian.

Davidson is now on death row. Cobbins is serving life without parole. Coleman is serving 35 years.

Thomas was serving a 127-year sentence in the case until he secretly agreed last year to testify against Boyd in return for a 50-year sentence. State prosecutors then sought an indictment against Boyd in the slayings. {snip}

Key witness testimony

Prosecutors TaKisha Fitzgerald and Phil Morton staked their case against Boyd on testimony from three people — Adrienne Nicole Mathis, Xavier Jenkins and Thomas.

Mathis testified in Boyd’s federal trial that she loaned Boyd her white Pontiac Sunbird on the weekend of the slayings. Jenkins said he saw that Sunbird outside the Chipman Street house on the night of the kidnapping, and Thomas implicated Boyd in the couple’s kidnapping and Newsom’s slaying.


Frazier branded Thomas and Jenkins as liars. He made no mention of Mathis, though. There’s good reason: Mathis had repeatedly testified in prior trials that she loaned her Sunbird to Boyd. But when called to testify against Boyd last week, Mathis said she didn’t remember.

Her claim of memory loss left prosecutors Fitzgerald and Morton with nothing tying Boyd to the Sunbird. But Judge Bob McGee later ruled the prosecutors could use Mathis’ previous testimony in the federal trial as evidence in the slaying case.

Despite his plea deal, Thomas kept mum about many details of the crimes.

He claimed he didn’t see anyone rape Newsom or Christian. He claimed he only saw the “muzzle flashes” from the gun used to kill Newsom and not the killing itself. He claimed he didn’t see Christian being stuffed into the trash can or Newsom’s body being set afire.


[Editor’s Note: Nicholas Styx’s discussion of the gruesome murders is available here. Other news stories posted on the AR site are listed here.]