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When Carjacking Turned Into Rape, Torture And Murder

The Slayings of Channon Christian and Christopher Newson,

On January 6, 2007 21-year-old Channon Christian and her boyfriend 23-year-old Christian Newson left their friends house to go grab food before watching movies in Knoxville, Tennessee; while they were sitting inside of their 4-Runner SUV, five suspects approached their vehicle and kidnapped them at gunpoint before bringing them back to the home of one of the perpetrators. Inside, the young couple experienced hellacious acts of sexual abuse and physical torture.

Channon and Christian were both described as caring, respectful, and empathetic people. They were both successful students in high school, with Channon graduating high school just years prior to the attack. Christian was a baseball player for the Halls High School Red Devils and Channon was in her senior year of college, majoring in sociology.

When the fingerprints of Lemaricus Davidson were found inside of their abandoned SUV, police obtained a search warrant for his home and discovered Channon’s decomposing remains stuffed inside of a large trash can inside of the kitchen. Shortly after, the remains of Christian were discovered at local train tracks and Lemaricus and his four accomplices were arrested. The deadly group claimed that the initial plan was to just carjack the couple, and couldn’t seem to provide an answer as to why the couple was raped, tortured, and murdered.

Knox County medical examiner Dr. Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan testified at the murder trials of the suspects and gave a clear image of the atrocities the perpetrators forced on Channon and Christian. She testified that Christian was repeatedly raped and sodomized, blindfolded, then led to nearby train tracks where he was shot in the back of the head, the neck, and the back before his body was set on fire. Once Christian was dead, Channon was kept alive for an entire day while she was gang raped, sodomized with some type of blunt object, and had chemicals poured down her throat; in order to eliminate physical evidence, Channon’s entire body and ravaged genital area was scrubbed with the same chemical poured down her throat. In order to kill her, she was hog tied with curtains and strips of bedding before a tight plastic bag was wrapped over her head and she was stuffed inside five more large trash bags; her autopsy revealed that she was alive when she was put inside of the trash can and suffocated to death.

George Thomas, Letalvis Cobbins, Lemaricus Davidson, Vanessa Coleman and Eric Boyd were all tried in separate trials. The attorney for George Thomas filed a motion that his client could not be forensically tied to the crime scene and his case was dropped. On April 16, 2007 Eric Boyd was found guilty of being an accessory to the carjacking and sentenced to a maximum of 18 years. Letalvis Cobbins was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for the first degree felony murder charge of Christian. In June of 2010 Lemaricus Davidson was found guilty of all four counts of capital murder and two counts of premeditated murder and sentenced to four consecutive life sentences. Vanessa Coleman was granted immunity for the carjacking charges but found guilty of rape and murder and sentenced to 53 years in prison.

After the presiding judge during their trials was disbarred for purchasing drugs and sex from convicts, all suspects were granted retrials. Vanessa Coleman was sentenced to 35 years minus time served and is eligible for parole in 2019.

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About Fehmeeda Farid Khan

A freelancer, blogger, content writer, translator, tour consultant, proofreader, environmentalist, social mobilizer, poetess and novelist. As a physically challenged person, she extends advocacy on disability related issues. She's masters in Economics and Linguistics along with B.Ed.

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