KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — In the early morning of January 7, 2007, three black males carjacked a vehicle driven by Channon Christian, 21, and her boyfriend, Christopher Newsom, 23. The men took the young couple to a house on Chipman Street, where the group tortured and killed them.
Hours later, police found Newsom’s body alongside railroad tracks near Chipman Street in East Knoxville.
Newsom’s killers had stuffed a sock in his mouth and bound his ankles with his belt. They tied his hands behind his back and wrapped his face in a bandana. Then, they covered his head with a sweatshirt fastened around his neck with shoestrings.
The men also sexually assaulted Christopher and forced him to walk barefoot to the railroad tracks, where they shot him three times, delivering the final shot execution-style.
Knoxville News-Sentinel reported, “As Christopher lay paralyzed on the ground, the muzzle of a .22-caliber gun was placed against his covered head and fired. His body would later be wrapped up in a comforter, doused in gasoline and set afire.”
Christian’s ordeal was far worse if you can imagine. The thugs tied her up inside the Chipman Street house of Lemaricus Davidson. The men repeatedly raped and sodomized her and savagely kicked or beat her in her genital area with an object.
Christian suffered two blows to the head, and the killers dragged her into the carpeted living room. One of the men sprayed bleach down her throat to destroy DNA evidence.
Then, the men hogtied her with strips of fabric from a bedding set. She was still alive when they placed her body into black garbage bags, wrapped her head in a white plastic grocery sack, and stuffed her body inside a trash can, where she eventually suffocated to death.
It was days before police found Christian’s body.
The thugs responsible for this crime are:
- Lemaricus Davidson — the ringleader. He was sentenced to death by lethal injection for his role in the rapes and murders.
- George Geovonni “Detroit” Thomas — sentenced to life in prison without parole.
- Letalvis “Rome” Cobbins — found guilty of the murders and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
- Eric DeWayne “E” Boyd — convicted in a federal court of aiding Davidson after the carjacking and murders. He is serving an 18-year prison sentence.
- Vanessa Coleman was acquitted of first-degree murder but sentenced to 53 years in prison for being a facilitator, not an active participant. She did absolutely nothing to save the young couple, especially Christian, who, at one point, the killers left alone in the house with Vanessa. She claimed she was innocent and forced to be there by the men. Yeah, sure.
The murders did not receive as much media attention as they should have, partly because the “rape” story at Duke University took precedence.
I REFUSE to put pictures of the killers in this post. If you want to know what they look like, Google them.
Update 8/13/19: Eric Boyd was found guilty of Channon and Christopher’s 2007 murder.
Update 2/10/15: One of my readers commented below that Coleman had a new trial and was re-sentenced. At her first trial, Coleman was sentenced to 53 years in prison for her part as a facilitator in the crimes against Channon. However, after a new trial in November 2013, Coleman was given a lesser sentence of 35 years in prison.
Coleman was up for parole because she had served eight years in prison in December 2014. However, she was denied parole at the hearing. She will be up for parole again in 2020. Update: She was denied again in December 2020.
Satterfield, Jamie. “Horror of Christian/Newsom killings in focus: What happened on Chipman Street.” Knoxville News-Sentinel, August 24, 2017. https://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/crime/2017/08/24/archives-horror-christian-newsom-killings-focus-what-happened-chipman-street/597805001/