Christopher Newsom Jr, 23 & Channon Gail Christian, 21, January 7, 2007
Updated: Jun 28, 2022
WARNING: This is truly (to date) the most horrific deaths I have ever seen in all my years. Please be warned that this was the most difficult story I've had to write - it is unimaginable what these kids went thru, and what their families have since suffered. The content in the story is from the family's website and other news stories. It is disturbing to know that anyone could do something like this, nevertheless 5 of them. This is not for the weak.
Chris Newsom & Channon Christian headed out together to for a friend's birthday party. On their way there, they were attacked by two men with a gun, forced them both into the suspects vehicle where they were driven blindfolded to a house at 2316 Chipman Street in Knoxville, Tennessee. It is believed they were carjacked from their Washington Ridge Apartments about 10:30 p.m.
Approximately 12:30 a.m. Chris & Channon were forced to call their parents to say they would be late, without warning them of their danger. They were then bound, tortured, beaten and raped for hours, and subsequently murdered.
The next morning, the family received calls that neither of them attended the party, had any contact with anyone, and did not show up for work. The search began. The police refused to take the missing persons report for 24 hours. A decision they would later regret.
That didn't stop the parents. During their search, Channon's father located her vehicle. That vehicle was processed and confirmed the vehicle had been wiped down. Scrubbed down. They did, however find a print that traced back to their first suspect. Lemaricus Davidson, recently out of prison.
On January 8, a body was found. It was a man who had been burnt, and his body was still smoking, found near train tracks. Confirmed, Chris Newsom had been located, bound, shot three times, and set on fire.
On January 9th, they were finally able to get in to Davidson's house, where they found Channon's body, gang-raped, choked, bound and thrown in a garbage can inside the house with a bag over her head.
The next suspect was Davidson's girlfriend Daphne Sutton, who was living in Davidson's house at the time.
Sutton said that on January 7, Davidson was at the house with Thomas, Davidson’s half-brother, Letalvis Cobbins, and Vanessa Coleman. Sutton said she dropped Davidson off later that day at the home of a person named Eric Boyd.
Boyd led the police to Davidson where he was arrested.
Chris & Channon were targeted solely because Davidson needed a vehicle.
Household clean was poured in to Channon's mouth to remove evidence.
The autopsy showed their stomachs were empty and dry. The suspects took Chris out in the cold with a belt around his neck, with no shoes, ultimately shooting him on the railroad tracks, then lit him on fire and left him there alone.
They attacked Channon over a couple of days and tried to break her neck, then stuffed her into a large rubber trash can in the house with a bag over her head - still alive. Channon died with her eyes open. Channon suffocated to death.
Lemaricus Davidson was the owner of that house on Chipman Street. The other suspects, Eric Boyd, George Thomas, Daphne Sutton, Letalvis Cobbins and Vanessa Coleman.
Davidson was found guilty on two counts of premeditated murder and received the death penalty.
Thomas and Cobbins both got life sentences with no possibility of parole.
Coleman was sentenced to 53 years.
But that didn't end there. The judge was found causing his own crime, and the judgments were questioned to be thrown out. Ultimately, The State Supreme Court ruled that due to the DNA evidence in Davidson & Cobbins convictions, their sentences would stand. Thomas and Coleman were ordered new trials.
Coleman's resentencing reduced her initial sentence of 53 years down to 35 years.
Thomas' initial sentence was initially life with a possibility of parole after 51 years.
Boyd was found guilty of 36 charges and received two life sentences plus 90 years.
Chris & Channon
Chris was buried at the Woodhaven Memorial Gardens in Claxton, Anderson County, Tennessee.
Channon was buried at the Berry Highland West Memorial Park in Knoxville, Knox County, Tennessee
Our hearts go out to Chris & Channon's family and loved ones. No one could ever stand the suffering and torture each of you have suffered since the moment they disappeared. We hope there was some form of justice for you in the sentencing, and laying Chris & Channon to rest.
THEY LEAVE A LEGACY
Both Chris & Channon's legacy continues:
The Channon Christian Act was signed in 2014. Evidence of crimes, wrongs or acts are not admissible to prove the character of an individual including a deceased victim, defendant or witness. This measure was made to prevent the defense defaming or shaming the victim(s).
The Chris Newsom Act was signed in 2014, creating the assumption that a judge acts as the 13th juror following a unanimous verdict. It allows a new judge on case to act as a 13th juror in the event that the jury's verdict is unanimous.
Information accumulated thru:
The family website for Chris and Channon