In the Knoxville Horror case of the January 6-7, 2007 carjacking, kidnapping, beating, gang-rape, torture and murders of white Knoxville, Tennessee couple Channon Christian, 21, and Christopher Newsom, 23, by at leastÂ three blacks, and at least two other unknown men, four trials have so far been held, including that of a seventh figure, an accessory, with one more trial scheduled.
In a federal trial (because the charge was related to carjacking, a federal offense), career stick-up man Eric ”E” Boyd was convicted in April, 2008, and in October, 2008, sentenced to the maximum punishment of 18 years in prison, as an accessory after the fact to carjacking, for hiding then-fugitive Lemaricus ”Slim” Davidson.
In August, in the first state murder trial, Davidson’s half-brother, Letalvis ”Rome” Cobbins, was convicted on 33 out of 38 counts, and almost all major charges, including murder, rape, and kidnapping, and sentenced to ”life without parole” (”LWOP”; read: ”life until parole”).
In the just concluded murder trial of George Geovonni ”Detroit” Thomas, Thomas was convicted on all 46 counts, and sentenced to LWOP. It only came out during Thomas' trial that just after his January 11, 2007 police statement had ended,Â heÂ said of victim Channon Christian, ”F—k that white girl, she don’t mean nothing to me!”
But then, contrary to Knoxville officials' disclaimers,Â the atrocity was lousy with racist motives.Â Davidson had been a member of a racist gang in prison, Cobbins had opened the door to such questions regarding his half-brother, andÂ as the blogger A Race Against Time convincingly showed, at the time of the crime, Davidson was embittered over his white girlfriend having walked out on him, followingÂ the beatings he regularly gaveÂ her.
At least two additional, unidentified accomplices participated in the atrocity. Their DNA was found in sperm on and in Channon Christian’s underwear, and did not match the DNA of any other defendants, or that of her gang-raped, murdered boyfriend.
Several other friends of the since convicted killers have admitted under oath to having helped them escape arrest immediately after the murders, but have not been charged as accessories.
The last state murder trial scheduled, that of Vanessa Coleman, Cobbins’ girlfriend, who admitted to being present in the murder house at 2316 Chipman Street while the male convicts committed the atrocities, is in jeopardy, as today’s update from my reader-researcher David in Tennessee, and the linked Knoxville News Sentinel article by Jamie Satterfield show.
Here is the latest on Vanessa Coleman. Those who have looked at the whole scenario believe that Coleman is the one who beat Channon in her private parts. I think the state prosecutors didn't pursue an immunity deal because they are certain that Coleman took part in the torture. She wouldn't have been a good witness for the prosecution anyway.
In short, Vanessa Coleman couldn't play the Linda Kasabian role. In the major Manson trial prosecuted by Vince Bugliosi, Kasabian testified against Manson, Krenwinkel, Atkins, Van Houten, and later Tex Watson (in a separate trial).
When this affair started the excuses for not giving it wide coverage were these. It's a brutal murder but there will be more brutal murders, so it's no story. Second, the suspects have been arrested, no story. Third, the suspects will be convicted and probably sentenced to death, no story. It was just another crime, no story. After nearly three years, this is not how it has turned out.
In the first three trials, only one suspect received the death sentence. A jury was bused from Nashville, a very different place from Knoxville, declared "mitigation" and refused a death sentence in the first trial. Even the Tru TV defense attorney commentators were shocked that Cobbins didn't receive death. Each trial was fiercely contested by the defense, unlike the predictions. The victims were smeared as druggies in Davidson's trial. The defense claimed that Channon had "consensual sex" with him.
If the Davidson trial had received the national coverage Casey Anthony has gotten, more attention would have been paid by the public than any trial since O.J. Simpson. No story indeed.
Thanks for the update. I just read the article whose link you sent. Prosecutors commonly refer to suspects as "witnesses," when they are seeking to sucker them into incriminating themselves. But this is a bridge too far entirely.
However, the prosecutors do have a leg to stand on, and that leg is "dual sovereignty theory." It's a miserable leg, too, because it is the unconstitutional basis for federal hate crime laws, but if the courts will permit as a basis for prosecuting whites for so-called hate crimes, they must permit it for federally prosecuting blacks, too, and for state prosecutions where federal immunity deals have been made, as in the instant case.
I had had no idea that Coleman had participated in the torture, but reading her police statement was still surreal (PDF) (videos: I, II</a>, and III). She denied hearing any screams coming from the doorless room where they (and allegedly, she) were raping, beating, and torturing Channon Christian. And the next morning, by her own admission, she cooked the rapist-torturer-murderers a hearty breakfast.
Your deadpan dissection of the expediently changing anti-coverage propaganda is dead-on. Some lefties vociferously insist that the problem with the media is that they are only focused on ratings and circulation, but if that were so, we'd be getting 24/7 coverage of this crime, and others like it. Newspapers would rather go out of business, than cover such popular stories.