Nicholas,(NS: As homicide detectives often say, there is no such thing as ”life without parole,” as opposed to life until parole or pardon.)
"HereÂ is a story from Tuesday's Knoxville News-Sentinel. Thomas' lawyers are appealing on the basis of not enough blacks on the jury. Also, there will be a hearing regarding the Vanessa Coleman case the last week of this month.
This is standard procedure in this kind of trial. Note that [defense attorney] Scott Green claimed that blacks were being "unfairly excluded" when 7 blacks were on the original panel for the Cobbins trial.
In these trials, the attorneys take the Johnnie Cochran approach. In his book and interviews, Cochran criticized the O.J. Simpson prosecutors for removing black jurors without mentioning that he worked to strip the jury of whites. Cochran said in his book that 9 out of 12 blacks for Simpson made a "diverse" jury.
A former prosecutor wrote me last night on the subject of parole for convicted murderers. He wrote that unless it is a high-profile crime, "My feeling is that most murderers will eventually be paroled." There will always be heavy public pressure against parole for the killers of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom. The Manson gang killers in the Tate-Labianca murders are still in prison after 40 years. Richard Robles, convicted in the 1963 Career Girls murders, has been in New York state prison for 45 years. Robles comes up for parole again this year."