The parents of a young couple brutally murdered after a January 2007 carjacking expressed relief this afternoon, while the attorney for Eric Dewayne "E" Boyd (who is pictured above) said he would appeal the verdict of a federal jury that found Boyd guilty of being an accessory to the carjacking. Full story published April 16th, 2008 in the Knoxville News-Sentinel. Additional sources include WVLT Channel 8 Knoxville, HERE and HERE, and WATE Channel 6 Knoxville.
Update: WVLT's April 17th post-trial interview with the Christian family HERE.
Verdict currently being discussed on Stormfront and on several threads in this Vanguard News Network sub-forum. And HERE is a Topix Forum about the verdict that anyone can post to; no registration required.
After a seven-day trial which ended Tuesday April 15th, jurors began deliberations around 9:30 A.M. on April 16th and reached their verdict around 2:30 P.M. after asking U.S. District Court Judge Tom Varlan whether Boyd had to be found to have committed all four acts specified in his indictment - receiving, relieving, comforting and assisting accused ringleader Lemaricus "Slim" Davidson - or whether the law required only that Boyd be found to have committed one or more of those acts. Boyd, 35, helped to hide out Davidson, the accused ringleader in the carjacking, torture and slaying of University of Tennessee student Channon Christian, 21, and her boyfriend, Christopher Newsom, 23.
Varlan ruled that the legal standard was receiving, relieving, comforting or assisting - not all four - and jurors took less than an hour from that explanation to reach their verdict.
Boyd also was found guilty of "misprison of a felony" - that is, failure to notify law enforcement of the whereabouts of someone you know has committed a crime. He faces a maximum of 15 years imprisonment on the accessory charge and seven years on the second count. Because he is a convicted robber already, he faces the high end of the penalty range. A rumor has surfaced on Topix that he will get eight years probation - it has not been confirmed.
"One down. Four to go," said Gary Christian, father of Channon Christian, referring to the four suspects who face trials in state court for the killings of Channon, then 21, and her boyfriend, 23-year-old Christopher Newsom. And Deena Channon also weighed in. "We do this for Channon," said Channon's mother, Deena. "We've been through the worst. We and the Newsoms have lost our children. We can endure anything." Only three men are charged in the slayings - Lemaricus Davidson, Letalvis "Rome" Cobbins and George "Detroit" Thomas.
And the Newsoms also weighed in. Hugh Newsom began to cry as he said, "It doesn't take the hurt away for the loss of a great son, but at least there's some consolation that this guy is off the street and he'll be off the street for a long time and not be able to hurt anyone else." His wife, Mary Newsom, credited federal prosecutors David Jennings and Tracy Stone. "It was kind of like Christmas morning, like you can't wait," she said of awaiting the verdict. "These kids surely didn't deserve anything that happened to them."
Knoxville Police Department Sgt. Tim Snoderly praised KPD investigator Todd Childress and ATF agent Rebecca Bobich, who led the probe. "We've got a long way to go," Snoderly said. "We've started off on a winning note and we're extremely happy with that."
Defense attorney Phil Lomonaco, a private attorney appointed to represent Boyd, said he would appeal. "It's a tough case. We knew it was going to be. It was a close case, I believe." He said Boyd was "in good spirits."
Expert graphic testimony undoubtedly swayed the jury. Late Monday afternoon and early Tuesday morning, jurors heard graphic testimony from Knox County Acting Medical Examiner Dr. Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan about the deaths of Newsom and Christian. She told jurors that Newsom was repeatedly raped and then blindfolded, gagged, arms and feet bound and his head covered. Barefoot, he was either led or dragged outside the house to a set of nearby railroad tracks, where a gun was placed to the back of his head and fired. He was shot twice more, once in the neck and once in the back. His body was then set afire.
Christian's death would come only after hours of sexual torture, Mileusnic-Polchan testified. "It's much more than a simple sexual assault," she said. "It's extreme." Christian suffered horrific injuries to her vagina, anus and mouth. She was not only raped but savaged with "an object," the doctor testified. She was beaten in the head. Some type of chemical was poured down her throat, and her body, including her bleeding and battered genital area, likely scrubbed with the same solution - all while Christian was alive.
She was then "hog-tied," with curtains and strips of bedding, her face covered tightly with a small white trash bag and her body stashed inside five large trash bags before being placed inside a large trash can and covered with sheets. Christian died slowly, suffocating. "My conclusion was she actually died in the trash can," Mileusnic-Polchan testified.
While Boyd was not charged in either the carjacking or the slayings, testimony during the trial raised the spectre that Boyd not only participated in the carjacking but was present at the Chipman Street house immediately following the couple's kidnapping. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Jennings pointed to testimony from Waste Connections of Tennessee employee Xavier Jenkins as proof Boyd was at the Chipman Street house when the couple were being held captive.
WBIR Channel 10 Knoxville interviewed one of the jurors after the trial. "It took a long time. We really weighed it," juror Betty Emery said. "Even when we determined he was guilty, we were still trying to figure out, is he not guilty? We wanted to do what was right for him, because this man's future is in our hands". Emery was one 16 jurors picked to listen to witness after witness and look at picture after picture over the last week. She was also one of 12 ultimately chosen to decide Boyd's guilt or innocence.
Emery admits believing some witnesses weren't telling the whole truth on the stand, but maintained that the jury took everything into consideration when coming to Wednesday's unanimous decision, guilty on all counts. "We all talked about if we would feel good when we leave here. Can we sleep good tonight? Down the road how are we going to feel? Can we tell our grandchildren about this with a good conscience?" Emery said. "We all felt like in our hearts what we did was right."
So who's next? Here's the rest of the rogue's gallery:
- Lemaricus Davidson faces 46 counts including felony murder, premeditated murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated rape and theft.
- Letalvis Cobbins faces 46 counts including 16 counts of felony murder, two counts of premeditated murder, two counts of especially aggravated robbery, four counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, 20 counts of aggravated rape and two counts of theft.
- George Thomas faces 46 counts including 16 counts of felony murder, two counts of premeditated murder, two counts of especially aggravated robbery, four counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, 20 counts of aggravated rape and two counts of theft.
- Vanessa Lynn Coleman, 18, faces 40 counts including 12 counts of felony murder, one count of premeditated murder, one count of especially aggravated robbery, four counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, 20 counts of aggravated rape and two counts of theft.
Commentary: This atrocity, originally covered only by the local Knoxville media and ignored by the national media (in contrast to the Jena Six, who were fawned over by the national media), was abruptly thrust into the national consciousness by the white nationalist community, which was outraged over the lack of national interest. Two venues, the Vanguard News Network and Stormfront, each organized and led rallies at Knoxville protesting the lack of national coverage.
VNN's rally, held on May 26th, 2007, is discussed in greater length in these posts and focused not on the hate crime aspect, but on the issue of coerced integration. Alex Linder, Hal Turner, and the troops promoted the idea that forcible mixing of blacks with whites exposed whites to greater danger. Linder also endeavored to alert people to the role of Jewish supremacism in aiding and abetting the civil rights movement which led to coerced integration.
The Stormfront rally, held on June 16th, 2007, and discussed at length in these posts, but actually organized and led by Pastor Ken Gregg, focused more on the hate crime aspect. The question: Why is a white-on-black crime considered a hate crime, but not a black-on-white crime?
And many people nationwide, particularly those within the greater white community, were so outraged over the ferocity of the crime and the national media coverup that they suspended their normal bias against the white nationalist movement and joined them unofficially in criticizing the absence of coverage. Charlie Daniels was one of the leading mainstream figures to critique the lack of coverage.