Wednesday, August 19, 2009

TNB On Trial: Day Three Of The Letalvis Cobbins Trial In Knoxville; Recording Of The Cobbins Interrogation Played In Court

Note: All posts on the Letalvis Cobbins trial available HERE; the most current post will appear first.

Day Three of the trial of Letalvis Cobbins in the Christian-Newsom murder case is in the books, and the highlights were a dispute over witness immunity and the recording of Cobbins' interrogation.

Before the jury was brought in Wednesday morning, the attorneys argued about testimony given by Vincent Wernimont on Tuesday August 18th. Vincent Wernimont had testified that he thought federal authorities granted him immunity. He was recalled to the stand after the jury came in Wednesday and testified that he understood he wasn't granted immunity.

Then Natasha Hays was called to the stand. She lived in Kentucky and knew Cobbins, Vanessa Coleman, George Thomas and Stacey Lawson, who testified Tuesday. Hays said she came to Knoxville with the group at times, and met Davidson in mid-December 2007. Cobbins stayed at Hays' house after the murders. She testified that she wasn't aware of the killings, but overheard him say, "if I go down I'm taking you all with me."

But the main attraction was the two-hour recording of the interrogation of Letalvis Cobbins. During the first hour, the recording showed how Cobbins was resistant at first, but slowly broke down as the police wore away his reserve. Note that the cops were actively planting in Cobbins' mind the possibility that Lemaricus Davidson was the "bad guy" in the deal in order to induce Cobbins' cooperation; this strategy appears to be continuing during the trial. But it was during the second hour that Cobbins broke loose and "bared his soul", so to speak. Here's the pertinent excerpt from the WATE Channel 6 story:

He slowly began to open up, saying that Davidson said he was going on a robbing spree and to carjack some people. Cobbins said Davidson asked him to join in, but he said, "I love you, but I'm not dying for you, bro."

On the night of the carjacking, Cobbins claimed he was in a car with Davidson and he thinks Eric Boyd, who was later convicted as an accessory to the murders and sentenced to 18 years. Cobbins said they went to Washington Ridge Apartments and Davidson and Boyd went up to Christian's SUV and carjacked it as the couple was kissing. He said he followed the SUV back to Chipman Street.

Cobbins said he left and returned later to find white "dude" (Newsom) and Boyd (?) gone. He also said the white girl (Christian) was with Davidson. Cobbins described Christian sitting in the living room and told Jones, "She looked terrified." Cobbins said Davidson and Boyd brought Christian and Newsom into the house and tied them up. He also said Boyd left later with Newsom and a gun to his back.

Cobbins claimed Davidson took Christian, who was blindfolded with her hands tied, into a bedroom. He said later he saw her sitting in the living room without a blindfold. Cobbins said he left the house with Coleman and Thomas and when he returned the next afternoon, the couple was gone.

The prosecution then called a number of forensic witnesses to flesh out the testimony. Afterwards, Channon Christian's parents said they had no sympathy listening to Cobbins' interrogation. They described his admissions as one lie after another, finally getting to the truth that he was involved in the carjacking that led to the murders. "He may be a coward, but he did what he did and he knows he did it and he needs to pay for it," Deena Christian said. "I'd be crying too if I was him," Gary Christian said. "He got caught. He got busted. That's why he was crying, not because he was scared of his brother," Deena added. WATE Channel 6 news video available via YouTube below:

Additional information on today's proceedings available at the links provided below.

Media links:

-- Knoxville News-Sentinel: Guns found after slayings don't match up.
-- Knoxville News-Sentinel: Carjack/slaying trial, Day 3: Witness' immunity claim in question.
-- Knoxville News-Sentinel Photo Gallery of Day Three.
-- WATE Channel 6: On tape: Crying Cobbins tries to deny involvement in murders. Includes video.
-- WBIR Channel 10: Cobbins Trial Day 3: Defense describes Cobbins' crying like a little girl. Includes direct video link HERE.
-- WVLT Channel 8: LIVE BLOG: Cobbins' Christian-Newsom murder trial, day 3
-- WVLT Channel 8: Video of 5:30 P.M. report.
-- WVLT Channel 8: Video of 6:00 P.M. report.

Discussion links:

-- VNN Forum: Channon Christian - Christopher Newsom Murder Trial Coverage
-- Stormfront: Live coverage of the Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom Trial
-- The Phora: Knoxville trials. Christian and Newsom

1 comment:

LARS said...


Lawyer: FBI Paid Right-Wing Blogger Charged With Threats
By David Kravets August 19, 2009 4:00 pm

A notorious New Jersey hate blogger charged in June with threatening to kill judges and lawmakers was secretly an FBI “agent provocateur” paid to disseminate right-wing rhetoric, his attorney said Wednesday.

Hal Turner, the blogger and radio personality, remains jailed pending charges over his recent online rants, which prosecutors claim amounted to an invitation for someone to kill Connecticut lawmakers and Chicago federal appeals court judges.

But behind the scenes the reformed white supremacist was holding clandestine meetings with FBI agents who taught him how to spew hate “without crossing the line,” according to his lawyer, Michael Orozco.

“Almost everything was at the behest of the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” Orozco said in a 45-minute telephone interview from New Jersey. “Their job was to pick up information on the responses of what he was saying and see where that led them. It was an interesting dynamic on what he was being asked to do.”

“He’s a devoted American,” added the lawyer, who claims Turner was paid “tens of thousands of dollars” for his service.

Bill Carter, an FBI spokesman, said in a telephone interview the bureau’s policy is “to neither confirm nor deny whether an individual has an association with the FBI.”

Turner’s alleged 5-year-long bureau stint ended sometime in 2007, Orozco said, the year the mischievous online group, Anonymous, briefly shuttered his site — — with a denial of service attack. At the time, hackers also posted what appeared to be private e-mails between Turner and the FBI.

The e-mails are legitimate, said Orozco. The FBI approached Turner, now 47, in 2002, and he spewed rhetoric about politics, white supremacy, immigration, abortion and other hot-button issues for years in exchange for government cash.

Turner was arrested in June at his apartment in suburban New Jersey.

According to court documents, (.pdf) after a three-judge panel of the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit of Appeals upheld a Chicago handgun ban, he blogged that the judges should be “killed.”

“Let me be the first to say this plainly: These judges deserve to be killed. Their blood will replenish the tree of liberty. A small price to pay to assure freedom for millions,” he wrote.

A day later he posted addresses, photos, maps and other identifying information about Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook and Judges Richard Posner and William Bauer, the authorities said. State charges are also pending in Hartford, Connecticut, where Turner is accused of inciting readers to “take up arms” against state lawmakers.

Though the alleged threats came after his FBI service ended, Orozco said Turner’s relationship with the FBI is relevant to his defense.

“It is not trivial that the very government that trained an individual where the line was is prosecuting him when he has not stepped over the line,” Orozco said.

In addition, he is banking (.pdf) on the First Amendment to save his client’s skin.

“It’s a protected political statement. He opined,” Orozco said. “He said they deserved to be killed. He did not say grab a gun and go out and do what is necessary.”

goodnight gracie!