Friday, December 02, 2011

Four Black Killers Of Channon Christian And Chris Newsom Granted New Trials Because Of Misconduct By Original Trial Judge Richard Baumgartner

In one of the more outrageous judicial rulings in the history of Knoxville, TN, the four black thugs who were tried and convicted of the torture and slaying of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom were granted new trials on December 1st, 2011 by Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood. Blackwood ruled that former judge Richard Baumgartner did not exercise his role of 13th juror in that he did not sign off on the final verdict in any of the four trials. In addition, Blackwood revealed alleged misconduct by Baumgartner during the time of the initial trials, to include doctor shopping and falsifying drug test results for a woman he was seeing. Judge Blackwood called the evidence of Baumgartner's crimes humiliating to judges everywhere, and said the records left him no choice but to throw out convictions against the four defendants and order new trials for Lemaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, George Thomas, and Vanessa Coleman. Davidson was sentenced to death, Cobbins and Thomas to life, and Coleman to 53 years for their roles in the brutal kidanpping, rape, torture, and murder of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom.

Read the 20-page copy of exhibits prompting Judge Blackwood's decision HERE.

Blackwood's labeling of "structurally" flawed trials presided over by Baumgartner in the Christian/Newsom case meant that no actual error by the disgraced judge had to be shown in order to merit new trials. Blackwood also said defendants can now reasonably claim Baumgartner's decision-making was biased toward the prosecution. Because new trials have been ordered, Blackwood even claimed that all but Davidson were entitled to ask to be freed on bond, but none of the defense lawyers were audacious enough to request it at Thursday's hearing. So all four remain in custody. While no specific trial dates were set, Blackwood did set a January 12th date to hear motions. WBIR Channel 10 notes that because of the double jeopardy rule, none of the four can be found guilty of any higher crime than their previous convictions. That means only Davidson is again eligible for the death penalty. WVLT Channel 8 news video embedded below:



Baumgartner stepped down and pleaded guilty in March 2011 to a felony official misconduct charge after a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) probe found he had purchased pills from a probationer in his court. He was said to be taking as many as 30 pills per day, including hydrocodone, oxycodone, and OxyContin, while on the bench, even during the Christian-Newsom trials. He was given a suspended sentence of two years and granted judicial diversion in order that he could keep his pension. He was disbarred in October 2011. Many more details of Baumgartner's addiction and resultant misconduct are published in a Knoxville News-Sentinel story entitled "Highlights of TBI file shows depth of Baumgartner's addiction"



Reaction: An unscientific poll of News-Sentinel readers indicates that 44 percent of respondents are angry and 13 percent feel betrayed so far. Gary Christian said "Now we've got four or five more years to live in hell...We were told not to cry (in front of the juries) by a man on more narcotics than an elephant should be able to stand." Chris Newsom's mother, Mary, said in reference to Baumgartner "He's taken four years of our lives away...I never imagined anything like this. Yes, I'm angry. He should have known better. He should have stepped down."

Stormfront is also bubbling over with outrage; one person wrote "As I understand it, the judge did not find the defendants guilty, the jury did. So what difference would the judge's condition make? Did he rule incorrectly to a defense objection? Next thing they will claim they cannot get a fair trial anywhere because the case is becoming well known". On the Vanguard News Network Forum, OTPTT, who was at the first rally against black crime in Knoxville in May 2007, wrote "So what date is the next rally? I have a sign cutter this time around and can make everyone a professional quality sign or banner. I can't pay all of the materials but will certainly contribute my time and labor. However, I will donate what materials I have to another rally". But with four different trials to be held and no trial dates yet set, it's difficult to determine just when a rally would have the maximum effect.

In any event, the fact that four murderers get new trials, even though the chances that any of them might be freed are slim, is absolutely outrageous. It was the juries who determined the defendant's guilt, not the judge.

4 comments:

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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

3:46,
What does peddling a magazine have to do with this horrible crime? Don't you think it's a bit inappropriate to be running an ad?

HangOne said...

This is bull. These four deserve death only. Not a new trial. And Yes, I would say the same if they were white !