Stevie Phillips: Jury Convicts In Retrial Of Vanessa Coleman

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - by Stevie Phillips
Stevie Phillips
Stevie Phillips
After an 11-hour deliberation on Tuesday, a Jackson County jury found Vanessa Coleman guilty on 13 of 17 counts of facilitation to commit the first degree murder of Channon Christian.  A sentencing date has not been set, but Coleman is expected to spend decades in jail.  

Christian and her boyfriend, Christopher Newsom, were killed in 2007.  Newsom was shot and his body burned on railroad tracks. Christian was repeatedly raped by Letalvis Cobbins, Lemaricus Davidson, and George Thomas before she was left to suffocate in a trash can. 

Cobbins, Davidson, and George were convicted and sentenced on crimes related to the incident in 2009. Coleman was tried in May 2010.  She was acquitted of any role in the crimes against Newsom but found to be a facilitator in the crimes against Christian.  Presiding Judge Richard Baumgartner sentenced Coleman to 53 years. Subsequently, Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood ordered a new trial after Baumgartner admitted to using prescription drugs during Coleman's trial. 

Double jeopardy prevents Coleman from being retried on the crimes connected to Newsom because she was previously found not guilty.  Next month, a new judge is scheduled to decide whether the three male defendants should also be retried as a result of Baumgartner’s misconduct. 

Read the jury verdict form.  

(Stevie Phillips is an attorney at Davis & Hoss and may be reached at stevie@davis-hoss.com or 423 266-0605.)



TBI Releases Annual Statewide Crime Study, Revealing Increases Across Tennessee

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation released its 2017 ‘Crime in Tennessee’ report on Friday, revealing a slight overall increase in reported instances of crime in the most recent reporting year. The annual study compiles data reported from each law enforcement agency in the state through the Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System (TIBRS). The TBI’s sophisticated crime ... (click for more)

Reliance Partners Announces New V.P. Of Risk Services, John Seidl

Reliance Partners announced the addition of John Seidl as V.P. of Risk Services. Mr. Seidl is recognized as a leading expert in DOT commercial transportation compliance.   As a former Wisconsin State Motor Carrier Trooper and FMCSA investigator with more than 20 years of experience in risk services, Mr. Seidl is well-versed in the transportation insurance space. He ... (click for more)

Robert Gillisse Was Pilot Killed In Plane Crash At Collegedale Airport

The pilot who was killed in a plane crash on the runway of the Collegedale Airport on Friday evening has been identified as Robert Gillisse, 62, of Ooltewah . Charles Swain, who is the director of the airport, said the plane was a total loss. It was a single-occupant plane. He said the plane was taking off when it crashed. He said Mr. Gillisse frequently had flown out of ... (click for more)

East Ridge To Build Open-Air Pavilion Near City Hall

East Ridge plans to construct an open-air pavilion that will include restrooms and a concession area near City Hall and the old McBrien School.  It will be part of a Town Center for East Ridge at the Tombras Avenue property. The city is also applying for a $500,000 grant to help convert Pioneer Park into a refurbished park with a splash pad. The firm of Hefferlin and ... (click for more)

A Tribute For My Brother – Sgt. Jonathan Gardner, U.S. Army

Seven years ago today, my family and I found out that my brother, Sgt. Jonathan D. Gardner, was seriously injured by a roadside bomb, (explosively formed penetrator - EFP), while on a mission in Kuwait. The EFP went through the bottom of his seat and put a softball size hole in his upper thigh. The doctors said that if the bomb had entered the Humvee an inch to the right, he ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

All of us who marvel at the sound of bagpipes at a funeral realize the majesty that people like piper Scottie Maclellan can lend to any “homecoming” and for years there has been a wonderful tale out of Nova Scotia that leads this week’s parade of The  Saturday  Funnies. Mind you, I do not write these stories, as many who have followed man’s laughter down through the ... (click for more)