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.)


USDA Rural Development Invests in Three Renewable Energy Projects in Southeastern Tennessee

USDA Rural Development State Director Bobby Goode announced Friday multiple Rural Energy for America Program projects in three Southeastern Tennessee counties. Rural Development funds will be used to assist farmers and rural small businesses in developing renewable energy systems and making energy-efficiency improvements to their operations. "I applaud the efforts of farmers ... (click for more)

USDA RD Grant Assists With Two Utility Projects In Rhea County

USDA Rural Development State Director Bobby Goode announced Friday two Water and Environmental Program projects in Rhea County. Rural Development funds will be used to purchase a new Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System and a de-gassing tower. “The purchase of the new equipment will enable the utility districts in Rhea County to better serve their customers,” Dir. ... (click for more)

Maryville Police Department's Kenny Moats Was The Officer Slain Thursday

Officer Kenny Moats of the Maryville Police Department was shot and killed while responding to a domestic violence call on Thursday.  Officer Moats was with the department for over nine years and was currently serving as a drug enforcement agent. Assistant Commissioner David Purkey said, "It is with heavy heart that I express my condolences to the family and friends of ... (click for more)

Auto Burglary Thwarted In Bradley County

A man has been arrested in Bradley County, after attempting to steal a vehicle. On Thursday, Deputy Jessica Morgan observed a silver truck in a church parking lot on South Lee Highway. While checking the premises, Dep. Morgan observed a male wearing a black tank top and red shorts exiting the rear window of the cab into the bed of the truck. Once the suspect noticed Dep. Morgan, ... (click for more)

Pedestrians Have The Right Of Way

Often I visit Gold's Gym at Chestnut and 4th Street. I  park in the theater parking lot at Broad and 4th Street.  I depend on the walk signs to get me there safely.  Most days I almost get hit by someone turning left or right coming from the exit ramp off 27 or turning right on 4th street from Chestnut. This happened yesterday as I was almost mowed down by a garbage ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Abused By An EpiPen

It is a good guess that for about 30 years I have kept an EpiPen on the top of my refrigerator. I have never had to open the box, much less jab a dose of life-saving epinephrine into a person suffering from anaphylaxis. Whether it is a bee sting, peanut butter, shellfish or other allergies, I watched somebody come within inches of dying in my early 20s and swore I would have one ... (click for more)