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Horror in Knoxville update: Trial stalled for one year

By Michelle Malkin  •  July 14, 2008 02:56 PM

It must be maddening for the families of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. I know you haven’t forgotten the young couple brutally murdered in a racially-charged case in Knoxville, TN. I haven’t, either. The latest? Justice delayed in the trial of suspect George Thomas:

Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner today granted a request to drop the speedy trial for one of four suspects in the torture-slayings of a Knoxville couple more than a year ago.

Attorneys for George “Detroit” Thomas said they dropped the request after receiving new information from prosecutors last week.

Among the information were 260 pages of interviews by federal agents.

Thomas is charged in the January 2007 slayings of Channon Christian, 21, and Christopher Newsom, 23. Prosecutors say the couple was carjacked and robbed and then taken to a Chipman Street residence where both were beaten, raped and slain.

Thomas originally was to be the last of the four to be tried, but his attorneys pressed for a speedy trial.

Baumgartner granted that request, and Thomas’ trial was to begin Aug. 11.

He now will be tried last, with a trial date set for Aug. 10, 2009.

Investigators say Newsom was shot and his body burned. Christian’s abuse lasted hours longer and she eventually was hog-tied and stuffed into a trash can where she suffocated.

Others charged with the brutal slayings are Letalvis Cobbins, Lemaricus Davidson and Cobbins’ girlfriend, Vanessa Coleman.

All four face the death penalty if convicted.

Some 700 people had been tapped as potential jurors in the case.

The judge in the case had earlier ruled that prosecutors can use Thomas’s jailhouse conversations as incriminating evidence in the trial.

Maybe when the Washington Post’s massive staff gets through with its 12-part series on Chandra Levy’s murder, they can spare a reporter or two to cover the ongoing horror in Knoxville.