Murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom
|Murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom|
|Location||Knoxville, Tennessee, United States|
|Date||January 6, 2007|
|Murder, rape, torture, kidnapping, carjacking|
|Perpetrators||Letalvis D. Cobbins, Lemaricus D. Davidson, George Thomas, Eric Boyd, Vanessa Coleman|
No. of participants
Channon Gail Christian, 21, and Hugh Christopher Newsom, Jr., 23, were from Knoxville, Tennessee. They were kidnapped the evening of January 6, 2007 when Christian's vehicle was carjacked, and taken to a rental house, where both of them were raped, tortured, and murdered. Four males and one female were arrested and charged in the case. The grand jury indicted four of the suspects on counts of capital murder, robbery, kidnapping, rape, and theft, while a fifth was indicted on federal charges of carjacking.
Of the four charged at the state level, three (Letalvis D. Cobbins, Lemaricus Davidson, and George Thomas) had multiple prior felony convictions. After a jury trial, Davidson was convicted and sentenced to death by lethal injection. Cobbins and Thomas were convicted and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Vanessa Coleman was convicted and sentenced to 53 years in prison for facilitating the crimes, and Eric Dewayne Boyd was convicted and sentenced to 18 years in federal prison for being an accessory after the fact to carjacking.
The state convictions were all initially set aside because of misconduct by the presiding judge, who has since been disbarred. Retrials were originally slated for the summer and fall of 2012. The orders for retrials of Davidson and Cobbins were subsequently overturned by the Tennessee State Supreme Court, and their convictions and sentences stand. The Coleman and Thomas retrials resulted in convictions, but with a reduced sentence for Coleman (35 years) and the same sentence for Thomas.
Channon Christian (Born April 29, 1985, Nacogdoches, Texas) moved from Louisiana to Tennessee with her family in 1997. She was a graduate of Farragut High School (2003) and a senior majoring in sociology at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Christopher Newsom (born September 21, 1983), Knoxville, was a former baseball player for the Halls High School Red Devils, graduating in 2002.
Christian and Newsom were leaving an apartment together on the evening of January 6, 2007 to go to a friend's party when they were abducted via her car from the apartment complex parking lot. Worried about not hearing from their daughter, Christian's parents sought help from her mobile phone provider. They found her abandoned Toyota 4Runner on Monday, January 8. Police recovered an envelope from the vehicle that yielded fingerprint evidence leading them to Lemaricus Davidson of 2316 Chipman Street, an address two blocks from Christian's car. When police went to the address on Tuesday, January 9, they found the house unoccupied and Christian's body in a trash can in the kitchen.
Newsom's body was discovered near a set of nearby railroad tracks. He had been bound, blindfolded, gagged, and stripped naked from the waist down. He had been shot in the back of the head, neck, and back, and his body had been set on fire. According to the testimony of the Knox County Acting Medical Examiner, Dr. Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan, at the trial of Eric Boyd, Newsom was sodomized with an object and raped by a person. Police believe these actions took place at the house and his body was later wrapped and abandoned.
The medical examiner said that Christian died after hours of torture, suffering injuries to her vagina, anus, and mouth in repeated sexual assaults. Bleach was poured down her throat and used to scrub her body while she was alive in an attempt by her attackers to remove DNA evidence. She was bound with curtains and strips of bedding, her face covered with a trash bag, and her body stashed in five large trash bags. These were placed inside a residential waste disposal unit and covered with sheets. The medical examiner said there was evidence that Christian slowly suffocated to death.
Suspects and indictments
|Eric DeWayne Boyd
Letalvis Darnell Cobbins
LeMaricus Devall Davidson
George Geovonni Thomas
|Criminal charge||See list to left|
|Criminal penalty||See here|
|Conviction(s)||See here and here|
The four indicted by Tennessee prosecutors were:
- George Geovonni "Detroit" Thomas (born January 23, 1983), 24, who faced a total of 46 charges. Thomas was indicted on 16 counts of felony murder related to the rape, robbery, kidnapping, and theft of Christian and Newsom, 2 counts of premeditated murder, 2 counts of especially aggravated robbery, 4 counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, 20 counts of aggravated rape, and 2 counts of theft.
- Letalvis Darnell "Rome" Cobbins (born December 20, 1982), 24, faced the same 46 charges as Thomas. He was also charged with assaulting a correctional officer while incarcerated pending trial. In 2003, Cobbins had been convicted of third-degree attempted robbery in New York. He and Davidson are brothers.
- Lemaricus Devall "Slim" Davidson (born June 13, 1981), 25, who faced the same 46 charges as Thomas. Previously Davidson had just, on August 5, 2006, completed a five-year sentence in Tennessee on a previous felony conviction for carjacking and aggravated robbery.
- Vanessa Coleman (born June 29, 1988), 18, was arrested by the Lebanon Police Department in Lebanon, Kentucky. She faced 40 Tennessee state charges. Coleman was indicted on 12 counts of felony murder related to the rape, robbery, kidnapping, and theft of Christian and Newsom, 1 count of premeditated murder (of Christian only), 1 count of especially aggravated robbery (of Newsom only), 4 counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, 20 counts of aggravated rape, and 2 counts of theft.
In each indictment, the numerous rape counts were included to provide a range of options for prosecutors, not to reflect the number of rapes that occurred. In addition, one suspect was separately indicted by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Tennessee:
- Eric DeWayne "E" Boyd, 34, was arrested in connection with the fatal carjacking; he was not indicted by the Knox County grand jury. Boyd faced federal charges as an accessory after the fact for helping the suspects evade the police. Later, Boyd was accused by Thomas and Cobbins of the rape and murder of Newsom, and a search warrant was obtained for his DNA. The accusations by Thomas and Cobbins did not result in state charges against Boyd.
The four suspects indicted in Knox County were scheduled to be tried separately, at trials scheduled between May and August 2008. In February 2008, the trial date for the subjects indicted in Knox County was moved to 2009. Judge Richard Baumgartner allowed Thomas and Cobbins to be tried by juries from Davidson County (which includes Nashville). The attorneys for Thomas filed a motion for a speedy trial, arguing there was no forensic link between their client and the crime scene. Thomas was granted the motion and was scheduled to go on trial on August 11, 2008. Baumgartner ruled that Thomas' phone calls made from the jailhouse to his acquaintances were admissible as evidence.
Davidson was also indicted for a second robbery which was committed after the murders. The publicity against the accused led the defense to argue that a change of venue was required in order to ensure a fair trial. The state argued that an impartial jury could be found during voir dire, and the presiding judge subsequently denied the motion as "premature". Judge Baumgartner threatened to ban the Newsom family from the courtroom after they called Davidson's attorney, Doug Trant, a "jerk", after he interrupted their discussion.
Verdicts from the first trials
On April 16, 2008, Eric Boyd was found guilty in Federal court of being an accessory to a fatal carjacking and for failing to report the location of a known fugitive. Boyd was the first to go to trial, and was the only suspect not charged with murder. He was sentenced to the maximum of 18 years in Federal prison. He is incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution, Yazoo City, a low-security federal prison in Mississippi.
On August 25, 2009, Letalvis D. Cobbins was found guilty of the murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. Cobbins faced the possibility of the death penalty because he was convicted of first degree felony murder in the case of Christian. He was found guilty of facilitation of murder for Newsom but he was acquitted of Newsom's rape. The jurors worked about 10 hours Monday and on Tuesday morning before reaching a verdict.
On August 26, Cobbins was sentenced to life without parole.
On October 28, 2009, Lemaricus Devall Davidson was found guilty. He was found not guilty on three counts of the aggravated rape of Christopher Newsom but was found guilty of the lesser included charges of facilitation of rape. The jury sentenced Davidson to death on four of the conviction counts.
On December 8, 2009, George Thomas was found guilty on multiple counts, including the ones for which the other defendants were acquitted. The jury returned a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole on each of the 4 capital convictions.
The convictions of Boyd, Cobbins, Davidson, and Thomas left Vanessa Coleman as the last defendant to face trial. She was granted immunity by federal authorities for testimony in the federal case on the car-jacking, but the state courts ruled that the federal grant of immunity could not extend to the state charges on murder and rape.
Appeals and retrials
The defendants in the state cases (excluding Eric Boyd, who was convicted at the federal level) all appealed their convictions. During this time, the sentencing judge, Richard Baumgartner, one of Knox County's three Criminal Court judges, was forced to resign from the bench in March 2011. He had admitted to being addicted to drugs and to purchasing prescription pain medication from convicts, and was accused by a woman of trading legal favors for sex during breaks in court sessions. These actions were held to have impaired his ability to conduct trials during his final two years on the bench and compromised all trials he held during this time, including the initial trials of the above defendants. Baumgartner was later disbarred as a direct result of his actions.
On December 1, 2011, seven weeks after Baumgartner's disbarment became final, Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood granted new trials to all four state defendants after a TBI investigation outlined evidence that Baumgartner was likely impaired while presiding over those trials.
Blackwood tentatively set retrials for between June and November 2012, pending state appeals of the decisions, and set bail at $1 million USD for Coleman, the only defendant whose sentence had the possibility of parole. Separately, Blackwood denied a change of venue, but allowed for potential jurors to be brought in from outside Knox County. Due to double jeopardy, the defendants faced at maximum the sentences they had already received, and thus only Davidson was eligible for capital punishment. The decision to hold retrials for Cobbins, Davidson, and Thomas (the decision to retry Coleman was not appealed) was affirmed in a split decision by the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals on April 13.
In May 2012, however, the Tennessee Supreme Court overturned Blackwood's ruling ordering new trials for Cobbins, Davidson, and Thomas, commenting that its "order should not be construed as condoning or excusing" Baumgartner's misconduct.
In June 2012, prosecutors filed to have Judge Blackwood recused from the case after he invoked the "13th juror rule" to reverse himself and decline to grant new trials for Cobbins and Davidson (the motion for recusal also applies to Thomas' case, although he is still set to have a retrial). The motion cites Blackwood's emotional involvement in the case as potentially interfering with a fair trial. Following Blackwood's recusal, Senior Judge Walter Kurtz was named to oversee the retrials and the decisions to grant them. Retrials were denied for Cobbins and Davidson, but a retrial was granted for Thomas and Coleman.
Verdicts from the retrials
Facing the same charges as in her first trial, on November 20, 2012, Vanessa Coleman was convicted by a jury of facilitation of aggravated kidnapping, facilitation of rape, and the facilitation of the murder of Channon Christian, but not of Christopher Newsom. These convictions were on lesser charges than her initial convictions.
While the retrial was conducted in Knoxville, the jury for the retrial was selected from Jackson, Tennessee, more than 300 miles west of Knoxville. Blackwood sentenced Coleman to 35 years in prison on February 1, 2013, minus credit for time already served. Coleman will be eligible for parole in early 2019.
On May 17, 2013, the retrial of George Thomas (with a jury empaneled in Nashville) ended in a verdict of guilty on all counts with a lesser charge on count 17. He was re-sentenced to life in prison by the jury, but with the possibility of parole after 51 years. On June 4, 2013, Judge Kurtz sentenced George Thomas to two life sentences (consecutive) for the murders and 25 years (multiple concurrent) for the rapes. In January 2016, Thomas appealed to the United States Supreme Court to review the case, but there is no indication the court made any decision.
Vanessa Coleman, the only female charged and convicted in the crimes, is held at the Tennessee Prison for Women. Serving a sentence of 35 years, Coleman is eligible for parole in 2017 and her sentence is to end no later than 2042. In August 2014 the families of the victims were notified that with good behavior, Coleman's sentence is being reduced by 16 days per month of incarceration, making her eligible for parole consideration in October 2014. The parole hearing was rescheduled from October to December. At the December 2014 hearing, Coleman was denied parole and her next parole consideration date was set for December 2020.
Cobbins and Thomas were originally incarcerated at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution. After the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex opened in 2012, they were transferred to that facility. Cobbins is serving a life sentence without parole, and Thomas is serving 123 years to life. Davidson was sentenced to death on October 30, 2009 and imprisoned at Riverbend. Eric Boyd, who was convicted on federal charges, is serving his sentence of 18 years at FCI Beckley, a medium-security prison in West Virginia. Boyd is eligible for release in the year 2022.
According to the Associated Press, bloggers and media critics claimed that the story was ignored by the national media because the victims were white and all five of the suspects were black. Most news reports came from local media and online news sites. Erroneous early reporting made claims of dismemberment and mutilation of Christian's body. The District Attorney denied most of the original reports containing misinformation; the source was a federal deputy US Marshal after the suspects' arrest in Kentucky.
The president of Criminal Justice Journalists, an association of crime, court, and prison writers, editors, and producers, said:
"I can't say that this one would have had any more coverage if five whites had been accused of doing these things to two blacks, absent a blatant racial motive... as bad as this crime is, the apparent absence of any interest group involvement or any other 'angle' might also explain the lack of coverage."
Police Chief Sterling Owen IV said that there was no indication the crimes were racially motivated and that the murders and assault "appears to have been a random violent act." "There is absolutely no proof of a hate crime", said John Gill, special counsel to Knox County District Atty. Randy Nichols. "We know from our investigation that the people charged in this case were friends with white people, socialized with white people, dated white people. So not only is there no evidence of any racial animus, there's evidence to the contrary."
Some commentators continued to disagree, claiming that such a crime represented motives of racial hatred. Conservative political commentator Michelle Malkin repeated this opinion on her blog and on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor program. "If this wasn't a hate crime, then I don't know how you would define a hate crime," said Newsom's mother. "It may have started out as a carjacking, but what it developed into was blacks hating whites. To do the things they did, they would have to hate them to do that." Christian's father, addressing those whom he believes used his daughter's death to further their own agenda, stated: "[the crime] ain't about you."
The case attracted the attention of white supremacists. On May 27, 2007, around 30 white supremacists led by Alex Linder rallied in downtown Knoxville in order to protest against the murders. They were met by counter-protesters, many of whom were dressed as clowns (parodying the Ku Klux Klan).
After the protest, columnist Leonard Pitts dismissed claims that the crime was under-reported. He cited a 2001 report by the Berkeley Media Studies Group which found that "Blacks and Latinos are underrepresented in news media as victims of crime and significantly overrepresented as perpetrators." Pitts wrote:
"I am [...] unkindly disposed toward the crackpots, incendiaries and flat-out racists who have chosen this tragedy upon which to take an obscene and ludicrous stand. I have four words for them and any other white Americans who feel themselves similarly victimized. Cry me a river."
However, Rev. Ezra Maize, the president of the Knoxville chapter of the NAACP, addressed the case, saying:
"It doesn't make me uncomfortable speaking out against this crime because it was African-Americans [allegedly] committing a crime against Caucasians ... It's not a black-and-white issue. It's a right-and-wrong issue. Those who committed this crime were unjust in doing so and they should pay the penalty."
The house at 2316 Chipman Street was bought by Waste Connections, a national garbage collection company that had a depot on the next lot. Waste Connections demolished the house in October 2008, with a spokesman stating that the company's intent is to replace the house with a memorial dedicated to Newsom and Christian.
- In 2008, a Golf Tournament and Memorial Foundation were established in Channon Christian's memory to provide a scholarship for a Farragut High School Senior to attend the University of Tennessee.
- A little-league baseball tournament in Newsom's honor was held at the Halls Community Park in 2008 and 2009. A memorial scholarship is given annually in his name to a graduating Halls High School baseball player.
- The song Beautiful, by the Knoxville post-grunge band 10 Years from their album Division, was dedicated to the memories of Christian and Newsom.
- Channon's father, Gary Christian, speaks at churches proclaiming how, in Spring 2017, he asked God to restore him from his pervasive anger. He presents compelling testimony of how he is overcoming the anger that most East Tennesseans saw played out during news articles throughout the duration of the trials and appeals.
- Satterfield, Jamie; Jacobs, Don (2007-01-13). "Details of double slaying emerge". Knoxville News Sentinel. Archived from the original on 2007-05-22. Retrieved 2007-06-12.
- "Grand jury presentment in Christian/Newsom case" (PDF). Knoxville News Sentinel. March 3, 2007.
- Satterfield, Jamie (July 30, 2010). "Coleman gets 53 years; judge rejects innocent defense". Knoxville News Sentinel. Archived from the original on October 3, 2010. Retrieved September 20, 2010.
- Satterfield, Jamie (2008-04-26). "Christian, Newsom memorialized with scholarships". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-05-15.
- Satterfield, Jamie (January 6, 2017). "Time no cure for pain in torture slayings of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom". Knoxville News Sentinel.
- "Fourth suspect arrested in corpse-burning case". NBC News. January 12, 2007.
- Satterfield, Jaime (April 16, 2008). "Victim's father: 'One down, four to go'". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved September 20, 2010.
- "Newsom/Christian Murders". snopes.com. Retrieved October 8, 2016.
- Affidavit for Boyd Search Warrant, Knox County, Tennessee; retrieved 2007-05-17
- Brian, Gregory; Kim Bedford. "Christian-Newsom Murders: Trial for one carjacker moved to 2009, others could follow". WVLT-TV. Retrieved 2008-02-27.
- Out-of-town juries add taxpayers' costs, volunteertv.com; accessed May 30, 2016.
- Satterfield, Jamie (2008-06-25). "Judge: Recordings can be used in fatal carjackings case". knoxnews.com. Knoxville News Sentinel. Archived from the original on August 4, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-28.
- Jim Balloch. "State can delay sharing evidence", knoxnews.com, October 12, 2007.
- Barker, Scott (2008-02-15). "Another death penalty notice in Christian-Newsom slayings". Knoxville News Sentinel. Archived from the original on May 11, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-27.
- Jamie Satterfield. "Judge denies change of venue for Boyd", knoxnews.com, December 1, 2007.
- Judge warns victim's family about comments to defense attorneys Archived January 28, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
- "GUILTY: Eric Boyd's Christian-Newsom murder accessory trial over", VolunteerTV.com, April 16, 2008.
- Accessory case deliberations to start Wed. in double murder, WATE.com, April 15, 2008.
- Federal Bureau of Prisons, bop.gov; accessed May 30, 2016.
- Letalvis D. Cobbins trial excerpts, volunteertv.com; accessed October 8, 2016.
- Satterfield, Jamie (August 26, 2009). "Torture-slayings trial, Day 9: Victims' families: Jury 'let us down' with Letalvis Cobbins verdict". Knoxville News Sentinel. Archived from the original on September 9, 2010. Retrieved September 27, 2010.
- "4 death sentences for LeMaricus Davidson in Christian-Newsom murders". WATE. October 30, 2009. Archived from the original on November 17, 2010. Retrieved September 27, 2010.
- "Thomas found guilty of Christian-Newsom murders". WATE. January 8, 2010. Archived from the original on December 12, 2009. Retrieved September 27, 2010.
- "George Thomas gets life without parole for Christian-Newsom murders". WATE. December 9, 2009. Archived from the original on November 17, 2010. Retrieved September 27, 2010.
- "George Thomas guilty; Family: Thomas deserves death". Knoxville News Sentinel. December 8, 2009. Archived from the original on September 25, 2010. Retrieved September 27, 2010.
- "Coleman continues to seek appeal". WATE. December 14, 2009. Archived from the original on February 23, 2012. Retrieved September 27, 2010.
- "Knoxville torture-murder case: Coleman acquitted of first degree murder, guilty on lesser charges". Kingsport Times-News. May 13, 2010. Archived from the original on February 24, 2012. Retrieved September 27, 2010.
- Sheila Burke (2012-04-04). "Ex-judge Richard Baumgartner's drug-addicted downfall makes national spotlight". Associated Press. Archived from the original on April 7, 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-15.
- "The redacted TBI file on former judge Richard Baumgartner". 2012-04-04. Retrieved 2012-04-15.
- "How Richard Baumgartner – a drug addicted judge – stayed on the bench despite warnings". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved October 8, 2016.
- News Sentinel Staff (December 1, 2011). "Special judge grants new trials for torture-slaying defendants, cites Baumgartner's conduct". Knoxville News Sentinel.
- New trial dates set for Channon Christian/Chris Newsom defendants in Knoxville, wbir.com; accessed April 17, 2017.
- Satterfield, Jamie (2012-04-03). "State's appeal bid in Christian/Newsom case shot down". Knoxville News Sentinel. Archived from the original on April 16, 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-15.
- "Tennessee Supreme Court overturns new trial rulings in Christian-Newsom murders". WATE-TV. May 25, 2012. Archived from the original on May 26, 2012.
- Bailey, Brittany (June 21, 2012). "Judge in Christian-Newsom case throws out decision to grant new trials, delays recusal decision". WBIR-TV. Archived from the original on February 9, 2013. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
- Satterfield, Jamie (December 7, 2012). "Judge nixes delay in Christian/Newsom torture-slaying hearing". Knoxville News Sentinel. Archived from the original on December 10, 2012. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
- Satterfield, Jamie (November 21, 2012). "Guilty again: New trial, similar outcome for Coleman in slaying". Knoxville News Sentinel. Archived from the original on January 2, 2013. Retrieved March 2, 2012.
- Satterfield, Jamie (February 1, 2012). "Coleman receives 35-year sentence". Knoxville News Sentinel. Archived from the original on February 5, 2013. Retrieved March 2, 2012.
- "Judge's order ensures George Thomas will die in prison for 2007 torture-slayings". 2013-06-04. Archived from the original on June 7, 2013. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
- Man convicted in Christian Newsom murders wants US Supreme Court to review case, wbir.com; accessed October 8, 2016.
- Vanessa Coleman's parole hearing rescheduled, Local8now.com; accessed October 8, 2016.
- Satterfield, Jamie (December 11, 2014). "Coleman's Parole Denied in Torture-Slaying Case". Knoxville News Sentinel. Archived from the original on July 21, 2015. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
- Kerwick, Jack (August 5, 2014). "Knoxville Evil". Townhall.
- Satterfield, Jamie (January 6, 2017). "Knox prosecutor doesn't shut the door on future charges in torture slayings". Knoxville News Sentinel.
- Lohr, David (2007-04-03). "Christopher Newsom and Channon Christian Brutally Murdered As The Nation Looks on". Court TV/Crime Library. Archived from the original on 2007-06-05. Retrieved 2007-06-12.
- Mansfield, Duncan. "Critics say news media ignoring Knoxville couple slaying". Associated Press. Retrieved 2007-05-17.
- Satterfield, Jamie. "Slaying victims lost in the furor", Knoxville News Sentinel, May 27, 2007.
- Lohr, David (2007-04-03). "Christopher Newsom and Channon Christian Brutally Murdered As The Nation Looks on". Court TV/Crime Library. Archived from the original on 2007-06-05. Retrieved 2007-06-12.
- Watson, Kay (2007-05-17). "City leaders say race not an element in Christian, Newsom murders". WBIR-TV. Retrieved 2007-05-17.
- Witt, H. (2007-06-10). "What is a Hate Crime?". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2007-06-15.
- Sanchez, Casey (Fall 2007). "The Big Lie". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 2007-10-09.
- Lakin, Matt (May 27, 2007). "Police arrest organizer at 'rally against genocide'". KnoxNews.com. Archived from the original on August 17, 2007. Retrieved August 30, 2009.
- Pitts Jr, Leonard (2007-06-03). "The loonies of Knoxville". The Seattle Times.
- Hammack, Laurence (December 8, 2009). "Neo-Nazi White's trial begins today". The Roanoke Times.
- "House linked to carjacking/slayings razed; memorial planned". Knoxville News Sentinel. October 22, 2008. Retrieved September 20, 2010.
- Extensive news coverage of the deaths in January 2007 of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom in Knoxville, TN, Knoxville News Sentinel
- Newsom, Christian Family Reaction w/Video
- "5th Suspect Arrested in Double Murder, Announcement Expected Soon", Volunteer TV
- Martin, Roland S., "Commentary: Where is the outrage when humans are abused?", CNN
- Withdraw Request for speedy trial , Volunteer TV
- Victim's father: "One down, four to go" (extensive details of the crimes), knoxnews.com, April 16, 2008