A woman convicted of facilitating the kidnapping, rape and killing of a young Tennessee woman in 2007 will be retried next week.
Vanessa Coleman has a second chance to beat the charges because her original conviction was overturned when the presiding judge admitted that he might have been under the influence of Xanax during the trial, the Knosville News Sentinel reported.
Coleman was found guilty along with three other men in connection to the slaying of Channon Christian, 21 in Knoxville. The three men were also convicted of the abduction, rape and killing of Christian's boyfriend, 23-year-old Christopher Newsom.
The crime was one of the most graphic in recent memory in the state. Those details will likely be replayed next week in a courtroom in Jackson. Jury selection was expected to wrap up tomorrow, WBIR reported.
The couple was carjacked and kidnapped after a date. They were taken to the home of Lemaricus Davidson where they were tortured. Coleman, then 18, was present with her boyfriend Letalvis Cobbins. The crime ended with the discovery of Newsom's bound and burned corpse lying along railroad tracks the day after the abduction. It took three more days before Christian's dismembered remains were located in garbage bags at Davidson's home. Prosecutors contended that Coleman was an equal player in the crimes.
Three men were found guilty of first-degree murder, while Coleman was convicted of facilitating the attack. She was serving a 53-year sentence but last year was granted a new trial, because former Judge Richard Baumgartner pleaded guilty to official misconduct, WATE reported.
He had bought prescription painkillers several times a week for nearly a year from an ex-felon who appeared in his courtroom.
The retrial was moved to western Tennessee because of the high profile nature of the crime. Coleman's attorneys sought to bar photos of Christian in court, fearing that they would sway the jury. Prosecutors say the pictures are necessary for pressing their case.
Lemaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins and George Thomas -- the three men whose convictions were also overturned -- will be retried at later date.
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Davidson is one of four people convicted in the carjacking and murder of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. But he'll get a new trial because the judge that presided over his case admitted he misused prescription drugs during the trial.
Cobbins is one of four people convicted in the carjacking and murder of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. He will get a new trial with co-defendants Lemaricus Davidson and Eric Boyd, because the presiding judge misused Xanax while on the stand.
Boyd was the fourth person convicted in the slaying of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. While Vanessa Coleman will get a new separate trial, because of judicial misconduct, Boyd will be retried with Letalvis Cobbins and Lemaricus Davidson.
Christopher Newsom and Channon Christian
The young couple were carjacked and murdered in January 2007. Newsom's body was found the following day. He had been bound, shot, burned and left near railroad tracks in Knosville. Coleman's body was found three days later in garbage bags in a home where one of the defendants lived, prosecutors said.
Christian was 21 when she was kidnapped, raped and murdered.
Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom