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Religion

Channon Christian and Chris Newsom
Channon Christian and Chris Newsom

Rape - Mutilation - Murder - Christian-Newsom Story

James H. Lilley

On Saturday January 6, 2007 Hugh Christopher Newsom, age 23 and Channon Gail Christian, age 21, both students at the University of Tennessee went out on a date.

They were driving in Channon's Toyota 4-Runner when they were carjacked at gunpoint. Suddenly the crime turned far more savage than an armed car theft. Chris and Channon were kidnapped and driven to 2316 Chipman Street where they were forced into the home at gunpoint. While Channon was forced to watch, her boyfriend was raped prison style. He was later driven to nearby railroad tracks where he was shot and set afire. But Channon's hell was just beginning.

She was beaten; gang raped repeatedly in many ways, and bleach poured down her throat to destroy DNA evidence-all while she was still alive. To add to Channon's degradation the suspects took turns urinating on her. She was stuffed into a trash can and slowly suffocated.

The District Attorney General of Knox County later announced the arrests of the following five suspects and the charges they'd face:

  • Lemaricus "Slim" Davidson, age 25 faces a total of 46 charges. Davidson was indicated on 16 counts of Felony Murder growing out of rape, robbery, kidnapping and theft of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. Two counts premeditated murder of Christian and Newsom, 4 counts especially aggravated kidnapping of Christian and Newsom, 20 counts aggravated rape of Christian and Newsom and 2 counts of theft from Christian and Newsom.
  • Latalvis "Rome" Cobbins, age 24, faces a total of 46 charges. Cobbins was indicted on 16 counts of Felony Murder growing out of rape, robbery, kidnapping and theft of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. Two counts especially aggravated robbery from Christian and Newsom, 4 counts especially aggravated kidnapping of Christian and Newsom, 20 counts of aggravated rape of Christian and Newsom and 2 counts of theft from Christian and Newsom.
  • George "Detroit" Thomas, age 24, faces a total of 46 charges. Thomas was indicated on 16 counts of Felony Murder growing out of rape, robbery, kidnapping and theft of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. Two Counts of premeditated murder of Christian and Newsom, 2 counts especially aggravated robbery from Christian and Newsom, 4 counts especially aggravated kidnapping of Christian and Newsom, 20 counts of aggravated rape of Christian and Newsom and 2 counts of theft from Christian and Newsom.
  • Vanessa Coleman, age 18, faces a total of 40 Tennessee State charges. Coleman was indicated on 12 Counts of Felony Murder growing out of rape, robbery, kidnapping and theft of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. One count premeditated murder of Christian only, 1 count of especially aggravated robbery of Newsom only, 4 counts especially aggravated kidnapping of Christian and Newsom, 20 counts of aggravated rape of Christian and Newsom and 2 counts of theft from Christian and Newsom.
  • Eric "E" Boyd, age 24, was arrested in connection with the carjacking, but faces only federal charges as an accessory after the fact.

I wasn't aware of this incident until a friend brought it to my attention May 9th. Until then I'd never heard even a single comment regarding this brutal crime mentioned by any of our national news media.

We had the death of Anna Nicole Smith shoved down our throats by ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC and FOX News (if we cared to watch) for hours on end over a period of several weeks. I didn't give a rat's ass about some overweight, drugged out, has-been bimbo who was apparently willing to crawl into bed with any man who had anything vaguely resembling a pulse. Yet, I couldn't turn on the television without some new twist in the Anna Nicole saga being discussed. The only victim in this entire matter is the poor baby who was used as a pawn by everyone with dollar signs in their eyes.

Just about the time the Anna Nicole Smith epic was winding down we had Don Imus and the "Nappy headed hos" comment that grabbed headlines around the world. So, for another two or three weeks we were bombarded with cries of insensitivity and racism while Al Sharpton frantically tried to arouse the fires of racial hatred.

Why wasn't the nation informed of the brutal rape, mutilation and murder of Christopher Newsom and Channon Christian? Was it because they were white and the suspects black? That certainly seems to be the opinion among thousands who have very angrily commented on this case in daily blogs. There are accusations that the press has a double standard when race is a component of crime. One example given was how often do we hear about a suspect wanted for a crime described as a "white male," but when the suspect is black no mention of race is made? Like it or not, I've heard this quite often from the Baltimore and Washington television stations.

Though I will also report that I've heard the race given when the suspect is black. I don't know if it's station policy or the beliefs of particular reporters broadcasting the news when it comes to the offering of a full description of a suspect or not. But, in my opinion, when you air a broadcast and ask the public to provide information regarding a suspect and his or her whereabouts, you should publish the complete description and that includes race-no exceptions.

The murders of Chris Newsom and Channon Christian have brought a firestorm of criticism directed toward the national media and rightly so. There are glaring gaps in the reporting of crimes when race is an issue. We need only to look at Duke University and the accusations leveled against members of the lacrosse team. The media went wild in reporting the alleged rape of a black woman by white team members. The press couldn't wait to put Duke University, the players, the lacrosse team coach and the white race in general on trial for this reported atrocity.

Not only did the press put them on trial, but also convicted everyone involved before all the evidence had been collected and analyzed and the investigation completed. Of course, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton couldn't wait to jump in front of any and all cameras available and go on the attack. This was their moment to shine once again by standing tall for the rights of the "victim" and scream racism. They had the privileged white boys of Duke in their sights and were going to mow them, their families and friends down.

And seizing the opportunity to hype his political aspirations was District Attorney Mike Nifong. He declared the players guilty and the media was damn near choking on their exuberance to build the gallows and braid the hangman's noose. Plastered on every televised news report and on the front page of every newspaper across the nation are the photographs and names of the accused players. By God, there's a good old fashioned lynching brewing and those privileged white boys are gonna be hangin' by their rich necks. Oops. It seems somebody forgot the evidence. You know, the proof needed to confirm beyond a reasonable doubt the guilt of the accused players.

Crystal Gail Mangum, the alleged victim of the rape, had seven different DNA samples on her body and clothing and none of the DNA belonged to even one of the Duke Lacrosse players. The repercussions from the false allegation of rape by Mangum are still reverberating throughout the entire community. But media attention dwindled to almost nothing very quickly when the "race card" died and there was nothing left for them to sensationalize. To the lacrosse players and Duke University the media said, "screw you and the fact that we did our best to ruin your reputations. Our ratings skyrocketed and that's all that matters."

As far as the rape, mutilation and murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom, some in the media are saying this case doesn't represent a hate crime. Well, it sure as hell doesn't symbolize a night of love and bonding between the young couple and those who butchered them. Was the cutting off of Chris' penis an act of human kindness? Was the cutting off of Channon's breast and pouring bleach down her throat an act of compassion and love? This was pure hatred, nothing less. How could any person of sound mind and thinking look at this case and say with absolute certainty that hate wasn't involved in the commission of the atrocities against Christian and Newsom?

Reading over dozens of pages on the Christian and Newsom murders and other cases I noted many angry comments one of which said the media has a recent history of "blacking out" certain news stories when race is involved. The Wichita Massacre was referenced as one of these. The Carr brothers executed four white victims, after forcing them to kneel naked in a frozen field in Kansas. A fifth intended victim lived when a bullet fired toward her head knocked her unconscious instead of killing her. She was able to identify her attackers who were arrested and charged with other violent crimes as well.

Yet, their vicious crimes were treated to a media "black out." Here cries of bias are raised because the murder of James Byrd, a black man, dragged to death by three white men received top media billing. But the Byrd case was only one of the examples used to point out the disparity in reporting.

I won't attempt to write a lengthy commentary on this issue. Instead I'll refer you to the various web sites that can be found detailing all of these cases. You need only enter the names Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom to open the dozens of sites and blogs that tell of and talk about these crimes. But be forewarned that you will find some shocking and sickening incidents of violence. And maybe your views will be similar to mine after you read about these events-the perpetrators, white and black, are indeed a subhuman culture and should be erased permanently from society. They should become nothing more than a bad memory in a faded photograph.

I've always believed the motto "No one is above the law, nor is anyone below it." I've held a belief that the law was and is for everyone, regardless of race, religion or ethnic background and when it comes to crime and justice everyone should be treated equally. I don't care if a person accused of a crime is considered privileged because of wealth and fame or they're from a row home in the city, the law should apply equally.

I feel the same about media coverage of crimes. If you're going to beat the drums loudly, point fingers and cry racism or hate, do it without bias. Bang your drums and point your fingers, but make sure you cover all races with equal fervor. When the media tries to play the game of "politically correct" by concealing facts regarding the race of suspects in a case, they are guilty of inciting racial prejudice. We can find enough of that in our society without the media further fanning the flames of bigotry.

Maybe Doctor Martin Luther King said it best. "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Christian-Newsom killers

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