A chilling act of brutality largely ignored by national media because of racial implications
On January 7, 2007, Channon Christian, 21, and Christopher Newsom, 23, were kidnapped, beaten, tortured, raped, and murdered in one of the most heart-wrenching and purely evil crimes in my memory. The fifth person to be tried in relation to these heinous crimes was found guilty Tuesday, August 13, 2019.
The details of what this promising young couple endured are unspeakable and have left a lasting mark not just on their friends and families but on all of us who are familiar with the case. I wrote an extensive post about the case on the 10th Anniversary of the murders, 10 Years Later: The Brutal Murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom.
You probably have not heard the names Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom.
But I remember those names, and the tears that were brought to my eyes when I heard about what happened to them.
On January 7, 2007, the young white couple—Channon was 21, her boyfriend Chris was 23—was abducted, beaten, raped, tortured, and murdered. Chris eventually shot to death before being set on fire, and Channon left to die with a plastic bag over her head in a trash can. The perpetrators were all black.
If you have not heard their story, it’s because the racial nature of that black-on-white crime was uncomfortable for the national media a decade ago. Even now, it’s uncomfortable, as the delayed and reluctant coverage of the Chicago tortures showed.
Here is their story.
In December, 2018 we reported that the trial date of Eric Boyd, one of the five persons involved in the horrific crimes against Christian and Newsom, had been set. His is the last trial for this tragic and senseless double torture murder.
At that time, Boyd was serving a federal sentence for harboring the ringleader Lemaricus Davidson, who is currently on death row.
Both are pictured here along with the other three persons convicted of these crimes:
The man long suspected of helping kidnap and murder a young Knoxville couple out on a date in January 2007 is getting a new trial date.
. . . . Authorities have long suspected Boyd, a friend of Davidson’s, took part in the kidnappings and killings. In March 2018, the Knox County district attorney general sought and secured murder and kidnapping indictments against Boyd.
. . . . Eric Boyd will now face trial in Knox County Criminal Court on Aug. 5, 2019, in what will likely be at least a two-week trial. He had been set for a January trial, but considering the complexity of the case and the fact that he was just indicted in March 2018, the case likely was going to be put off.
Judge Bob McGee agreed to delay the trial Wednesday and also set several check-back dates in the interim.
McGee also agreed to hold off on sending Boyd, who was present Wednesday, back to federal prison in Yazoo City, Miss. Boyd is serving a federal, 18-year sentence for harboring the ringleader in the 2007 killings, and has been shuttled back and forth several times to court while in federal custody.
Boyd was tried on 36 counts, including first degree felony murder. On Tuesday, Boyd was found guilty on all 18 of the murder charges related to the torture deaths of Christian and Newsom.
A Knox County jury found Eric Boyd guilty on Tuesday afternoon in the murders of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom.
Boyd received life sentences with the possibility of parole on all 18 murder convictions related to their deaths. A sentencing hearing on the other charges will be Sept. 18.
A Knox County jury that heard a week of testimony began deliberating Monday afternoon. Just before noon Tuesday, the jury had a question that Knox County Judge Bob McGee addressed and the jury returned to deliberations.
This was not a death penalty trial, but Boyd faces an automatic life sentence for each of the murder convictions. The judge will determine if the sentences will run consecutively or concurrently and what, if any, further time may be added for the related crimes including kidnapping and rape.
A Knox County jury on Tuesday declared Eric Boyd guilty in the Christian-Newsom murders.
The seven-woman, five-man jury deliberated since Monday before returning its verdict of first-degree murder in the Knox County Criminal Court trial on Tuesday at approximately 2 p.m.
The verdict carries an automatic life sentence for each of the two slayings. Judge Bob McGee will decide at a Sept. 18 sentencing hearing whether those two life sentences should be stacked one onto the other and what, if any, extra punishment Boyd should receive for the related crimes, including kidnapping and rape.
Boyd is the fifth defendant to stand trial in the 2007 Knoxville slayings of Channon Christian, 21, and Christopher Newsom, 23.
The Knox County couple were preparing to go on a date when they were carjacked and kidnapped and taken to the Chipman Street house of Lemaricus Davidson. Both were bound, gagged and blindfolded.
Newsom was raped, shot three times and his body set afire alongside nearby railroad tracks within hours of the kidnapping. Christian was held captive inside the Chipman Street house for 36 hours, repeatedly raped, forced to swallow bleach in a bid to destroy DNA evidence of those rapes, and then stuffed — alive — inside a trash can in the kitchen. She slowly suffocated to death.
WBIR reports that “the Newsom and Christian families want their kids’ lives remembered.”
Convicted murderer and rapist Eric Boyd stood stoic before a Knoxville courtroom on Tuesday afternoon as a jury found him guilty of all charges in the 2007 torture slayings of Chris Newsom and Channon Christian.
In the gallery behind him, a collective gasp resounded from the area where Channon Christian and Chris Newsom’s loved ones sat and processed the reality that one of their children’s killers will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars.
. . . . “Twelve years ago we made a promise to Chris,” Mary Newsom, Chris’s mother, said. “And today, that promise was fulfilled. This is the closure we’ve been looking for.”
For Christian and Newsom’s family and friends, this final conviction of Eric Boyd marks a conclusion of sorts to a long-fought battle they hoped would bring justice to a man they said escaped it twelve years ago.
“Our final goodbye to Chris…we embraced him in his body bag. We were not allowed to see him,” Hugh Newsom, Chris’s father, said. “At that particular time, Mary and I both promised we would not stop until Eric Boyd was prosecuted for killing him.”
Deena and Gary Christian, Channon’s parents, also responded to the verdict, WBIR continues:
Deena Christian, Channon’s mother, thanked the jury for their diligence and hard work throughout the trial.
“The two Knox County juries that we’ve had through all of these seven or eight trials.. are the two juries that have really stepped up and done what’s right. So I’m really grateful to this state of Tennessee,” Deena Christian said.
Gary Christian agreed and said though the family’s days in court are not over, the trial’s conclusion provides solace.
“We’ll never get justice on this Earth, but I think we got them all the best we can,” Gary Christian, Channon’s father, said. “And that’s what I promised my daughter, that they wouldn’t hurt anybody else.”
Knox News reports that Deena Christian also stated: “It’s been a long time coming, I’m very happy. I do feel justice was served today, but it never goes away for us. I don’t want anyone to ever forget Channon and Chris.”
Boyd will be sentenced September 18, 2019 on the other charges for which he was convicted.DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.