Friday, April 06, 2007

Double Murder Case Update

I have received emails and seen on other blogs concerns about the double murder case of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. The concern stems from the federal charges against the suspects in the case being dropped. People mistakenly believe that the federal charges being dropped means that many of the charges of murder etc. are being dropped; it does not. "Those federal charages have since been dropped to make way for prosecution in the first-degree murder -- and likely capital -- case in Knox County." I received this article by email from the Knoxville News-Sentinel from JJ Stambaugh, a reporter there that will hopefully clarify for some of you that the wheels of justice are turning in this case:

Defendants in fatal carjacking _keep same federal court attorneys
Run Date 2/21/2007
Body Text
Fatal carjacking suspects and brothers Lemaricus "Slim" Davidson, 25, and Letalvis "Rome" Cobbins, 24, made their first appearance Tuesday in Knox County Criminal Court on a massive 46-count indictment unsealed against the pair and two others late last month.

They were joined by two familiar legal faces -- the same defense attorneys appointed to handle their respective cases when the pair were facing federal carjacking charges in the same double slaying. Those federal charages have since been dropped to make way for prosecution in the first-degree murder -- and likely capital -- case in Knox County.

Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner on Tuesday appointed veteran defense attorney David Eldridge to represent Davidson and longtime criminal attorney Kimberly Parton to defend Cobbins. Both are "death certified," a label under state law that means they are experienced enough to represent a defendant facing the death penalty.

Assistant District Attorney General Bill Crabtree isn't saying yet whether his boss will be seeking the ultimate penalty, but Baumgartner clearly is taking pains to be ready if he does.

Davidson and Cobbins are accused along with George "Detroit" Thomas, 24, and Vanessa Lynn Coleman, 18, in the January deaths of Channon Christian, 21, and her boyfriend, Christopher Newsom, 23. The pair were robbed, kidnapped, raped and killed, according to court records.

All four suspects have given statements to authorities. Crabtree told Baumgartner at Tuesday's arraignment that those statements likely would necessitate separate trials for each defendant. That's because the law limits the use of statements against one defendant if it incriminates another if both are being tried together.

Coleman, who was arrested earlier this month in Kentucky, is fighting extradition and has not yet been returned to Knox County.

Thomas' arraignment was postponed after Baumgartner discovered that attorney Ralph Harwell's brother works as an investigator in Knox County District Attorney General Randy Nichols' office and may not be able to handle the case.

George "Detroit" Thomas sits in Judge Richard Baumgartner's courtroom Tuesday. He is facing charges, along with brothers Lemaricus "Slim" Davidson and Letalvis "Rome" Cobbins, in the murder of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom. A fourth defendant, Vanessa Coleman, is fighting extradition from Kentucky.
I hope this clears up some of the misunderstandings that are floating around and helps people to realize that the death penalty is still on the table and that the charges are being brought up in Knox County rather than in Federal Court.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Female Bank Robbers--a New Trend or just Bonnie without Clyde?

Say Uncle emailed me today to tell me about a local bank robbery committed by a 90 pound woman and asked if I had noticed a trend of female bank robbers. I checked out the local story and saw that it was my bank that had been robbed this morning! Glad I went to another branch today just by coincidence.

Anyway, I don't know if there is a trend of female bank robbers, although there was the recent case of the Barbie Bandits in Georgia who held up a bank. That one, however, was some kind of inside job with the tellers of the bank. What I find interesting, though, is that now women are the ones doing the actual robberies--in the past, men generally did them or women waited for them in the getaway car. Women are still a much smaller percentage--about 10% of bank robberies but in Fairfax county in recent years, the rate rose to 25%--one woman even talked on the cell phone the whole time she robbed her banks--talk about multitasking!

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Monday, April 02, 2007

"How Do You Feel About Abortion?"

Imagine you're a guy out on a first date and this is a question a woman asks you over dinner conversation. Why does she ask? MSN's article on five things guys love to hear and five things guys hate to hear tells us:

This type of question is known among men as a litmus test—a touchy topic that women raise to gauge whether we’re politically, morally, or spiritually on the same page as them (the death penalty, gay marriage, and the war in Iraq also fit the bill). Sure, we probably have strong opinions. But we’re not interested in getting into them with you, at least not yet. After all, this is a date, not debate club. Let’s have fun and save more heated back-and-forths for later.

After a question posed as a test like that, there's a later? Poor fool.
The Washington Times print edition picked up an excerpt from my post on angry women in their Culture Briefs section. That post and the one on the effects of women's anger on men seems to have struck a nerve in many people--particularly male readers. Many of you have emailed to tell me your experiences with the anger of female bosses, love interests and family members that have left permanent scars. There is a book in there somewhere....Would you buy it?

Sunday, April 01, 2007

My hometown paper, the Knoxville News-Sentinel, interviewed myself and others about the gruesome Lillelid murder that took place ten years ago this week:

Forensic psychologist Helen Smith of Knoxville spent a lot of time looking at the case because of her interest in learning "why kids kill." Her aim is to prevent troubled teens from endangering the lives of innocent victims like the Lillelids. She filmed a documentary called "Six" that focused on the group's lives back in Kentucky with a particular focus on Cornett, who was often portrayed as the group's ringleader.

Smith points out that many factors may have contributed to the tragedy, including a mental health system that largely ignored Cornett's psychological problems and what the youths perceived as a hypocritical Christian morality at play in their community.

Cornett, for instance, had been hospitalized for 11 days due to mental problems but was kicked out of the facility when her government health care benefits stopped, even though she'd been classified as "a danger to herself and others," Smith explained.

"She was already violent, but nobody gave a damn," Smith said.

Read the rest.