Skip to comments.Torture-slayings trial, Day 9: Victim's families: Jury 'let us down' with Letalvis Cobbins verdict
Posted on 08/26/2009 5:13:07 PM PDT by jessduntno
Torture-slayings trial, Day 9: Victim's families: Jury 'let us down' with Letalvis Cobbins verdict
KNOXVILLE - The families of a young Knox County couple tortured and killed in January 2007 tonight sharply criticized a jury's decision to spare defendant Letalvis Cobbins the death penalty.
"I think the jury has let us down," said Mary Newsom, mother of murder victim Chris Newsom. "I think they've let Channon and Chris down. We were hoping for the death penalty."
After deliberating a little more than two hours, the jury delivered its verdict about 6:50 p.m. in Judge Richard Baumgartner's courtroom.
The judge polled each juror to ensure they were unanimous in their decision.
Defense attorney Scott Green said the verdict represented a victory for no one.
"I don't think any of us have seen a case quite like this," Green said. "What we need to do is focus our prayers on these families."
(Excerpt) Read more at knoxnews.com ...
"I think our prosecutors and police did an excellent job. They worked their rears off."
With Cobbins' fate now addressed, prosecutors and defense attorneys will move on to the next defendant to face trial - Cobbins' brother, Lemaricus Davidson. Other defendants awaiting trial are George Thomas and Vanessa Coleman.
Tonight's verdict came after a daylong hearing to determine what punishment Cobbins, 26, should face in the killings of Channon Christian, 21, and Newsom, 23. The victims were carjacked, taken to Lemaricus Davidson's Chipman Street house, tortured, raped and killed.
The same jurors, drawn from Davidson County because of heavy local publicity about the case, convicted Cobbins on Tuesday in Christian's death and in the facilitation of Newsom's killing.
During today's hearing, prosecutor Fitzgerald urged the jury to sentence Cobbins to die.
"We asked you if you could sign your name to the verdict form sentencing the defendant to death," Fitzgerald said in closing arguments. "The time is now."
Defense attorney Green, however, urged jurors to punish Cobbins, 26, by making him die in prison.
"Make him suffer for every day of his life for what he did," Green argued.
The jurors heard from witnesses throughout the day. Cobbins, however, chose not to address the panel. He testified Saturday in his own defense during the evidentiary phase of the trial.
Today, an older cousin of Cobbins testified his own family helped put Cobbins in the defense chair.
"We failed," cousin Essie Farmer testified this morning.
Green also sent to the witness stand several of Cobbins' relatives, including three sisters and a handful of cousins.
Green repeatedly pointed out that Cobbins' father, Tommy Cobbins, lives in Knoxville, was aware that his son's life was on the line but had refused to attend the hearing.
At least two of Cobbins' relatives apologized from the witness stand to the families.
A tearful Misha Davidson, who is a sister to both Cobbins and fellow slaying suspect Lemaricus Davidson, told the families: "I know you hate his guts, but we love him."
Also, Channon Christian's parents were allowed to address the jury about the impact her death has had on them.
Gary Christian told the jury that he feels guilty that he could not somehow protect her and said he hoped to see her in heaven to say "I'm sorry."
The Newsom family, however, will have to wait until Cobbins faces Baumgartner at a later hearing at which the judge will decide what penalty to impose for a laundry list of lesser crimes for which Cobbins has been convicted.
The jury convicted Cobbins on Tuesday after a six-day trial and roughly nine hours of deliberations.
Prosecutors say Davidson, 28, was the ringleader in the torture slayings.
Newsom was raped both by at least one person and an object. He was shot three times, and his body set afire.
Christian was repeatedly raped by more than one suspect, including Cobbins, kicked and beaten in her vaginal area, hog-tied and stuffed inside a trash can to die, according to testimony.
If ever a case cried out for the death penalty this is it. I think we can pretty well guess what happened.
Yeah, this case deserved the death penalty. But life in prison is actually less expensive, not that cost should be taken into effect.
Bring back Hanging and the Firing Squad.
I’d track down each of the scumbag jurors and mete out appropriate justice if it was my daughter or son.....
“Bring back Hanging and the Firing Squad.”
Firing squad...just OK and ID have it available today, I think...WA and NH still have hanging as an option...everybody wants lethal injection (wouldn’t want the poor guy to suffer) now...
Start collecting money to put in the Commissary accounts of every Aryan Nation convict in the unit he goes to.....
I’m much more inclined to bring back Public Lynching...
...and in this case, perhaps a healthy dose of torture on the side.
May the prison Skinheads wreak utter vengeance upon these deserving scumbags!
Yeah, that’s an idea. This is the reason that they all want local juries, the more blacks the less chance of the needle, less chance of the needle, longer till you meet your Maker.
At my age (my death or imprisonment being of no consequence), I would have hoped for the jury to let those animals go free. Then I could spend the rest of my life tracking them down so that they could spend 5-10 days in unimaginable agony on their journey to ground temperature.
There's also the responsibility of the people who raised them and the other people who educated them that needs to be addressed.
How these sub human vermin are allowed to breath another day is a travesty of justice.
Facebook page on justice for Channon and Chris: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/group.php?gid=10952439561&ref=nf
Oops. Let me rephrase that: PRAYERS for Justice. Personally, I’d like to see prayers from around the world that jurors will be brave enough give the death penalty to Davidson, Thomas, and Coleman. God will judge their souls, but their bodies are subject to justice by their peers as a consequence for their own actions. Cobbin’s got off easy so far.
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