On the evening of January 6, 2007, Christopher Newsom and his girlfriend Channon Christian made dinner plans and then were to go to a friend’s house to watch a movie. They would never be seen alive again. Now one of their killers is eligible for parole.
When Chris went to pick Channon up at a friend’s apartment complex, they were carjacked by multiple assailants. What followed was one of the most heinous, gruesome, and senseless crimes in Tennessee history. The couple were taken to a house in East Knoxville and held against their will where they were brutally tortured and raped for hours.
The details of their torture are so graphic and heartbreaking that I won’t go into much detail beyond this: After being tortured, Christopher Newsom was killed execution style by multiple gunshots before his attackers poured gasoline on his body and set him on fire. Channon Christian had bleach poured down her throat and on her body before being wrapped in plastic bags and placed in a garbage can in the kitchen of the house—all of this while she was still alive. Her last minutes on earth were spent slowly suffocating in a garbage can.
The five people responsible for these heinous crimes are: Lemaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, George Thomas, Vanessa Coleman and Eric Boyd. Boyd was given 18 years and the others will likely remain behind bars for the rest of their lives but incredibly, Vanessa Coleman had her sentence reduced by a third after a retrial and is set to go before the Tennessee Board of Paroles in early December, 2014.
Vanessa Coleman went into prison with a 35 year sentence. However, due to prison overcrowding she has to serve only 30% of her sentence before being eligible for a parole hearing. In addition to her sentence being effectively reduced by 70% she has been accumulating additional time toward an early release, up to a possible 192 days per year for good behavior.
During the course of Coleman's trial evidence was presented from her diary entry dated 3 days after the murder. For her part in the torture, rape, and murders she wrote: “I’ve had one HELL OF AN ADVENTURE since I’ve been in the big TN. It’s a crazy world these days! But I love the fun adventures and lessons that I’ve learned. Its going to be a long interesting year! Ha! Ha!”
Please sign this petition and help the families of Christopher Newsom and Channon Christian keep Vanessa Coleman, Offender #473393 in prison for as long as possible.
To the Honorable Members of the Tennessee Probation and Parole Board:
We the citizens of the United States of America, and in particular, residents of the State of Tennessee request that you deny prisoner Vanessa Coleman, Offender # 473393 parole, convicted for six counts of facilitation of Rape, four counts to the facilitation of Murder, one count of facilitation to Attempted Especially Aggravated Kidnapping, and one count of facilitation to Theft of 1000 to 10,000 dollars.
We also request that she not be eligible for parole again until the maximum allowed time in between hearings is met!
Vanessa Coleman was originally convicted and sentenced to 53 years in prison and then her sentence was greatly reduced due to technicalities and the drug addiction of the Judge that presided over her original conviction. She was then given a reduced sentence of 35 years. Coleman has shown herself to be a grave danger to the community at large. Under no circumstances do we believe she is ready for parole and we respectfully ask that she remain incarcerated at this time.