The second trial in the Knoxville Atrocity began on Monday. The defendant is Lemaricus Davidson, the alleged ringleader. His half-brother, Letalvis Cobbins, was convicted in August and sentenced to life without parole.
In the first trial, Cobbins blamed his brother for forcing him to take part in the carjacking and claimed that he obeyed out of fear. In the second trial, Davidson blames Cobbins and George Thomas for the carjacking.
In his opening statement, Davidson’s attorney said that the “Kentucky gang” killed Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. They also claim that there was no carjacking in that the couple drove voluntarily to Davidson’s house on Chipman Street to buy drugs. Davidson supposedly left the house and the others killed Christian and Newsom.
The defense says that the victims were drug customers and infer that Channon Christian was having sex with Davidson.
Newsom did have marijuana in his truck and the toxicology report had marijuana in his system. Channon Christian had a small amount of alcohol, but no drugs in her system.
This is the defense strategy. The victims brought it on themselves through their lifestyle. This is what comes from severing the trials. Each defendant can spin a story shifting all the blame on his cohorts.
On Thursday, Davidson’s police interview after his arrest in January 2007 was played for the jury. His own words in that interview contradict the “O.J.defense” his attorneys been building for two years. As mentioned above, Davidson admits to the police that his brother and George Thomas carjacked the couple. Meaning that the couple did not drive to his house on their own to buy drugs.
Davidson told the police he saw the victims tied up but he panicked when “the girl” talked to him. Davidson said, “She just said she ain’t want to die man. That’s all she said she ain’t want to die. I left,” Davidson told the officers he made a promise to Christian that he did not keep. “I told girl I’ll make sure she got out, you hear me,” Davidson said in his police statement.
The convicted felon denied having sex with Christian and said his DNA would not be on her. But DNA experts testified in the Cobbins trial that Davidson’s DNA was found on Christian’s body and clothes. Davidson’s attorney tried to cover this in his opening statement by saying that his client had “consensual vaginal sex” with Christian. [LA replies: How can the defense attorneys be allowed to throw around patent nonsense like this? Aren’t there any restrictions on what sorts of arguments defense attorneys can make?]
When arrested, Davidson had no shoes on (it was January). Chris Newsom’s shoes were in the abandoned house Davidson was hiding in.
To sum up, Davidson in his January 2007 interview denied being in the house during the murders. He denied having sex with Christian. As the interview progressed, his story changed. He added details, eventually placed himself there when victims arrived. My own opinion is that Davidson was the leader of the carjacking.
The detectives asked the right questions. Davidson said he never knew the victims. He never sold them drugs. They had never been to his house. Most important, Davidson said he never had sex with Channon Christian. The interview played today torpedoed the defense his attorneys are using.
The judge edited out references in the interview to Davidson’s criminal past which includes a prison term for carjacking and his armed robbery of a Pizza Hut right after the murders. The jury is not supposed to consider Davidson’s past while his lawyers can say anything about the two victims.
Earlier in the day, a fingerprint expert testified that Davidson’ palm print was on the trash bags that held Christian’s body. This is in addition to Davidson’s fingerprints on an envelope in Christian’s SUV and on other of her posessions. To cause palm prints you would have to be picking up something heavy, like a body.
On Friday, the DNA evidence should be presented along with the testimony of the medical examiner. This will be gruesome.