Christian, Newsom suspect to face death penalty, trials still a year away

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KNOXVILLE (WVLT) -- It will be nearly a year before one of the accused murderers of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom goes to trial.

On Thursday, Judge Richard Baumgartner set Letalvis Cobbins' trial date for January 26th, 2009.

Cobbins, Lemaricus Davidson, George Thomas, and Vanessa Coleman are all charged in connection with the young couple's murders.

In the court room, the parents of the two victims never seemed to take their eyes off of the suspects.

Vanessa Coleman was the first to be called in, and District Attorney Randy Nichols immediately turned in an intent to seek the death penalty against her.

Coleman’s trial date has not yet been set for her yet, but she'll be back in court March 3rd to take up scheduling issues.

Letalvis Cobbins, 25, will also face the death penalty in his trial, which Judge Baumgartner moved from May 12th to January 26th, 2009.

Because Cobbins is the first of the four separate trials, the other three suspects also will not likely face trial until 2009.

Judge Baumgartner said while the trial seems a long ways away, a capitol punishment case is not something you can rush, and it's typical for some trials to take up to four years to prepare.

He went on to say the trial will take place in Knox County, but he won't decide on where the jury will come from until April 24th.

Eric Boyd will go to trial in federal court on April 7th.

He is accused of sheltering Lemaricus Davidson in a North Knoxville home right after last January's deadly carjacking.

Davidson and George Thomas were not in court on Thursday, but have a hearing scheduled for March 3rd.

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