Vanessa Coleman Convicted, Kept Journal of Crimes
by Lewis Loflin
Vanessa Coleman, 18, was arrested by the Lebanon Police Department in Lebanon, Kentucky. She faces 40 Tennessee state charges. Coleman was indicted on 12 counts of felony murder growing out of the rape, robbery, kidnapping, and theft of Christian and Newsom, 1 count of premeditated murder (of Christian only), 1 count of especially aggravated robbery (of Newsom only), 4 counts of especially aggravated kidnapping, 20 counts of aggravated rape, and 2 counts of theft.
She will be tried last. In each indictment, the large number of rape counts were included to provide a range of options for prosecutors, not to reflect the number of rapes which actually occurred. She will be the last to be put on trial.
Knoxville News Sentinel March - May 14, 2010 extracts.
According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, in a shocking case that has served up plenty of twists and turns, another startling revelation emerged: Torture slaying suspect Vanessa Coleman may have chronicled the crimes in a journal.
The journal has not yet been made public, so it's not clear what it says. But its contents are damaging enough that prosecutors want to use it against her at trial, and Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner said from the bench that it is replete with references to the January 2007 slayings of Channon Christian, 21, and Christopher Newsom, 23.
"I've read it, and it certainly seems to be relevant to this incident," Baumgartner said.
In the end the journal didn't seem to make much of a difference. "Vanessa Coleman "Not Guilty" on Most Serious Charges."
(CBS/AP) After a day and a half of deliberation, the jury acquitted Vanessa Coleman of all murder charges in the torture slayings of a young Knoxville couple. Although she was not found guilty on the most serious charges and won't face a life sentence or the death penalty, Coleman was convicted of facilitating crimes against one of the victims.
As Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner read the counts, the jury found Coleman "not guilty" on the first fourteen, stating "guilty" only on 17 counts that tied Coleman to the murder, rape, and robbery of 23-year-old Channon Christian. The conviction of Coleman ends a string of trials that have been underway since Christian and her 23-year-old boyfriend Christopher Newsom were found murdered, raped, and robbed in January 2007.
There was some controversy over Coleman getting immunity for testifying against the others. "Vanessa Coleman was never granted immunity," so says the Prosecution. Her sister, Aja took the stand to tell the jury her sister never touched a gun. Vanessa Coleman put her head down on a table for most of the testimony and her mother, Linda Coleman, left the courtroom.
For the fifth time the Newsom/Christian families had to live through the horrific testimony on how their children were tortured, raped, and killed. Excepted for sentencing, this long and tragic parade is almost over.
Prosecutors want max sentence for Vanessa Coleman
The Knoxville News Sentinel reported that Assistant District Attorney General Leland Price wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed Friday in Knox County that 22-year-old Vanessa Coleman, of Lebanon, Ky., should get 77 years in prison.
Coleman was convicted earlier this year as a facilitator in the kidnapping, rape and murder of 21-year-old Channon Christian. She was acquitted of charges related to similar crimes committed against Christian's boyfriend, 23-year-old Christopher Newsom.
Price asked that the sentences on each charge be served consecutively, which would add up to a maximum of 77 years. Sentencing is set for July 30. (AP July 11, 2010)
Coleman's case is complicated by the fact that, while she was granted immunity by federal authorities for testimony in the federal case on the car-jacking, the state courts have ruled that the federal grant of immunity does not extend to the state charges on murder and rape. On May 13, 2010, Coleman was acquitted of first degree murder but found guilty on lesser charges. On July 30, 2010, she was sentenced to 53 years behind bars.
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