Judge Blackwood again orders new trials in Christian-Newsom cases

4:13 PM, Jun 6, 2012   |    comments
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 PDF Document: 06 05 12 new trial

Despite a recent Supreme Court ruling overturning his previous decision to grant new trials, Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood has once again granted new trials for three of the four defendants in the Christian-Newsom cases.

Judge Blackwood issues his short, two-page order on Tuesday.

In it, he acknowledges that he has reviewed his previous order based upon the mandate from the Tennessee Supreme Court.

The court overruled Blackwood's previous decision because the justices concluded that there was no evidence that former judge Richard Baumgartner's admitted drug abuse outside of the courtroom affected the outcome of the cases.

This time, Blackwood based his decision on the 13th juror rule.

"After a review as mandated by the Tennessee Supreme Court, this court finds that it is unable as successor judge to perform those duties incumbent upon the court because of its failure to preside at trial and other reasons," according to the document. "The court finds that credibility of the witnesses is an overriding and important issue which obligates this court to conclude that it cannot perform the duties of the Thirteenth Juror."

The order affects the trials of Lemaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins and George Thomas. 

While their trials have been on hold pending the decisions and appeals, Vanessa Coleman's trial has been moving forward as scheduled.

Check back to wbir.com throughout the day for more on this developing story.


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