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Vanessa Coleman jury to be selected from West Tennessee

3:51 PM, Nov 7, 2012   |    comments
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With the trials of her three co-defendants still on hold as a new judge takes over, Vanessa Coleman will face another jury next week.  That jury will come from West Tennessee.

Coleman was the only woman charged in the brutal murders of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom.  The young Knox County couple was carjacked, raped, and killed in 2007.  Four people were charged in connection with their deaths, and three men were found guilty of first degree murder.  Coleman was found guilty of facilitation of Christian's murder. 

All of those convictions were thrown out when the presiding judge, Richard Baumgartner, admitted to a prescription drug addiction.  After a prolonged court battle, Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood was removed from presiding over the cases of Lemaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, and George Thomas.

However, Blackwood will still preside over Coleman's case, because her retrial was not challenged by prosecutors.  It is set to begin Tuesday.

Wednesday,  Coleman's defense attorney Ted Lavit revealed that jury selection will be held Friday in Jackson.   According to the Madison County Circuit Clerk, Kathy Blount, there are 500 potential jurors that can be questioned. She expects jury selection to be completed on Friday.

Normally, that information would come from the county court clerk's office, but they directed us to Judge  Blackwood.  On Tuesday, when we contacted the  Administrative Office of the Courts to find out where jury selection would be, we were told that, according to Judge Blackwood's office, "that information was not available."

John Gill, Special Prosecutor for the Knox County District Attorney General's Office told us that it was the understanding of the D.A's office that Judge Blackwood didn't want that information released.

In their fight to get Judge Blackwood removed from the Christian/Newsom cases, prosecutors raised concerns that the judge worked to keep details of the judicial process in this case from the media and the public.

10News contacted Judge Blackwood's office to ask about the jury selection late Wednesday morning, and we have still not heard back. 

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