Family members of a young Knoxville couple, murdered six years ago Monday, are remembering their son and daughter while they prepare to return to court later this week.
Channon Christian and her boyfriend, Chris Newsom, were kidnapped on January 6, 2007. They endured hours of rape, torture, and both were eventually murdered the following day.
Sunday afternoon, about one hundred people showed up at Chris Newsom's gravesite to remember him. This was the first time his family invited the public to take part in the annual memorial. The Christians attended Newsom's memorial.
Monday evening, Channon Christian's family held a similar memorial service, and a balloon release for her at Highland West Memorial park in West Knoxville. This was also the first time her parents have invited the public to attend. The Shepherd's Riding Club escorted the Christian's to their daughter's gravesite. The Newsom's attended Christian's memorial, along with more than a 100 others, including friends and family of the couple.
The Christian and Newsom families have been inseparable throughout the past six years, leaning on each other through every hearing and every trial for suspects Lemaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, George Thomas, and Vanessa Coleman.
Christian's dad, Gary, said he's received many questions over the years, from people neither family knows, about how to support them. Mr. Christian felt like inviting the public to the memorial was the best way for the public to do that, especially since court proceedings enter their seventh year later this week.
Both families plan to be in court on Thursday for a new-trial hearing for Davidson.
"My word to God, Channon will get her justice and so will Chris, no matter how long it takes. I'm not going to quit," said Gary Christian.
The outcome of that hearing could affect the judge's rulings on the retrials for Davidson, as well as Cobbins, and Thomas. Last month, the judge said that he would issue written rulings on the retrials sometime in mid-January.