As retrial approaches, tournament honors Channon and Chris

10:29 PM, May 4, 2013   |    comments
Family and friends release balloons in memory of loved ones honored at this year's 5th Annual Ray Jones Memorial Tournament.
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With another murder retrial on the horizon, the parents of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom honored their children during an annual bowling tournament.

The couple was carjacked, raped, tortured and murdered more than six years ago.

Saturday marked the beginning of the 5th Annual Ray Jones Memorial HDCP Tournament.

The month-long event honors past bowlers but this year they extended their support to the families of Channon and Chris.

"These events really do help because you get the support of those around you and that's always been a blessing from the beginning. I don't know how we would have come this far without it," said Mary Newsom, Chris' mother.

The families will need that support when George Thomas' retrial begins on May 13.

Thomas is one of two defendants granted a new trial after being convicted in the murder case.

The retrials come after former Judge Richard Baumgartner admitted to drug use during their original trials.

"I don't like it. Channon and Chris both deserve justice and it shouldn't take 6.5 to 7 years for that to happen. So in my eyes, the justice system failed them both," said Deena Christian, Channon's mother.

Mary went on to say, "To have to go through it again is just very hard; it's just like sticking another knife in your back. And it's hard to sit there and hear it all again and it just keeps it going on and you have no way of healing."

After more than six years, even after the retrials are over, Deena said she will continue to fight for Channon and Chris.

"I don't know that I'll ever heal but it does help because I don't want anybody to ever forget either," she said.

This year, the Ray Jones Memorial HDCP Tournament is in memory of the following: Brenda Leonard, Hi Myers, Mick Owenby, Channon Christian, and Chris Newsom.

The tournament will take place every Saturday and Sunday for the month of May at Fountain Lanes in North Knoxville at 1:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

All donations benefit funds set up in honor of Channon and Chris.

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