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Jury in Thomas trial does not reach verdict; deliberations to resume at 9 a.m.

9:01 PM, May 16, 2013   |    comments
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Update 8 pm

The jury continued to deliberate through the evening and did not reach a verdict.

Deliberations will resume at 9 a.m. Friday.

Update 1:20 pm Thursday

After a lunch break, the jury will begin deliberating in the George Thomas trial.

Sixteen jurors have heard all the evidence, but now two men and two women have been named as alternates.  That leaves six men and six women to deliberate the charges against them.  Eight of the jurors are white, four of them are black.

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Update 12:05 pm Thursday

Senior Judge Walter Kurtz is now charging the jury, giving them their instructions before they begin deliberations in the George Thomas trial.

Closing arguments began after the defense rested without calling any witnesses.

The prosecution tried to leave the jury with the fact that even though there was no physical evidence tying Thomas to the carjacking, rape, and murder of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom, he was part of the team, "united with them." 

The defense urged the jury to consider only the evidence before them and the law, that Thomas could not be held criminally responsible for something done by the people he was with.  They contend he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Update 9:26 a.m. Thursday morning

Events moved quickly Thursday morning during the retrial of George Thomas.

As expected, the state rested. 

Shortly afterwards, Thomas was called to the stand to verify he would not testify.

The defense then rested without calling a single witness and without expert testimony.

Stay with 10News for more on this developing story throughout the day.

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The state is expected to rest their case Thursday morning in the George Thomas retrial.

The prosecution is still building its case, outlining for the jury what happened the night and days after Channon Christian and Chris Newsom were carjacked, raped, and murdered.

Representatives from several cell phone companies took the stand Wednesday morning, talking about the calls and locations from the cell phones of the victims.

Then, Stacy Lawson, Thomas' ex-girlfriend, took the stand.  She was with Thomas for about a year, including the time when the murders happened.  She lived in Kentucky, but recalled visiting Knoxville and the house on Chipman Street twice before the murders.  She reiterated the size of the house, saying it was very small and you could hear everyone's conversation.  The prosecution is trying to prove that Thomas had to know what was happening to Channon Christian in that house.

Lawson also recognized the other suspects convicted in the case when showed pictures.  She recalled shooting a gun with defendant Vanessa Coleman and that alleged ringleader Lemaricus Davidson pointed a gun at her.  "I never liked him," she said.  She said she never saw Thomas, who she called G, with a gun.

She said after the murders, Thomas and Coleman came  back to Kentucky, and didn't look like themselves.  She heard about the murders on tv, and recognized pictures of Davidson and another suspect, Letalvis Cobbins, and said she was trying to figure out if Thomas and Coleman were connected. She admitted to lying to police about their location, because she was scared.

She said she loved Thomas, and still did, in a way.

Before they broke for lunch, the jury heard the transcript of an interview George Thomas did with investigations after the murder.  You can read that here.

The afternoon session of court saw Knox County Medical Examiner Dr. Darinka Mileusnic-Polchan on the stand.  She testified to how Channon and Chris died, and showed graphic images of the bodies.  Family members, who've been forced to view these pictures in court several times in the past, were visibly upset. They held on to each other and friends who are with them in the courtroom.  Some members of Channon's family left the courtroom, and one juror turned away at one image of Channon's body.



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