Christian, Newsom families to fight parole for Vanessa Coleman

(WBIR-Knoxville) After fighting for justice at countless court hearings, the families of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom are preparing for yet another battle after they found out this week Vanessa Coleman is set to appear before a parole board in October.

"I immediately got sick to my stomach, I got a headache, and then you know, and then anger. The anger comes back. And it's like you know, we thought maybe we had a little bit of time and now we're just right back in fight mode, so to speak. Fighting the system," said Deena Christian, mother of Channon Christian.

Christian and Newsom were carjacked, raped, tortured, and murdered in January of 2007.

Vanessa Coleman has been behind bars since then, serving a 35-year sentence a judge handed down in February 2013.

PREVIOUS: Vanessa Coleman sentenced for her role in the Christian-Newsom case

"We were expecting a little breathing room. We knew she would be coming up for parole, applying the 30 percent off of 35 years comes to 10.5 years when we knew she would be coming up at that point for a parole hearing. But we never dreamed it would be this early," said Hugh Newsom.

The families got a phone call from a victim's advocate in Nashville, informing them of a parole board hearing October 8th set for 9:30 a.m. CST.

"It's kind of like another slap in the face to the victims to have to go through this. We were never told she could get out even earlier for good behavior," said Mary Newsom.

"Apparently as long as they are there for bed check, which I think is 9 p.m., and they behave decently, then they are awarded 16 days per month, 192 days per year," explained Hugh Newsom. "And we're not talking about cells. She's staying in dormitory rooms."

The Newsoms expected Coleman to be eligible for parole in 2017, when she would have served 30-percent of her 35 consecutive year sentence.

"I feel she's very dangerous. She's an evil person. She enjoyed that weekend that she spent there. Thought it was fun. That's not the kind of person you want out on the street again," said Mary Newsom.

"Out in December? Now how much of a detterent is that? None," said Hugh Newsom. "That's not a sentence. And the fact that she wrote in her journal that she enjoyed that weekend is vivid evidence that woman has no conscious whatsoever."

In a journal page dated January 9th, 2007, just two days after the barbaric crime, Coleman wrote: "Let's talk about Adventures! I've had one hell of an adventure since I've been in the big T."

"That very vividly describes who Vanessa Coleman really is," said Hugh Newsom.

"She should never walk the streets again, A. But B., to be able to be eligible for parole on a 35 year sentence, and it's only been 7 and a half years, that's a little absurd," said Christian.

Christian said she hopes to see a bus load of supporters travel to Nashville for the hearing.

"It's open to the public," said Christian. "We're going to fight. We're going down there on the 8th and we'll fight the parole board all the way. And I just can't believe that they would possibly put her back out on the street."

The Newsoms said they are researching and making calls to lawmakers to find out what needs to be done to change the law.

"We're going to protest as much as we can, and get a petition started," said Mary Newsom.

"We're voicing all of our opposition and concern that we can to muster to counter that. And we're pulling out all stops," said Hugh Newsom. "If we can get this changed, it will be benefit to other victims families later on."

Coleman was originally sentenced 53 years but a judge granted a retrial since the initial judge, Richard Baumgartner, admitted to pill abuse on the bench.


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