KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — “I will never forget, as one of [Chris Newsom’s] sisters called you a savage beast, you nodding your head up and down and smiling.”
That was one of many powerful moments in a Knoxville courtroom Wednesday as Gary Christian gave his victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing of Eric Boyd for his role in the murders of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom.
Boyd, 47, was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences plus 90 years by Judge Bob McGee at the end of the hearing.
Last month, Boyd was found guilty of all charges against him in the January 2007 kidnapping, rape and murders of Christian and Newsom.
Newsom's father, mother and two sisters all shared victim impact statements during the hearing, as well as Christian's father Gary and mother Deena.
The prosecution in the case put forward the argument that Boyd had been a career criminal and should therefore be kept off the streets for good.
It was a sentiment echoed by many of the family members in their victim impact statements.
"You... should never see the light of day," Mary Newsom, Chris' mother, told the court. "No one should ever have to go through what our families have been through.”
Andrea Newsom, Chris' sister, said Boyd needed to be given the maximum sentence to be kept off the streets.
"We need to finish this race, so I’m asking for you to do the maximum sentence possible,” she told Judge McGee.
Debbie Newsom, also Chris' sister, said she felt like the justice system had let her family down and that Boyd should have never been on the street to begin with.
"I'm asking you to not let the next family down," she told the judge.
Gary Christian told the judge that “someone like Boyd should never be allowed to inflict his devastation" on anyone else.
"Lower forms of existence like Boyd that has served nothing but darkness their entire lives deserve nothing less than a zealous, vigilant form of justice,” he said.
"The punishment given to Boyd should send a message, a warning to all the others like him and to the lesser forms of filth in our communities, they should not receive any measure of mercy from our judicial system," Gary Christian told the court later on. "They should not ever be allowed to feed on [good people] and never again.”
Evil, savage, animals
Those were some of the words family members used to describe Boyd during their statements.
"You are pure evil," Deena Christian told Boyd. "You're just the scum of the Earth," she said later during her statement.
"I cannot even fathom how human beings can do what you did to Chris,” Andrea Newsom said.
"I consider you a savage animal," she continued.
"Animals don't even do that each other," Hugh Newsom said of the way Christian and Newsom were killed.
Gary Christian said he hoped judgement would come sooner rather than later for Boyd.
"Eric Boyd has absolutely no positive value in our society. Boyd is evil. And he’s proud of that."
Standing before God
Multiple members of the victims' families mentioned God and Judgement Day throughout their statements.
"We’ll never get over the deaths of Chris and Channon, but with the help of God, we’ll get through it," Hugh Newsom told the courtroom.
"Someday, you're going to leave this Earth and you're going to have to bow before God," Andrew Newsom told Boyd.
"I'd hate to be you on the day I stand before God," was how Deena Christian finished her impact statement.
"I hope I'm standing next to God when he makes his judgment on you and sentences you to Hell," Gary Christian said.
"I'm not guilty, your honor"
Boyd addressed the court briefly at the end of the hearing, saying he was not guilty, although he acknowledged he was found guilty by a jury. He said he would work to prove his innocence.
As he strode from the courtroom afterward, Boyd announced he'd be out of prison in three years, onlookers said.