Friday, May 14, 2010

Miscarriage of Justice

By Gayle D'Ambrosio Crabtree

This has to be the saddest miscarriage of justice that I have ever seen or heard.  My heart goes out to the families. They were robbed of the justice that they rightfully deserved. 

Channon Christian and Chris Newsom were carjacked, kidnapped, raped repeatedly and horrendously murdered.  Vanessa Coleman is the fourth person to be tried in the spree of evil. Some of the other parties involved received either life without parole or the death penalty. (Read more here.)  

Because media saturation about the case was so intense a jury was brought in from Nashville and sequestered.  Some in Knoxville were already wary because of feelings that the previous Nashville jury let the families of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom down.  It turns out that their concerns may have been warranted. This jury didn't deliver either.

Vanessa Coleman was in the Chipman Street house when Chris Newsom was beaten, raped, bound and set on fire. Whether she may have seen him or not is a matter of lively debate. What is known is that she was in the house while Channon Christian was bound, raped, beaten, sodomized, raped orally and anally. When it was over the monsters who had control of her body stuffed her into several trashbags. Then they threw the still-bound Channon Christian into a trashcan and left her.

At no time did Vanessa Coleman try to get help for Channon. Vanessa claims to have never heard Channon cry out for help or scream. She also claimed that she was afraid of her boyfriend. This was not necessarily backed up by the evidence that was exposed in a journal that Vanessa kept.

An announcement was made early on that Vanessa Coleman would take the stand. Yet, she did not. Many of us in Knoxville were intensely curious as to what she might have to say. Perhaps that is why she decided not to testify on her own behalf?  

Knoxville waited while the Nashville jury deliberated. The victims' families held their breath. The parents of Vanessa Coleman waited. 

When the verdict was finally read no one was smiling - except Vanessa Coleman. Her smile was as bright as the sun. It should be. She was in the house the night that these horrors happened. She never called for help on any of the several cell phones that were in the house. Yet, in the end, she was only found guilty of facilitation of murder. 

Unlike the victims whom she either refused to help (or was unable to help) the life of Vanessa Coleman has been spared. Her sentencing is in July. 


  1. I, too, didn't fall for that I didn't see Chris in the house defense. I think she had to have seen him there, she knew when he was taken from that house and walked to the tracks where he was shot and set on fire. Chris and the Newsom family was slapped in the face by this jury!

    And I feel the Christian family and Channon were also let down with the lesser guilty verdicts. How can anyone not understand perpetration of a crime? How can they understand facilitation and not perpetration?

    VC will spend years in prison but she will also have parole to look forward to. Hopefully Judge Baumgartner will sentence her to the maximum with no parole until she spends those x amount of years in prison.

  2. If he stacks the deck right, she will never see the outside of a jail cell again.
    And this was a hate crime. You do not do the things they did to these two innocent victims unless there's hatred in your heart.


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