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Thomas testifies in own defense

May 15th, 2013 3:42 pm by Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Kentucky man being retried in the slaying of a young Knoxville couple testified in his own defense.

George Thomas took the stand Wednesday and denied involvement in the kidnapping, torture and killing of Channon Christian, 21, and Christopher Newsom, 23, in January 2007.

According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, Thomas said he wanted to leave the house where the killings took place, but told the jury, "... they said let us finish. I want to go right now cause I ain't trying to set up in here."

Thomas said he didn't hear Christian screaming, but said he sleeps soundly.

On Tuesday, the girlfriend of Lemaricus Davidson, who was convicted and sentenced to die, told the jury Thomas sat in a chair and didn't say anything the day after the couple was carjacked.

Defense attorney Tom Dillard told the jury Thomas, of Lebanon, Ky., "kept his head low, smoked his dope and stayed detached" in order to survive.

Thomas would face a maximum of life without parole if he is again convicted.

He won a retrial in January. That came after Judge Richard Baumgartner, who had overseen the case, abruptly left the bench without having affirmed the verdict. An investigation found Baumgartner was addicted to prescription painkillers that he obtained from a felon in his drug court.

Thomas was one of four defendants in the slayings whose convictions were called into question by Baugartner's drug use.

A specially appointed judge denied retrials for Davidson and Letalvis Cobbins, saying that there was physical evidence tying them to the killings. Cobbins is serving a life sentence.

Vanessa Coleman was granted a retrial. She was sentenced in February to 35 years in prison.

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Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com


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