Court Coverage

Nov 13, 2012 2:01 PM

Retrial Of Woman Begins In Knoxville Woman's Death

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The retrial of a Kentucky woman in the 2007 torture killing of a young Knoxville woman is under way in Knoxville.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reported prosecutors laid out a timeline Tuesday morning in the slayings of 21-year-old Channon Christian and 23-year-old Christopher Newsom in opening statements at the trial of Vanessa Coleman. Coleman is not charged in Newsom's death.

Coleman, of Lebanon, Ky., was previously convicted of playing a part in the facilitation of crimes against Christian.

Charges against her relating to Newsom's killing had been dropped, and she cannot be retried on them.

Knox County Assistant District Attorney General TaKisha Fitzgerald told jurors the small house where the couple were taken and assaulted was so small that no one could be in the house and not know what was taking place.

Defense attorney Ted Lavit told the jury his client had nothing to do with Christian's slaying and was essentially kept in the house against her will.

Christian and Newsome were taken to the house after they were carjacked.

The state and the defense agreed the retrial of Coleman was necessary after the trial judge acknowledged he was using tranquillizers during the initial trial.

The state is challenging a ruling that three men convicted in the killings must also be retried.

A jury chosen in Madison County is hearing the trial.

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

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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