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Letalvis Cobbins asks for new attorney as he seeks retrial for brutal murders

1:45 PM, Nov 20, 2012   |    comments
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Letalvis Cobbins

While Vanessa Coleman was waiting to find out the verdict in her retrial, her co-defendant Letalvis Cobbins was in another Knox County courtroom, asking for a new attorney.

Cobbins is one of three men who were convicted of first degree murder in the deaths of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom in 2007.  He is asking for a retrial because of the actions of the previous judge, Richard Baumgartner, who admitted to a prescription pain pill addiction during the trial.

Tuesday, Cobbins appeared before the new judge recently appointed to hear his case, Senior Judge Walter Kurtz.

In August, Cobbins submitted a hand-written motion expressing that he was unhappy with his attorney Kim Parton.  He wrote that there had been occassions that she had not provided him with court documents in a timely matter.

Back then, Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood presided over Cobbins' matters.  He gave an oral order for Parton to have no contact with Cobbins, so she could work for him but not with him.

Since then, the State Supreme Court has removed Judge Blackwood from Cobbins' case, and replaced him with Judge Kurtz.

The judge denied the request for new counsel after hearing from Cobbins, who took the stand.

Pratt then asked Judge Kurtz if Cobbins could be transported between Riverbend Maximum Security Prison and Knox County directly when he was needed in court, instead of going through Morgan County Regional Correction Facility. Pratt said Cobbins is having "issues" there, which he said in court were "life threatening." Pratt told the judge "90% of the problems would be solved if Morgan County was left out."

The judge declined that request and told Cobbins to contact the Department of Corrections in Nashville first and take the issue up with them. If it's not resolved, then the judge might step in. For now though, it seems the judge wants to stay out of it.

The Christian and Newsom families, who are at the City-County Building awaiting the Coleman verdict, sat in on Cobbins' hearing.

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