George Thomas guilty, gets life sentence with possibility of parole

10:27 PM, May 17, 2013   |    comments
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Video: Jury finds George Thomas guilty on all counts

Video: Web extra: Newsom family reacts to sentencing of George Thomas

Video: Web extra: Christian family react to Thomas guilty verdict

Video: George Thomas sentenced to life in prison

  • George Thomas/file
    

Update 5:45 pm.  The jury has recommended a sentence of life with the possibility of parole for George Thomas in the murders of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom, which means he could be eligible for parole in 51 years. He has already served six of those years. In his previous trial, he was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

The judge with deliver the official sentence. A hearing has been set for June 4.

Update 5:20 pm.  The jury has received their instructions from the judge, and court has recessed while they deliberate.

Update 4:20 pm.  After emotional testimony from the parents of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom, Bridget Thomas, George Thomas' mother, took the stand.

She showed pictures of Thomas as a child and young man, and asked the court for mercy for her son.  She said her heart goes out to the Christian and Newsom families, but wants them to have mercy on her family also. 

She is asking the jury to give her son the minimum sentence of life with parole, which means he would have to serve at least 51 years.

Update 3:20 pm.  The families of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom are delivering victim impact statements.  They are not allowed to address defendant George Thomas directly. Pictures of Channon and Chris are being shown.  This is the first time that the jurors have seen photos of the victims.

The parents have made these statements several times before, but they are no less heartbreaking.

Deene Christian said Channon would have been 28 years old now, and would never get to plan her perfect wedding, or have the four children she dreamed of.  She spoke of love Channon had for her father and brother, and how her daughter was her friend. She said, "My perfect family is now broken, and it'll never be the same."

Gary Christian took the stand next, telling stories about his little girl, painting a picture of their loving relationship, and typical father/daughter stories.  He said he loved coming home after work and seeing Channon's smile.  He said he would never get to dance with his daughter at her wedding.

Mary Newsom spoke of Chris' love for baseball, and for his girlfriend, "He wanted to live. He loved Channon and wanted to have a future."  She said he would have been a great father, and is heartbroken that they'll never hold his children.  Hugh Newsom shared stories of his Christian son, whose room was full of trophies and ribbons he'd won.

George Thomas' family members are also expected to take the stand.

Update 1:40 pm.  Court has resumed for the penalty phase in the George Thomas trial.

Guilty on all counts

(WBIR-Knoxville) The jury in the George Thomas trial has found him guilty on all 38 counts against him.

Thomas was one of four defendants previously convicted in connection with the 2007 murders of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom.  He was granted a retrial because the previous judge, Richard Baumgartner, could not serve in his role as the 13th juror to affirm the verdict after he stepped down from the bench because of a prescription pill addiction.

The jury found Thomas guilty on all 38 counts against him.  Previously, there were 46 counts against Thomas, but some of them were merged with other charges.  Court will resume later this afternoon for the penalty phase of the trial, which will include victim impact statements, to determine Thomas' sentence.

Thomas found guilty on all counts against George Thomas:

C 1: Kill Newsom while Robbing Newsom
C 2: Kill Newsom while Robbing Christian
C 3: Kill Christian while Robbing Newsom
C 4: Kill Christian while Robbing Christian
C 5: Kill N while Kidnap N
C 6: Kill N while Kidnap C
C 7: Kill C while Kidnap N
C 8: Kill C while Kidnap C
C 9: Kill N while Rape N
C 10: Kill N while Rape C
C 11: Kill C while Rape N
C 12: Kill C while Rape C
C 13: Kill N while Theft of N
C 14: Kill N while Theft of C
C 15: Kill C while Theft of N
C 16: Kill C while Theft of C
C 17: Intentionally Kill N w/ premeditation
C 18: Intentionally Kill C w/ premeditation
C 19: Rob N
C 20: Rob C
C 21: Kidnap N w/ weapon
C 22: Kidnap N causing injury
C 23: Kidnap C w/ weapon
C 24: Kidnap C causing injury
C 26: Anal penetration of N while armed
C 27: Anal penetration of N causing injury
C 29: Anal penetration of N while being aided and abetted by one or more persons
C 33: Anal penetration of C while armed
C 34: Oral penetration of C while armed
C 35: Vaginal penetration of C while armed
C 36: Anal penetration of C causing injury
C 37: Oral penetration of C causing injury
C 38: Vaginal penetration of C causing injury
C 42: Anal penetration of C while being aided and abetted by one or more persons
C 43: Oral penetration of C while being aided and abetted by one or more persons
C 44: Vaginal penetration of C while being aided and abetted by one or more persons
C 45: Theft of N $500 or less
C 46: Theft of C $10,000-$60,000

The jury, which was selected last week from Nashville, heard three days of testimony.  The prosecution rested on Wednesday.  The defense called no witnesses.  Closing arguments were Thursday morning, and the jury got the case Thursday afternoon.  They deliberated for six hours before going back to their hotels to get some rest.  They started back up again Friday morning at 9:00 am.

 

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