Wednesday, May 08, 2013

George Thomas’ Knoxville Horror Re-Trial: Another Nashville Jury


War crime victims Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom

A Knox County mug shot of war crime defendant George Thomas

Posted by Nicholas Stix

My legman, David in TN, who sent me this article writes,

Jury selection in the Thomas retrial starts tomorrow. The jury comes from Davidson County (Nashville) again. This is the third time.
N.S.: Thomas was spared the death penalty in his first trial, so he can’t be up for it this time, so the possible results of this trial are two: Guilty verdicts on fewer counts than the first time around, and a sentence considerably short of life until parole, or an acquittal on all counts. The verdicts and thus punishment, or lack thereof, will be determined by how many black jurors Judge Kurtz stacks the jury with.

Thomas "can't" be up again for the DP, due to the Fifth Amendment's prohibition of double jeopardy. Somewhere along the line, the Amendment was apparently revised, so that it now protects black defendants, but not white ones.

* * *
Jury selection to begin Thursday ahead of George Thomas retrial
By Stephanie Beecken
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 4:23 PM EST
6 News/WATE

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Hundreds of potential jurors will go before a judge on Thursday as jury selection gets underway for the retrial of Christian-Newsom defendant George Thomas.

Thomas is being tried for a second time for his role in the deaths of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom.

Back in December 2009, jurors found Thomas guilty of the most severe forms of all 38 counts against him including especially aggravated robbery, especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated rape and theft of property.

He was given a life sentence without the chance of parole.

But after he was sentenced, former judge Richard Baumgartner revealed that he had been abusing prescription pain pills while presiding over Thomas' trial.

Because much of the evidence that originally implicated Thomas was based on witness testimony, the special judge assigned to the case, Judge Walter Kurtz, said he could not serve as 13th juror because he had not observed the witness testimony himself.

He therefore granted Thomas a new trial.

On Wednesday, the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) said that a pool of 480 people had been subpoenaed to take part in jury selection for Thomas' retrial.

Jury selection is slated to begin at 9:15 a.m. Thursday in Davidson County.

Attorneys said they expect to have a jury seated for the case by Friday.

The trial is scheduled to begin May 13 in Knox County.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The jury for George Thomas' first trial for his part in the Knoxville Horror came from Hamilton County (Chattanooga). According to Wikipedia, Hamilton County is 20% black and Chattanooga is 35%.

During jury selection in 2009 with the Hamilton County pool, black prospective jurors didn't want to be on the jury. Many said they couldn't vote for the death penalty in any circumstances. Others openly expressed sympathy for Thomas.

The result was only one black juror for Thomas' first trial.

Judge Baumgartner was upset by this attitude. He tried to get as many blacks on the jury as he could, but had to allow them to be struck from the panel for the two above reasons.

Thomas was found guilty on every count, more than even Davidson. He didn't get death, only "LWOP."

Davidson County furnished the juries for Cobbins and Vanessa Coleman's first trial. The Cobbins jury had six black jurors (originally seven), Coleman's had four black jurors on the panel.

A black female on Cobbins' jury indicated when interviewed by a Knoxville TV station, indicated she would never vote for death despite saying she would in voir dire.

David In TN