Friday, October 12, 2012

The First Knoxville Horror Trial of Vanessa Coleman: What on Earth Went on in the Jury Room? David in TN’s Questions for a Coleman Trial Juror

Posted by Nicholas Stix

My friend and colleague, David in TN, was disturbed by a lengthy comment a reader made on July 17 on my article on the first Vanessa Coleman trial, which was prosecuted in 2010, and which David attended for three days.

Coleman faced dozens of charges, including rape and murder, for the horrific carjacking-kidnapping-gang-rape-torture-killings of white couple Channon Christian and her boyfriend, Christopher Newsom, by a gang of racist blacks.

The reader claimed to have been a juror in that trial, in which Coleman was acquitted on all major counts, convicted merely of facilitating the rape and murder of Channon Christian, and sentenced to 53 years in prison. That verdict has since been thrown out by replacement judge Jon Kerry Blackwood, who had ordered a retrial, due to Judge Blackwood’s expansive interpretation of the non-trial offenses of trial judge Richard Baumgartner, who has since been convicted in state court, and who will go on trial in federal court later this month.

David has asked me to “bump up” his recent questions of said reader from the Coleman trial thread, and writes, “I apologize if my questions were too accusatory.”

I am only too happy to comply with David’s wishes.

The Reader’s Story

I was a juror in the Coleman case. There are a few factual errors in your (and your friend's) account of the proceedings and facts of the case, but they are not material to the point of your blog - which is that this was a hate crime. I agree that it definitely was.

Lavitt's effort to portray Coleman as just as much a victim as Channon did not have credence with white female jurors (plural) but we did have one [N.S.: black?] female juror who was as dumb as a bag of hammers. She constantly yammered on in the jury room about how her son was in prison, and though she never said so, it was pretty clear she didn't have the ability to send anyone to prison for any reason. How she made it through the juror interviews is another question.

The same juror was known to pass written questions for the witnesses to the bailiff AFTER the witness had been dismissed and had left the courtroom. I think she was retarded. Not trying to be mean, just accurate.

The other white, female jurors, to my knowledge, had absolutely no pity for Coleman. I spoke with them daily, and some of them, I still do to this day.

We are all dismayed that all trials have been overturned because of Judge Baumgartner's drug problems. We all had visits to our homes in Nashville from private investigators intent on prosecuting the judge, and they eventually succeeded.

I can't vouch for what other jurors said to the investigators, but when they showed up on my doorstep, I stated that the judge often looked tired, but never failed to do his job when the proceedings were getting off course. His behavior in no way affected the outcome. Whenever he came to speak with us in the jury room, he was always as sharp as a tack. I honestly admire the guy to this day, other than the fact that he let a lot of people down, especially Chris and Channon's families.

Here's hoping that the retrials end with MUCH harsher sentences for these vermin, especially Coleman. She is among the worst human beings who ever lived.

TUESDAY, JULY 17, 2012 8:02:00 PM EDT

David in TN’s Challenge

To the juror in the Coleman case, Anonymous Tuesday, July 17, 2012 8:02:00 PM EDT:

I saw your comment a few days ago. I am Nicholas Stix's friend. I have been assisting him on this case and others for several years.

You write that the white female jurors, to your knowledge, "had absolutely no pity for Coleman." If this was the case, how do you explain the verdict? Coleman was acquitted of EVERY charge concerning Chris Newsom and of the rape and murder of Channon. She was convicted of facilitation and robbery (she had Channon's possessions) only regarding Channon Christian.

Did the four black jurors have any pity for Channon and Chris? Did they vote for acquittal on every single charge?

What did the jury think of Coleman's diary entry of in part..."I know exactly whats goin on." And "lets talk about Adventures! I've had one HELL OF AN ADVENTURE since I've been in the big T.N. its a crazy world these days! But I love the fun adventures & lessons that I've learned."


How did the not guilty jurors explain this? What consideration, if any, did the diary get?

Why didn't you and the other white females (there were six of you and two white men) stand your ground?

What role did the jury foreman play? Was the verdict a compromise?

You write: "Here's hoping that the retrials end with MUCH harsher sentences for these vermin, especially Coleman. She is among the worst human beings who ever lived."

Well, this can't happen because of Double Jeopardy. In her retrial, Coleman can only be charged with the counts she was found guilty on in the first trial. Also, Lavitt has asked Judge Blackwood to not allow any mention of Chris Newsom at all. It's likely Blackwood will agree to at least some extent, making it that much harder for the prosecution.

Coleman may be chowing down on turkey and dressing, ham and green beans, with her parents this Thanksgiving. You and your fellow jurors will have more than a little to do with it, if this happens.

David in TN


Anonymous said...

Arm yourselves people.

David In TN said...


This is what I was referring to in my review of the second episode in the STARZ Encore program on serial killer Samuel Little.

The jury was allowed to ask questions in the first Vanessa Coleman trial. I could see it was white female jurors who asked about the investigators "tricking" Coleman during interrogation. I recall a white female with an angry expression practically throw her question at the judge.

In my opinion, these are the kind of jurors who let Samuel Little off in Florida and San Diego.