2009-11-09 15:25:37 UTC
By Nicholas Stix
In the second Knoxville Horror murder trial, only one penalty could
spell justice for the victims of Lemaricus Davidson, the man who with an
indeterminate number of accomplices carjacked, kidnapped, gang-raped,
beat, sexually tortured and murdered Channon Christian, 21, and
Christopher Newsom, 23: Death.
And death was indeed the sentence finally meted out to Davidson on
Friday afternoon, by seven male and five female jurors.
Two days earlier, the jury had convicted Davidson on 35 out of 38 state
The trial was a defeat for Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard H.
Baumgartner, who had again sought to subvert justice and save Davidson
from the executioner’s needle, as he had earlier saved Davidson’s
convicted accomplice and half-brother, Letalvis Cobbins.
In Cobbins’ August trial, Judge Baumgartner had abused the jury
selection process, in order to rig the sentencing options. Although the
victims were both white, and the assailants had committed the atrocity
in a jurisdiction that is 88 percent white and only 8.8 percent black,
Baumgartner went to 27.5 percent black Davidson County, to fetch a
majority-black jury, which he bused in to Knox County. That jury
convicted Cobbins of 33 out of 38 felony charges, but sentenced him only
to “life without parole”.
In Gomer Pyle’s immortal words, “Surprise, surprise, surprise!”
But in Davidson’s trial, Judge Baumgartner was confounded by the
defendant himself, who insisted on being tried before a Knox County
jury. (Davidson's defense attorneys wouldn't say why.)Hence, only one
juror was black.
But the judge had a last trick left up his sleeve.
Baumgartner made “Knox County judicial history”, in the words of
Knoxville News Sentinel reporter Jamie Satterfield, when he instructed
the jury that it is more expensive to execute a prisoner than to keep
him in jail for life. (Reporter Satterfield noted that the very study
[PDF] Baumgartner had cited showed that an execution in fact saves
taxpayers $770,000 over a life sentence without parole.)
That a death penalty-eligible prosecution is more expensive than one in
which the worst potential sentence is life without parole is no secret
in the Volunteer State. Tennessee law decrees that each defendant have
not one but two death penalty-certified defense attorneys, and that
there be an automatic appeal in the event of a death sentence.
But the key to the sentence in each trial, as Judge Baumgartner well
knew, was the racial composition of the jury. A substantial proportion
of blacks refuse, out of racial loyalty, to condemn a black convicted of
capital murder to death, the statute be damned. Thus, Baumgartner’s
failure to racially stack the Davidson jury determined the outcome, and
Davidson was sentenced to death.
Davidson’s lawyers, David Eldridge and Doug Trant, in seeking to either
get him off altogether or at least save his neck, trod three separate
paths in diversity law.
Prior to and during the trial, the defense filed numerous motions,
Arguing that the January 9, 2007 search of the since-demolished
house at 2316 Chipman Street, where the gang-rapes and torture of the
victims and Christian’s murder had been committed, was illegal—because
the lead case investigator had signed the second page of the search
warrant, but not the first—and thus that all evidence collected at the
crime scene, including Channon Christian’s corpse, be suppressed;
Claiming that Davidson’s police statement should be thrown out;
Asking that all charges against Davidson be dismissed, following
the revelation that two Knox County sheriff’s deputies had accidentally
copied and forwarded, unread, to prosecutors some correspondence between
Davidson and his attorneys; and
Asking for a mistrial (talk about chutzpah!) after a young female
lawyer on the prosecution team fainted in court at the sight of a
picture of the genital wounds inflicted by the victims’ tormentors—which
the defense had unsuccessfully sought to have suppressed.
(Note that many of these procedural protections, while on paper
race-neutral, were instituted from the 1960s onward to help minority
felons escape justice. Leftists condemned the search for justice for the
victims of black predators as “racist”, and an exercise in “blaming the
victim”, i.e., the racist black predator was the real “victim”. Prior to
the 1960s’ explosion in black crime, some infamous white criminals had
been romanticized, but there had never been a massive, influential
movement, found even within criminal justice institutions, that sought
to help heinous criminals escape punishment.)
Judge Baumgartner rejected all of the above motions. He wasn’t looking
to get Davidson off altogether, he simply opposed giving him proper
Bizarro World Defense:
In Davidson’s January, 2007 police statement (summary; video;
transcript), amid countless, mutually contradictory revisions, he
consistently held that he had never seen Christian or Newsom before
January 7, 2007; never laid a hand on or had sex with Christian; that
Christian had not come to the house seeking to buy “dope”; blamed the
other suspects for the kidnapping and killing; and sought to present
himself as a would-be hero who had promised Christian that he would save
her life, but who had tragically come up short.
But Davidson’s defense team proceeded as if his police statement had
been thrown out—whether out of laziness, incompetence, a desire to sow
confusion among the jurors, or the hope that the one black juror would
hang the jury, the facts be damned.
They repeatedly implied that the victims had been in East Knoxville to
buy drugs, and that Christian had had consensual vaginal sex with
Davidson. (They suggested that Davidson’s sperm had dripped out of
Christian’s vagina, and into her rectum.)
A friend of Davidson’s, Ethel Lynn Freeman, testified that on the night
of the crime, she saw them panhandling for gas money at an East
Knoxville gas station in a notorious drug area. But there were at least
three problems with Freeman’s testimony:
It contradicted her previous testimony, as a prosecution witness,
in the Eric Boyd and Letalvis Cobbins trials, respectively;
Based on what we know from other sources about the victims and
about that night, it was utterly lacking in credibility (e.g., the
victims weren’t short of money);
At the time of her death, Channon Christian had only a small
amount of alcohol, and no drugs, in her system.
The defense team also scrounged up convicted thief Jeffrey Bradley, who
now claimed to have seen Christian get out of a car with Davidson and
another woman that weekend. The prosecution was able to show that the
car was in a different state.
The Slut Defense:
Via a new DNA test, the defense team was able to show that sperm from
two additional, unidentified men was in Christian’s underwear. However,
since there was no sperm on or in her from her boyfriend, far from
suggesting that Channon Christian was promiscuous, the DNA test
suggested that at least two additional rapist-murderers are still at large.
Note that defense lawyers Eldridge and Trant perpetrated their
unscrupulous smears of the characters of the victims in court in the
presence of their grieving families.
For the sentencing phase, Eldridge and Trant switched to the standard
pity play: “Hey, I'm depraved on account I'm deprived”.
Davidson supposedly suffered horrific abuse as a child. “Expert”
witnesses insisted that when Davidson was a wee lad, the violent die was
already cast. He was the victim, after all. (Then why prosecute him. Why
not just give him the keys to the city?)
Some of the same weepy, pathetic relatives who had testified in Cobbins’
defense reprised their performances.
However, Davidson had spent some of his teen years with loving group
home and foster parents, during which time he had shown none of the
violence that the “experts” had testified was unavoidable.
The jury was unimpressed.
Davidson’s defense counsel will surely maintain that they were simply
giving him a vigorous defense, and that they would be guilty of
providing inadequate counsel, had they failed to do so.
I don’t buy that. Defense attorneys for black defendants, whether black
or white, increasingly spew nonsense indistinguishable from that of
paranoid black supremacists, and even outside of court, typically talk
as if their trial antics were justified by the facts.
Lawyers, like judges, are officers of the court, sworn to uphold the
rule of law.
They should not be indulging fantasies that they know to be untrue, and
are barred from suborning perjury.
Unfortunately, “diversity” has rotted the criminal justice system, just
as it has rotted all other American institutions.
The explosion in black violent crime—much of it consisting in racially
motivated attacks on whites—was part and parcel of the so-called civil
rights movement, i.e., “diversity”, whose leaders (including Martin
Luther King Jr.) mixed racism with communism, and taught blacks that
they were not obliged to obey America’s “racist” laws. The elite media
and academe increasingly identified with black criminals—to the point of
lying not only about black felons’ motives, but even about the extent of
the crime. They insisted, the facts be damned, that innocent black males
were routinely “racially profiled”, rounded up and imprisoned, and even
murdered by racist police. The same race-baiting “civil rights” ideology
was behind both the black-on-white crime wave, and the lies about it.
Police and prosecutors, sometimes grudgingly, sometimes
enthusiastically, went along.
Thus, in black-on-white racial atrocities, police and prosecutors have
developed tortuous methods of interrogation and courtroom questioning of
suspects and victims, attempting to get (self-incriminating) statements
adequate to achieve convictions, while at the same time avoiding the
bringing of “hate facts” to light.
Detectives must also interrogate each suspect, while tiptoeing through
the latter’s own minefield of lies, contradictions, and omissions,
anticipating possibly three future minefields:
Defense attorney objections and motions to suppress the suspect’s
The search by jurors who support black and Hispanic felons for
pretexts to ignore incriminating and self-incriminating statements, and
acquit the defendants;
Similar behavior by appeals court judges.
Specifically, in the interest of political correctness, the law
enforcement authorities bar themselves from asking suspects (and later,
in court, defendants and victims) obvious questions about motive.
For instance, in the December 2000 Wichita Massacre, Sedgwick County
(Kansas) DA Nola Foulston’s cross-examination of the two survivors of
black brothers Jonathan and Reginald Carr’s mass murder-rape-robbery
spree followed a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. She asked no questions
to which answers might show that the Carrs had said politically
incorrect things to their exclusively white victims, possibly
constituting evidence of a “hate crime”.
In the Knoxville case, kidnapper-rapist-torturer-murderer Letalvis
Cobbins offered a Grand Canyon-wide opening to ask such questions.
“In his statement to [Knoxville Police Department Investigator Steve]
Still, Cobbins conceded he knew Davidson had evil on his mind before the
“‘He was already making suggestions like he wanted to go—he never said
he was going to go and do it,’ Cobbins said, though he didn't elaborate.”
[Carjack/slaying trial, Day 4: 'They were crazy man': suspect defends
inaction by Jamie Satterfield, Knoxville News Sentinel, August 20, 2009.]
“Do it”? Do what?
Amazingly, neither investigators nor prosecutors ever asked Cobbins what
“it” was. (See my concluding comments).
Of course, when politically correct law enforcement officials seek to
deny the racial motivation of a transparently racially-motivated
black-on-white crime, any old pretext—or its opposite—will do.
Thus, we have the Knox County authorities and Main Stream Media
describing “as a carjacking gone wrong” an act in which there is no
evidence of any carjacking motive (since the vehicle was almost
immediately dumped, rather than being kept or sold), or kidnapping
(since the abductors never showed any interest in ransom).
This MO by authorities and the media is the equivalent to their
practice, when confronted with a black stranger murdering a white
without any attempt to rob him or evidence of any other conventional
motive, of calling the crime “a botched robbery”. But the motive often
isn’t the one for which there is no evidence, namely robbery, but the
obvious one—racial murder.
Thus, notoriously, when California authorities were confronted in the
early 1970s, with anywhere from 70-270 black-on-white stranger murders
in which no conventional motive played a role, they initially employed
the euphemism “motiveless murders”, and ignored what was really
happening: the Nation of Islam’s anti-white mass murder campaign.
Authorities later adopted secondary euphemisms, such as “botched robberies”.
But in the Knoxville case, rather than avoid the race issue, as Wichita
Massacre DA Foulston had done, the authorities aggressively
misrepresented the facts. Acting as if they were working for the various
defense teams, Knox County District Attorney General Randy Nichols’
office and sheriffs Sterling Owen IV and his successor, Jimmy Jones,
cited the fact that Lemaricus Davidson had been sleeping with a white
female as grounds for denying that the crime was racially motivated.
In variously handcuffing themselves from seeking the truth, lying about
the killers’ motive, and misrepresenting the known facts from the
get-go, the Knoxville authorities opened the door to defense attorneys
to lie with abandon. The police and prosecutors’ lie, that the Knoxville
Horror was “a carjacking gone wrong”, opened the door for the defense to
substitute its own lie. As Jamie Satterfield reported in the October 20
Knoxville News Sentinel, “The defense is continuing, via
cross-examination, to label the slayings the result not of a carjacking
gone bad but a drug deal gone bad.”
The defense further asserted that that it was the “the gang from
Kentucky” (i.e., every defendant except Davidson), who had raped,
beaten, tortured and murdered Christian and Newsom.
How about we use the known facts, for a change?
The blogger A Race Against Time has formulated a theory regarding
Davidson’s motive based on the recent release of the police transcript
of the January, 2007 interrogation of Lemaricus Davidson’s white former
girlfriend, Daphne Sutton. It has the virtues of both evidence-based
plausibility and simplicity:
“The Knoxville torture slayings in a nutshell: Naive white girl falls
for black boy. Black boy beats white girl. White girl finally leaves
black boy. Black boy and his black friends take out their anger by
raping, torturing, and killing the first white couple they come across….
“Sutton revealed to police that she had only known Davidson for two
weeks when she moved in with him at 2316 Chipman Street [the murder
house]. She said she had never dated a black man before, and her mind
was clouded by drugs:
‘I've been living with my parents for like a year and a half, and I
really can't stand it. You know how it is, living with your parents. So
I met him, and he was getting this house and asked me to move in with
him, and I guess just the first person to take care of me I jumped into.
‘I don't even date black guys, my kids are white, so I don't know what
the hell I was thinking. I really don't. Maybe, I don't know, the drugs,
[NS: According to Cobbins, Davidson was a drug dealer.]
“Davidson regularly beat Sutton, and eventually she left him and moved
out. The very next night, Davidson and some of his black friends
carjacked a white couple that was out on a date. Letalvis Cobbins,
Davidson's brother, testified that Christian and Newsom ‘was uh kissing
in the car or whatever’ when Davidson carjacked them and drove them back
to his Chipman Street home….”
“There's no question these crimes were racially motivated. Davidson was
angry his white girlfriend had left him, and when he saw a young white
couple kissing he snapped and decided to take his anger out on them. The
Knoxville authorities didn't quite see things this way.
“Astonishingly, the authorities considered the fact Davidson's white
girlfriend had just left him to be a mitigating factor in their decision
not to seek hate crimes charges…
“Imagine a white male trying to claim he can't be charged with a hate
crime because he has socialized with black people in the past. People
would just laugh. In fact, a 14-year-old white boy in suburban Chicago
was charged with a hate crime last year for using a racial epithet
toward his black girlfriend after she broke up with him.
[Why White Girls Go Black and What Happens When They Go Back, A Race
Against Time, October 14, 2009.]
My conclusion: Since the 1960s, America’s white elites have repeatedly
sought to make what Peggy Noonan has called—though without addressing
the racial subtext—“a separate peace” for themselves with
non-Asian-minority (NAM) elites. The deal entails racially sacrificing
qualified white university and job applicants, and candidates for
promotions, on behalf of unqualified NAMs through affirmative action;
racially sacrificing whites to NAM criminals of all ages; lying about
the sacrifices; and, of course, inventing the Orwellian category of
“hate crimes” which—as the Wichita and Knoxville cases suggest, and
Attorney General Holder recently made clear—cannot be committed against
ordinary American whites.
Each time, black and Hispanic elites humor the white elites, cut the
deal, generously sacrifice more non-elite whites—and soon thereafter,
tear up and re-negotiate the deal.
At each re-negotiation, there are more NAMs making wilder demands, and
fewer non-elite whites to sacrifice.
Noonan quotes an anecdote from Christopher Lawford’s book lawford
Symptoms Of Withdrawal about his uncle Teddy Kennedy (of all people) in
his old age:
"[Kennedy] took a long, slow gulp of his vodka and tonic, thought for a
moment, and changed tack. 'I'm glad I'm not going to be around when you
guys are my age.' I asked him why, and he said, 'Because when you guys
are my age, the whole thing is going to fall apart.' "
“The statement hung there, suspended in the realm of 'maybe we shouldn't
go there.' Nobody wanted to touch it. After a few moments of heavy
silence, my uncle moved on."
The time-bomb is ticking.
(I wish to thank reader “D”, who served as my unofficial research
assistant, for his invaluable help during this trial.)
Nicholas Stix [email him] lives in New York City, which he views from
the perspective of its public transport system, experienced in his
career as an educator. His weekly column appears at Men’s News Daily and
many other Web sites. He has also written for Middle American News, the
New York Daily News, New York Post, Newsday, Chronicles, Ideas on
Liberty and the Weekly Standard. He maintains two blogs: A Different
Drummer and Nicholas Stix, Uncensored.