Appeals court upholds conviction in horrific Knoxville slayings
A state appeals court late Tuesday issued an opinion upholding the conviction and death sentence for the ringleader in one of Knoxville's most notorious crimes.
The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals in a 91-page opinion rejected every argument advanced by Lemaricus Davidson, who was sentenced to die in the January 2007 torture killings of Channon Christian, 21, and Christopher Newsom, 23.
Davidson was tried in October 2009. Trial testimony showed Davidson orchestrated the initial carjacking of the couple, who were held captive at Davidson's Chipman Street house before their deaths, and DNA evidence linked him to repeated rapes of Christian. Of the four defendants charged and convicted in the case, Davidson was the only one to receive a death sentence.
The appellate court, in the opinion authored by Judge James Curwood Witt Jr., ruled there was ample evidence to support all of Davidson's myriad convictions for the carjacking, kidnapping, rape and slayings of the couple. The court rejected claims by Davidson's defense team of bad rulings before trial, legal mistakes during the trial and constitutional issues involving the law itself.
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