George Thomas Jury Deliberations Go Into Second Day
A jury determining the fate of murder suspect George Thomas enters a second day of deliberations Friday morning. Thomas is being retried for his role in the 2007 carjacking, rape, torture and murder of Christopher Newsom and Channon Christian. Jurors are being asked to decide whether Thomas was an active participant in the crimes against the young couple or if he was simply a passive observer. Prosecutors have failed to produce forensic evidence connecting him to the actual crimes, but they say the murders required a "team effort" and Thomas "was on that team".
In 2009, Thomas was convicted and sentenced to life without parole for his role in the murders, but his defense attorneys successfully lobbied for a retrial after it was discovered presiding Judge Richard Baumgartner was abusing painkillers during the trial. One of Thomas' co-defendants Vanessa Coleman was retried in November 2012 and found guilty on 13 counts related to the crimes. Brothers Lemaricus Davidson and Letalvis Cobbins were both convicted and sentenced in 2009; Davidson received a death sentence and Cobbins received a sentence of life without parole. Both have been denied retrials.