Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Torture Murders of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom

A Young Couple Disappears

Channon Christian and Chris Newsom.
Channon Christian and Chris Newsom.
On the night of Saturday, January 6, 2007, Christopher Newsom and his girlfriend Channon Christian went out together for the last time. Newsom was a 23-year-old carpenter; Christian a 21-year-old senior majoring in sociology at the University of Tennessee. The couple had been dating for about two months and seemed very much smitten with each other. That Saturday night, the couple had eaten a romantic dinner at a Knoxville restaurant. Channon last spoke with her mother Denna at roughly 12:35 a.m. on Sunday when Channon said the couple was going to visit a friend to watch some movies. No one ever heard from them again.

At 12:24 pm Sunday, Christopher's burned corpse was found by a Norfolk Southern railroad employee near the railroad tracks in a rough area on the north side of Knoxville, Tennessee. The next day Channon's Toyota 4-Runner was located a few blocks away — it was actually found by Channon's parents who were canvassing the area after the cell phone company gave police the last known location of their daughter's cell phone. Channon was nowhere to be found, but crime scene technicians lifted a print from an envelope found in the SUV. Analysis matched the print to Lemaricus Davidson, a recently-released ex-con living in the area. Knoxville police and Knox County Sheriff's Department investigators got a search warrant for Davidson's home at 2316 Chipman Street — by Tuesday at 2 pm, they located Channon Christian's body in a kitchen trash bin. The house was a rental property but the renters were gone.

Police were left with two corpses of a photogenic young couple who had been tortured and killed in the most brutal fashion anyone in Knoxville could remember.

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