A Knox County jury on Tuesday declared Eric Boyd guilty in the Christian-Newsom murders.
The seven-woman, five-man jury deliberated since Monday before returning its verdict of first-degree murder in the Knox County Criminal Court trial on Tuesday at approximately 2 p.m.
The verdict carries an automatic life sentence for each of the two slayings. Judge Bob McGee will decide at a Sept. 18 sentencing hearing whether those two life sentences should be stacked one onto the other and what, if any, extra punishment Boyd should receive for the related crimes, including kidnapping and rape.
Boyd is the fifth defendant to stand trial in the 2007 Knoxville slayings of Channon Christian, 21, and Christopher Newsom, 23.
The Knox County couple were preparing to go on a date when they were carjacked and kidnapped and taken to the Chipman Street house of Lemaricus Davidson. Both were bound, gagged and blindfolded.
Newsom was raped, shot three times and his body set afire alongside nearby railroad tracks within hours of the kidnapping. Christian was held captive inside the Chipman Street house for 36 hours, repeatedly raped, forced to swallow bleach in a bid to destroy DNA evidence of those rapes, and then stuffed — alive — inside a trash can in the kitchen. She slowly suffocated to death.
“We said we would not stop until Eric Boyd was prosecuted,” Newsom’s father, Hugh Newsom, said after the verdict. “There were times we wanted to give up. … He’ll never be back on the streets of Knoxville to commit more crimes.”
His wife, Mary Newsom, added, “I would never want anybody else to go through this. Twelve years ago, we made a promise to Chris that we would get whoever did this and today we got that. Justice was served.”
Christian’s parents, Gary Christian and Deena Christian, said they, too, promised their daughter they would seek justice — no matter how many years and how many trials that took.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Deena Christian said. “I’m very happy. I do feel justice was served today, but it never goes away for us. I don’t want anyone to ever forget Channon and Chris.”
Gary Christian said, “We’ll never get justice on this earth — not for what they did — but I think we got them all now. We’re just relieved it’s over.”
Read more about the case and trial here: https://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/crime/2019/08/13/eric-boyd-guilty-2007-chris-newsom-murder-knoxville/1989035001/