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Man convicted in brutal slayings of US couple

Man convicted in brutal slayings of US couple

A Kentucky man was convicted Tuesday of murder in the brutal carjacking, rape and murder of a young Tennessee couple who were snatched while they were on a date in 2007.
Letalvis Cobbins, 26, of Lebanon, Kentucky, admitted participating in the attack on Channon Christian, 21, and her boyfriend, Christopher Newsom, 23, but he denied on the stand last week that he was a killer.
The jury found him guilty of multiple counts of first-degree and felony murder in the death of Christian but opted for lesser charges of facilitating murder in the slaying of Newsom. They also convicted him of rape, kidnapping and robbery, charges that can carry sentences of 15 to 25 years in prison.
Cobbins slightly shook his head "no" as the jury read guilty verdicts on most of the 46 counts. He showed no other emotion.
The jury was to begin the sentencing phase Wednesday, when prosecutors could ask them to sentence Cobbins to death.
Christian, a University of Tennessee student, and Newsom were on a date Jan. 6, 2007, when her sport utility vehicle was carjacked at gunpoint by several people in Knoxville.
The attackers blindfolded and bound the couple and took them to a rundown rental house. Police concluded Newsom was soon taken away, sexually assaulted, shot in the back of the head, set on fire and left beside some railroad tracks.
Christian was beaten and repeatedly raped over the next 24 hours. An autopsy said she died of suffocation after she was choked, wrapped in plastic bags and dumped in a trash can.
Cobbins' brother, Lemaricus Davidson, 28, of Knoxville, has been identified by investigators as the ringleader in the attack.
Davidson, Cobbins' friend George Thomas, 26, and girlfriend Vanessa Coleman, 21, both of Lebanon, all are in jail awaiting trial. Another person, Eric Boyd, is serving a federal prison sentence for being an accessory.
Cobbins said he didn't set Christian free because he was too scared of his brother. He denied killing either victim. Experts testified that Newsom was killed with Davidson's gun and Cobbins said he saw his brother choke Christian.
"I am sorry. I am so sorry," Cobbins testified. "I deserve to be punished for what I did."
Defense attorney Scott Green acknowledged to the jury that Cobbins was a "coward," rapist and liar, but argued that prosecutors "haven't shown you he is a killer."


Updated : 2021-02-28 03:21 GMT+08:00