George Thomas, a man already convicted in the deaths of a Tennessee couple, testified Wednesday against his accused accomplice and detailed his version of how one of the victims died.
Thomas said defendant Eric Boyd apparently killed victim Christopher Newsom, 23, back in 2007.
Thomas claimed that he helped take Newsom, who was bound and in an SUV, to an area near what he described as an industrial warehouse. Boyd was driving, Thomas said. Thomas testified that Boyd took Newsom off to the side and toward trees across from a little ditch. The witness said he saw three flashes. He claimed that Boyd took a can of gas and went back to the scene of the presumed shooting. Thomas testified that the defendant had a gun, but he didn’t see Boyd with the weapon in hand when they were at the scene of the murder.
Thomas claimed he witnessed the events from a distance. He didn’t directly see a shooting itself, only the three flashes. In any case, he claimed that several minutes later, he saw a bright ‘woosh.’
It’s certainly damning testimony for Boyd, but only if the jury believes it. Thomas was already convicted and sentenced to life in prison plus 25 years in the deaths of Newsom and his girlfriend, Channon Christian, 21. Prosecutors said the couple was carjacked and that their ordeal devolved into a series of more heinous crimes like rape and murder. Lamaricus Davidson and Letalvis Cobbins were separately convicted in the murders. Vanessa Coleman was acquitted of murder, but found guilty of charges including kidnapping and facilitation of rape.
Thomas denied on the stand Wednesday that he raped either of the Christian or Newsom.
It initially seemed like Boyd had the least criminal exposure in the case. He was convicted in 2008 of being an accessory after the fact, according to federal records viewed by Law&Crime. That changed when he was indicted in Knox County, Tenn. in 2018 for charges including rape and murder.
Thomas certainly stands to gain for implicating Boyd. He was promised a reduced sentence — down to 50 years — for testifying. He was reportedly accused of firing at least the first shot at Newsom, but co-defendant Davidson fired the final, fatal bullet.
The defendant will almost certainly undermine that cooperation deal.
“Few talents are more critical of a criminal defense attorney then the ability to cross examine a cooperator,” Law&Crime analyst and former prosecutor Julie Rendelman put it.
Cross-examination is expected Thursday morning.
[Image via The Law&Crime Network.]