Key Witness Pressed on Inconsistent Stories, Denial of Hearing Rape in Tennessee Murder Case

The defense for murder defendant Eric Dewayne Boyd, 47, pressed key witness George Thomas in a somewhat brief but possibly pivotal cross-examination on Thursday. Attorney Clinton Frazier tried to highlight inconsistencies in Thomas’s testimony in a bid to show that Thomas was just throwing Boyd under the bus in order to get a reduced sentence.

Boyd is on trial in Knox County, Tennessee for the 2007 rapes and murders of Channon Christian, 21, and Christopher Newsom, 23. This incident started as a carjacking that devolved into a series of more heinous crimes, prosecutors say.

Defendant Boyd was convicted on federal charges in 2008 as an accessory after the fact.  He wasn’t indicted for murder and rape in state court until 2018. Four other people were convicted in the mean time. Vanessa Coleman was acquitted of murder, but convicted of kidnapping, facilitation of rape, and facilitation of Christian’s murder. Three other co-defendants were convicted as murderers: Lemaricus DavidsonLetalvis Cobbins, and, yes, Thomas. Thomas, who was on the stand against Boyd, was also convicted of aggravated rape, according to court documents.

Thomas, now a key witness, was sentenced to two life sentences plus 25 years in the killings. He affirmed during cross-examination that he’s being offered a reduced sentence to 50 years in exchange for his testimony implicating Boyd. Thomas testified Wednesday that he saw that the defendant personally killed Newsom and burned the body.

Frazier pressed Thomas on details that were apparently inconsistent between his direct testimony and prior statements to law enforcement.

For example, Thomas didn’t tell authorities in 2007 what he now claims to have witnessed. He now insists that he didn’t want to get dragged into the situation back then. Additionally, Frazier pointed during cross examination to a January 2018 investigator’s interview with Thomas. During that interview, Thomas said he didn’t see Boyd with Christian. On the stand, Thomas said he didn’t see them alone together.

There was also the matter of what Thomas may or may not know about the victims being raped.  Thomas testified that while he was at the residence in question, Channon Christian was taken into a bedroom. Thomas claimed to have not heard her being raped while he remained in the living room. Frazier suggested under cross-exam that this was a small residence and that one could hear what was happening in a nearby room. Thomas affirmed this to be the case, assuming the TV and radio were off.

He repeatedly insisted not to have heard anything.

“I already said that I did not hear nor see her being raped,” he testified.

[Screengrab via the Law&Crime Network.]

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