Mid-State Jury to Hear Notorious East Tenn. Rape-Murder Case

May 13, 2013

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A southern Kentucky man is being retried in the torture slayings of a young Knoxville couple.

The second trial of George Thomas begins Monday in Knoxville before a jury selected in Nashville. Thomas is one of four defendants convicted in the kidnapping, torture and killing of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom in January 2009.

Thomas was convicted in December 2009, but the trial judge abruptly left the bench without affirming the jury's verdict. Judge Richard Baumgartner was later convicted on charges related to his abuse of painkillers.

The Knoxville News Sentinel (http://bit.ly/19iizkK ) reported the central issue in the trial will be criminal responsibility. There is no forensic proof that points to Thomas, of Lebanon, Ky. He received a life without parole sentence at his first trial.