Lebanon man given life for Knoxville murders

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By Brandon Mattingly

George Thomas, 30, of Lebanon, was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole last week for his role in the murders of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom in 2007 in Knoxville.

Thomas, who will be eligible for parole after 51 years served, was found guilty of felony murder, aggravated rape, robbery and other charges after the jury deliberated for seven hours over two days.

Thomas faced 46 charges and was found guilty on all counts.

He is one of three co-defendants accused in the murders. Vanessa Coleman, 24, who has connections to Lebanon and Springfield, was sentenced to 35 years in prison in February. Lemaricus Davidson, who has been referred to as the ringleader in the murders, faces the death penalty.

Thomas and Coleman each faced second trials after the judge presiding over their first hearing was removed for abusing prescription drugs while on the bench. Coleman will be eligible for parole in four-and-a-half years, having served six years to this point.

Thomas said throughout the trial that he was at Davidson’s home in Knoxville and saw the victims there, but played no role in their deaths.