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Convicted Christian-Newsom killer Lemaricus Davidson has petition denied

Lemaricus Davidson's petition for post-conviction relief has been denied in the 2007 torture-slayings of Chris Newsom and Channon Christian.

Lemaricus Davidson's petition for post-conviction relief has been denied in the 2007 torture-slayings of Chris Newsom and Channon Christian.

Davidson, 37, had attempted to convince Senior Judge Walter Kurtz in January that his October 2009 prosecution and sentence were unconstitutional. Kurtz denied Davidson's petition.

He's also gone through -- unsuccessfully -- a round of direct appeals.

The post-conviction hearing was another chance for him to challenge the state's case against him. A jury convicted him of murder in 2009 and recommended he be put to death for his crimes.

He's now on death row serving his sentence.

Christian and Newsom were on a date when they were carjacked and brought back to Davidson's small Chipman Street rental home. Newsom was raped, shot to death and burned along nearby railroad tracks. Christian was raped and tortured before being left to die wrapped in trash bags in a trash can in the home's kitchen.

Credit: WBIR
Channon Christian and Chris Newsom

Davidson's defense team of J. David Watkins and William Howell had been tapped to help Davidson in his bid for post-conviction relief.

During the hearing, they sought to show public and media attention about the killings was immense and national in scope in the late 2000s, with Davidson the center of attention.

A former defense attorney for Davidson, David Eldridge, said under questioning that he could recall KKK protesters coming from outside Tennessee to Knoxville to stage a downtown rally on a Saturday afternoon some 10 years ago. The rally prompted a heavy police presence amid a face-off with hundreds of anti-KKK protesters.

 Eldridge said he and his co-counsel Doug Trant both received an anonymous threat in the mail against their lives and those of their families while representing Davidson.

Trant testified earlier in January that Davidson had a chance to plead guilty and get life without parole but that he wanted to go to trial in 2009.

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