your connection to The Boston Globe

Fourth suspect arrested in deaths of Tenn. couple

Pair carjacked while on a date

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- A fourth person was arrested yesterday in connection with the killing of a young man whose burned corpse was found dumped along railroad tracks and the death of the woman he was dating , who was kept alive for days and raped, authorities said.

All four suspects were being held on federal charges, said Darrell DeBusk, Knoxville police spokesman. Two were arrested in Knoxville and the other two in Lebanon, Ky.

The victims, Christopher Newsom , 23, and Channon Christian , a 21-year-old University of Tennessee student, were last seen while on a date Jan. 6.

The two, who had been at a friend's apartment, had left to get something to eat. They were planning to go to another friend's home to watch movies, but they never arrived.

Newsom's body was found the next day. He had been shot and his body set on fire along a rail line, said Rich Knighten , a chief deputy U S marshal . Christian's vehicle was found nearby.

"The second victim, they kept her for a couple of days and brutally raped and sexually assaulted her," Knighten said in an interview from Louisville. "Then they killed her and dumped her body."

The suspects were arrested Thursday and yesterday.

Eric DeWayne Boyd, 34, arrested in Knoxville on Thursday night, was charged with being an accessory after the fact in a carjacking, DeBusk said.

Lemaricus Davidson, 25, arrested at an empty house in Knoxville the same day, was charged with federal counts of carjacking, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and use of a firearm in a crime of violence, DeBusk said. Davidson had been released in August from a prison after serving five years for carjacking and aggravated robbery.

The other two suspects -- George Geovonni Thomas, 27, and Davidson's brother, Letalvis Cobbins, 24 -- were arrested during a raid on a house in Lebanon, Ky., north of Knoxville.

Thomas is was charged with being an accessory after the fact in a carjacking, and Cobbins was charged with being a convicted felon in possession of ammunition, DeBusk said. Court papers said Cobbins's fingerprints were found on a firearm magazine containing two rounds of 9mm ammunition. He had been convicted in 2003 in New York of third-degree attempted robbery.

"The Newsom family has suffered a tremendous and tragic loss because of the apparent murder of their beloved son, Chris," said James A.H. Bell, a lawyer for the Newsom family.