April 18, 2007
Horrendous crime, double standard, missing details
Speaking of unverifiable details, Michael Gaynor at the Conservative Voice writes about the gruesome kidnaping, rape and murder of a couple in Knoxville, Tennessee, and complains that not only are the MSM ignoring the story, but that even the local media are not supplying the missing details:
....for the Channon Christian/Chris Newsom case, The New York Times does not have a place.I'll get to the missing details, but here's NRO columnist Jack Dunphy's writeup:
Compare the attention given the Duke case with that accorded a far more heinous crime, one whose victims have thus far failed to arouse the sympathies or even the notice of those who found so much enjoyment in their condemnation of the lacrosse players. Chances are, unless you live in Tennessee, you will not recognize the names Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. Christian, 21, and Newsome, 23, both of Knoxville, were driving through that city together on the night of January 6 when they were kidnapped and murdered. Newsome's burned body was found along some railroad tracks on January 7. Christian remained missing for two more days until her body, stuffed in a trash can, was found in a home not far from where Newsome's was found. Police and prosecutors allege both victims were raped before being killed. Yes, both. Three men and a woman have been charged with the crimes in a 46-count grand jury indictment handed down in Knoxville on January 31.He is certainly right about the double standard. Especially because of the heinous and gruesome nature of the crime, I think the Newsome/Christian case deserves much wider reporting than it has gotten. (But I don't believe in "hate crime" legislation, so I share Glenn Reynolds' assessment in that respect.)
The basic facts of the crime are bad enough, and there have been multiple arrests and multiple indictments. Local television station WVLT has been providing the details of original incident, as well as the later indictments. A local crime blog has posted numerous reports, including the indictments.
But the grotesquely awful details are what make the case (and the Conservative Voice post) echo widely on the Internet.
The trouble is, I have been unable to verify them. As far as I can determine, all the posts and discussions of these details point to a single source: Stefanie Williams at the University of Maryland, who reports thusly:
Trust me when I say this story is more newsworthy than the Natalie Holloway case, the Duke lacrosse scandal and Anna Nicole Smith combined. A young couple, students from the University of Tennessee, were victims of a carjacking and were kidnapped, raped, tortured and eventually murdered by five people. Descriptions of their deaths were so brutal that I had to read them several times to fully process the implications.It seems to me that the details of such a gruesome nature would be verifiable somewhere if they were part of the story. But they are nowhere to be found, in any news source or report.
The more I thought this over, the more it occurred to me that because the victims are dead, and the suspects haven't been tried, evidence that the man's penis and the woman's breast were severed while they were still alive would have come either from a confession of a coroner's report.
According to this Knox News report:
Newsom was shot, bound and his body wrapped up in bedding and set afire, according to a search warrant application drafted by Knoxville Police Department Investigator Todd Childress.What about the torture and mutilation? The only way to know whether someone was tortured while still alive is by medical examination of the corpse.
Yet no one is quoting a coroner's report.
From what other source could such details originate?
I emailed Stefanie Williams, and as of yet I haven't heard back from her. According to Michael Gaynor in the Conservative Voice, however, she emailed him to say this:
"I've been blogging about this case that went on in Knoxville, Tenn...where 2 white kids were kidnapped, tortured, raped and murdered by 4 black men and a black woman...the story was ridiculously gruesome, and I was shocked, SHOCKED to find not ONE main stream media outlet picked it up, not even Fox...They have not gone unnoticed here (although I'm a bit late to notice; Glenn Reynolds posted about the case months ago, as did Dr. Helen).
It's horrible that a crime like this took place, and I think it merits much wider attention.
But I don't think it helps for people to complain that the media are not reporting "missing details" without supplying any links to where those details can be found.
Anyone who can help, I'm all ears.
UPDATE (04/18/07): Still no word from Stefanie Williams, who as far as I can determine is the only source about the grotesque sexual mutilation. However, Wikipedia now has an entry about the case. The same allegations of pre-mortem sexual mutilation are there, but once again, the only evidence is the same article by Stefanie Williams (which provides no links).
UPDATE: More here on the Wiki entry.
posted by Eric on 04.18.07 at 06:12 PM
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