Convicted murderers Lemaricus Davidson and Letalvis Cobbins wanted new trials following their convictions in the brutal murders of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom in 2007. Judge Walter Kurtz said "no." Witnesses and DNA evidence linked Davidson and Cobbins to the crimes. Kurtz affirmed the Davidson and Cobbins convictions acting as Tennessee's "thirteenth juror."
George Thomas, another defendant in the horrific crimes against Channon Christian and Chris Newsom, also sought a new trial. Judge Walter Kurtz said "yes." While there was witness testimony linking Thomas to the crimes, there was no DNA evidence.
Witness credibility was the overriding issue in Thomas' case. Kurtz, who did not preside over the original trials, did not see the witnesses and thus could not rule on witness credibility and ruled that he could not act as Tennessee's "thirteenth juror" and affirm Thomas' conviction.
The NS article is here.
Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner presided over the original trials. Baumgartner was found to have been popping pills during the trials and using a graduate of the Drug Court that Baumgartner himself founded to supply him with pills.
The Baumgartner saga that precipitated the post-conviction chaos is here with links to blog entries and newspaper articles.