Conclusion Of First Knoxville Horror Trial Shows Legal System Under Stress

[Previously by Nicholas Stix:

The Knoxville Horror: Crime, Race, The Media, And

In the first

Knoxville Horror
trial in April, Eric Dewayne “E”
Boyd was convicted by a federal jury in
, Tennessee
, of being an accessory after the
fact to

. Recently, on October 15, U.S. District
Judge Tom Varlan

sentenced Boyd to 18 years in prison
, the maximum
possible sentence, which federal prosecutors had sought.

The carjacking was the first in a
chain of crimes, including kidnapping, assault, theft,
multiple forms of

gang rape, torture, murder and corpse desecration

committed in Knoxville on January 7, 2007, variously

Channon Christian, 21
, and her boyfriend,

Christopher Newsom, 23,
that U.S Attorney James R.
Dedrick recently

“one of, if not the most, horrendous
crimes ever committed in Knoxville, Tennessee.”


victims were white;
Boyd and the four murder
defendants are all black. The

and the MSM long insisted that the crime
had no racial motivation. They condemned as

“white supremacists” all critics (including yours truly)

who maintained otherwise. In a major concession in
April, however, Knoxville News-Sentinel reporter

Jamie Satterfield
, who has covered the case more
than any other journalist, and who previously expressed
hostility towards critics suggesting a racial

wrote neutrally
that it “has gained notoriety as
black-on-white crime

Boyd was charged with hiding
alleged carjacking ringleader Lemaricus “Slim”
Davidson from the police after the murders. Boyd
insisted that he had had nothing to do with the gang
rape-torture-murders, and did not know of them at the
time. He has not been charged in their commission, or as
an accomplice to them.

And yet Judge Varlan still had a
huge mess to clean up. It remains to be seen if he

Varlan did Wednesday was as bold as it is rare. Federal
judges rarely impose maximum, consecutive sentencing.

He did
so unapologetically, citing Boyd`s history as a lifelong
criminal who in 1994 embarked on a violent robbery spree
that included the attempted murder of a witness and,
once behind bars,
assaults on other inmates
and threats to prison

put, the defendant shows a lack of regard for the law,`
Varlan said. `Even when the defendant has been
incarcerated for breaking the law, he has failed to
follow the law.` "
sentenced to maximum time; He gets 18 years for hiding
suspect in couple`s slaying
By Jamie
Satterfield , Knoxville News-Sentinel, October 16, 2008]

In his defense, Boyd argued
“I`m asking for
the mercy of the court. I didn`t have to do this, but I
did it to make sure this man [
didn`t hurt nobody else.”

The sentence is a mixed bag. On the
plus side, the judge reversed years of the negligence by
the prison system`s stewards, who never punished Boyd
for crimes and misconduct he committed while inside.

On the minus side, Varlan violated
the established understanding of co-operation by a

Back in 1994, Boyd
(the term
formerly known
) to committing, among other crimes, nine
robberies over the course of two months, in a plea deal
which got him a sentence of only 20 years for the
robberies, and dismissal of numerous other crimes,
including attempted murder.

But the family of his white crime
partner, Ernest Boyd Collier III, hired a fancy lawyer,
who got him some fancy justice—eight years of probation,
with no time inside.

prosecutors had
promised Boyd that they would offer Collier no less than
20 years.

Boyd had already made an
anticipatory charge of racism before making his deal. He
found receptive judges on Tennessee`s

Court of Criminal Appeals
, and got himself
some fancy justice. By August 2002, he was paroled. in
October 2002, the appeals court

nullified the rest of Boyd`s prison sentence
, threw
out his convictions and reinstated the charges against
him. He cut a new deal, for ten years, but would not
have done another day, had he not violated parole. That
netted him only another five months, at which point he
could not be held any longer. Boyd had run out the

Boyd`s present attorney,
Phil Lomonaco,
argued that, since Boyd had told the authorities where
Davidson was hiding, he had provided them with
invaluable assistance, and therefore deserved leniency.
Lomanaco asked for a sentence not to exceed four years.
Judge Varlan countered that Boyd had only helped the
authorities because he had already been caught, and thus
deserved no consideration.

Boyd`s professions of altruism and
Varlan`s skepticism notwithstanding, criminals do not
help the authorities out of the goodness of their


interagency fugitive task force
was able to locate
and quickly take Davidson into custody without a

, based solely on Boyd`s cooperation. A hard
case like Boyd would never have cooperated, had he known
that there was no payoff.

The three main ways that criminals
get put away are through community cooperation,
aggressive police work, and bad guys
“flipping” on
each other.

Lemaricus Davidson was released
from prison in August 2006, after serving a
token sentence
for a previous carjacking and robbery
conviction. He then allegedly spent the next four
months-and-change on a wave of robberies with Boyd, his
alleged crime partner, who allegedly also committed some
stickups with Davidson`s half-brother, Letalvis Rome

Prior to the murders, the black
community, perhaps following the “don`t snitch”
rule, was of no help in catching the suspects. And
though Davidson`s white girlfriend,

Daphne Sutton
, testified at Boyd`s trial that she
knew Davidson was doing stickups, she not only never
alerted the police, but lied to them for hours,
hindering their search for him.


police, who were also MIA prior to the discovery of
Newsom`s burned body, were equally worthless, and may
have been guilty of
out of

fear of being called “racist.”

That leaves bad guys betraying each
other as the only effective crime-fighting tool. But if
Judge Varlan`s precedent spreads through the grapevine,
that option may dry up, as well.

Judge Varlan repeatedly cited the
pre-sentencing report of federal

Probation Officer Myra Melton Buffalo
, as
justification for the sentence he meted out to Boyd.

Judge Varlan argued that, since
Boyd had confessed to 1994 robberies that were
dismissed, but the federal sentencing guidelines had
insufficiently counted those “criminal history
lenient sentence
would let him off too easily in the
instant case, and thus that he deserved the maximum

Lomonaco, who said he will appeal,
will surely challenge that argument.

The biggest legal problem with the
Boyd trial was its timing. Boyd was convicted as an
accessory to a crime allegedly committed by someone
(Davidson) who has yet to be convicted for said crime.
That required pre-empting the presumption of innocence
regarding Davidson. Cart, horse.

And Davidson is unlikely ever to be
tried for the carjacking. He is scheduled to be tried
next June on 47 state charges, including rape and
murder. Presumably, convictions and a death sentence
would moot the federal charges of carjacking.

The scheduled state trials of the
other four defendants on rape, murder, and other charges
are: Letalvis Cobbins (January 26, 2009); Cobbins` girlfriend,
Vanessa Coleman (April
13, 2009
); Lemaricus Davidson (June 22, 2009); and

George Geovonni “Detroit” Thomas
10, 2009
), respectively.

Now Boyd will be more certain than
ever that he is a victim of racism. It`s hard out here
for a stickup man.

Our legal system was not designed
to deal with offenders like Eric Boyd, with their
multitudinous crimes and mitigating circumstances.

The more “diverse” America
becomes, the more it will be comprised of

hostile communities
who refuse to police themselves,
the more police will be

, the more common Knoxville-style

will become—and the more commonly judges
will face issues that King Solomon himself couldn`t see
his way through.

Nicholas Stix [email

him] lives in New York City, which he
views from the perspective of its public
transport system, experienced in his
career as an educator. His weekly column
appears at

Men`s News Daily

and many other Web sites. He has also
written for Middle American News, the
New York

Daily News,
New York Post, Newsday,
Chronicles, Ideas on Liberty
and the
Weekly Standard. He
maintains two blogs:

Different Drummer

Nicholas Stix, Uncensored