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Convicted rapist's attorney accuses DA of showing favoritism to torture slaying defendants

Jamie Satterfield • Jan 5, 2012 at 7:03 AM

KNOXVILLE — Prosecutors' about-face on the use of the findings of a probe into a disgraced judge's misdeeds as evidence smacks of favoritism toward the suspects in one of Knoxville's most heinous crimes, an attorney alleged Wednesday.

The Knox County District Attorney's Office agreed to allow the defendants in the January 2007 torture slayings of Channon Christian, 21, and Christopher Newsom, 23, access to a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation file on the probe of former Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner that led to his resignation and conviction for official misconduct. The office also agreed to allow the statements in that TBI file to serve as evidence in the four defendants' bid for new trials.

Special Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood, in turn, used the file's contents to grant the quartet new trials. Now, however, prosecutors are refusing to make similar concessions in other cases handled by Baumgartner, and that has defense attorney Gregory P. Isaacs crying foul.

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