A new true-crime cable show called Sins and Secrets is premiering tonight on the Investigation Discovery channel, and you might call it a sort of dubious honor that the very first episode revolves around Knoxville. Specifically, it revisits the horrors of the Channon Christian/Christopher Newsom murders, and the way they roiled the city. In the breathless prose of the series' teaser, "Racial tensions in the city were ignited when five black suspects were arrested. As their trials approached, these tensions threatened to send Knoxville, a city long divided on the lines of rich and poor, black and white, college educated and not, over the edge." Source

Tonight's premiere recounts the murder of two Knoxville, Tenn., residents, 21-year old University of Tennessee student Channon Christian and her 23-year old boyfriend, Christopher Newsom Jr. On Jan. 6, 2007, they were carjacked en route to a date. Police later found Christian's raped and battered body stuffed in a trash can in the East Knoxville home of Lemaricus Davidson, a convicted armed robber, and discovered Newsom's body on nearby train tracks, burned beyond recognition. Davidson and three accomplices were convicted of the murders following a long and wrenching trial. Details of the crime, the investigation and the trial take up maybe half the episode. The rest is about Knoxville itself -- its history, its neighborhoods, and the class and racial tensions that the killings laid bare. The trial of Davidson and his cohorts sparked white supremacist rallies, and conservative publications and bloggers seized on the Christian-Newsom murder as an example of a black-on-white hate crimes largely ignored by a politically correct, liberal media. (Michelle Malkin and Fox News Channel, in particular, argued that if four whites had killed a black couple so barbarically, major press outlets would have eagerly seized on the race angle and treated the crime as a hiccup of Jim Crow.)

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