Christian, Newsom families fight to keep Vanessa Coleman in prison

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The Christian and Newsom familes are preparing for a new fight. Vanessa Coleman, the woman convicted of facilitating the kidnapping, rape and murder of their children, is up for parole next week.

The families say they will do anything to stop Coleman from getting freedom. They say they are shocked that she’s up for parole, and say it makes the holidays even more difficult.

“That’s what I’m going to take him for Christmas,” Mary Newsom says, describing the present she still gets her son Chris. She puts one near his headstone every year.

January will mark eight years since Channon Christian and Chris Newsom were kidnapped, tortured and murdered.

Web extra: Christian-Newsom Murder Trials Timeline

“We can’t fill that chair that’s sitting there vacant where Chris would normally sit. We miss him terribly,” High Newsom said.

“We had a good time and he was excited that Christmas because Channon was is his life. We were happy for him that things were going the way he wanted them to go. It was a good Christmas. It was the last really good Christmas we had,” Mary says, describing the last Christmas with her son.

Gary and Deena Christian say Christmas was their daughter’s favorite time of year.

“You could just walk in the room and her smile, she could look at her daddy with that little grin and anything she wanted she got,” Deena said.

“She had a short life, but she had a good life,” Gary said.

Both families plan to read victim impact statements at Coleman’s parole hearing December 10.

“We’ll just keep doing it, keep fighting for justice. There’s never really going to be any real justice because we can’t get Chris back,” Mary said.

There is an online petition aimed at keeping Coleman in prison. It has more than 300,000 signatures.

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