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State appeals court upholds conviction and sentence in Knoxville torture slaying of couple

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KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — A state appeals court has upheld the conviction and sentence of one of the men who kidnapped, tortured and murdered a Knoxville couple in 2007.

Letalvis Cobbins claimed his trial was tainted by the drug use and misconduct of former Knoxville Judge Richard Baumgartner.

On Friday, a three-judge panel of the Criminal Appeals Court ruled against Cobbins. The court found that the Tennessee Supreme Court already ruled that Baumgartner's conduct outside the courtroom did not prevent Cobbins from receiving a fair trial.

The appeals court also ruled against Cobbins on other claims, including that the showing of graphic autopsy photos prejudiced the jury.

Cobbins is serving a sentence of life without parole plus 100 years for his role in the deaths of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom.

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