[UPDATE] Christopher Scott Trial

UPDATED 12.17.2010 6:45pm by Julie Montanaro

A Tallahassee man will spend life in prison for shooting and killing a man as he slept on the couch.

Warren Newman's family drove all night to be in court at 10am and left with justice, they say, but no real answers.

Christopher Scott faced two life sentences and then some for the muder or 29 year old Warren Newman.

Newman was shot as he lay sleeping on the couch in his Floral Street home back in September 2008. Someone, police say, kicked out a panel in the front door, fired several shots, and vanished.

"I thought this must be some mistake."

At Friday's sentencing, a victim advocate read the words of Newman's mother as she described getting the news of her oldest son's murder.

"I will never forget the Sunday afternoon two officers came to my door. They wanted to talk to Craig's mother. I will never forget the look in their eyes and they asked me to sit. I felt a horrible pit in my stomach," Sharon Burke wrote in a letter to a judge.

Christopher Scott didn't say anything when the judge asked if he wanted to speak before his sentencing.

Newman's friends had hoped he'd offer some explanation, some reason why. That didn't happen.

The judge then imposed two life sentences for murder and armed burglary and promptly adjourned.

"It's something that will never go away. That hurting feeling. It'll never go away. Never.," said Newman's stepfather Lynfas Flowers. "We can't get our son back. These parents, the son still remains and I think it should be more than this, more than life. It should be death."

Those murder charges hinged on a DNA sample taken from a broken door panel. DNA which led police to Christopher Scott.

That match came courtesy of FDLE's CODIS system which inputs more than 7-thousand DNA samples a month into a data base of more than 720-thousand.

In November, the DNA database recorded the most hits in its 21 year history, providing leads in 370 unsolved crimes.

"It's a great feeling to be able to help out the community by solvin g thse crimes and potentially exonerating people who may not have done a crime," said FDLE Crime Lab Analyst Supervisor Chris Carney.

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[UPDATE] 12-17 11:30AM --

Christopher Scott was sentenced to life in prison.

Stay with WCTV for details.

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UPDATED 11:27 by Amy Long

As the guilty verdicts were read aloud, Christopher Scott remained emotionless.. while the victim's sister fought back tears.

"The defendant is guilty of first degree murder, The defendant is guilty of burglary of a dwelling with a fire arm."

Christopher Scott's fate echoed through the courtroom around 6:45 Thursday night. Scott was found guilty of kicking in the door and murdering 29-year-old Warren Newman as he watched television in his Floral Street home back in September 2008.

Newman's family and friends have been waiting more than two years for closure. It took just two days in court for them to get it.

While the defense attorney argued there was no known motive, prosecutors say the DNA collected from the door of Newman's home matched Scott's.

During deliberations, the jury requested to again see the door, hear the 911 tape and replay the video from the police interrogation room where Scott murmured "I did it" to his girlfriend.

After hearing the verdict, Newman's sister, Sophia Kelly called their mother. "She knew it. When you serve God you know that you can accept or believe accept that justice will be served" says Kelly.

Newman's family says even though the search for his killer is over, his memory will live on. "Most of all, he loved his family. That was the most important thing." says Kelly.

After hearing the first two verdicts, Scott pleaded no contest to a third charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and was found guilty. Scott's sentencing date is set for December 17, 2010 at 10am.

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UPDATED 11.04.2010 by Julie Montanaro

Christopher Scott has just been found guilty of first degree murder and armed burglary.

The jury deliberated for a little more than two hours before reaching its verdict. He will be sentenced December 17.

We'll have reaction tonight at 11.

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UPDATED 11.04.2010 by Julie Montanaro

The jury is now deliberating in the Christopher Scott case.

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UPDATED 11.04.2010 12:30pm --

Christopher Scott has decided not to testify in his own defense.

The defense has rested its case. Closing arguments are set to begin after lunch and the jury will begin deliberating this afternoon.

Stay with WCTV.tv for details.

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UPDATED 11.04.2010 10:50am --

Testimony has resumed in the murder and burglary trial of
Christopher Scott.

Prosecutors have recalled a DNA expert to the stand and the defense
is expected to begin presenting its case later this morning.

The investigator who interviewed Scott at TPD headquarters says Scott denied ever being at Newman's home and could provide no explanation as to why his DNA was found at the scene.

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UPDATED 11.03.2010 7pm by Julie

A Tallahassee man is now on trial accused of shooting and killing a man as he slept in his own home.

21 year old Christopher Scott is accused of shooting and killing Warren Newman as Newman slept on the couch in his Floral Street home back in September 2008.

Newman's roommate and cousin, Carlton Thomas, was home that night too and testified Wednesday that he heard a loud boom and five or six shots and actually grabbed his own gun and returned fire. Thomas said he could not identify the figure in the doorway and upon seeing Scott in court, testified he had never seen Scott before or met him.

Police say the door was bolted shut, but believe Scott kicked in a panel of the door, stuck his arm through and shot and killed Newman without ever entering the apartment.

That door was unwrapped in court Wednesday. A TPD Forensic specialist says there were fingerprints and footprints on the door, but none of the prints had value for comparison. She testified she did take a DNA swab from the inside of the broken door panel.

An FDLE firearms expert says there were six bullet casings or fragments - all fired from the same 9 mm gun - found inside Newman's apartment. One of those projectiles was removed from Newman's head.

There has been no talk of a motive for the murder. Thomas did admit on the stand that Newman had been known to sell marijuana, but neither the prosecution nor the defense has elicited any testimony that that played a role in the shooting.

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UPDATED 11.03.2010 11:00am --

Warren Newman's cousin and roommate Carlton Thomas is now on the stand. Thomas says he was in his room that night when he heard a loud boom and heard five or six gunshots. Thomas says he grabbed his own gun and went out to see what was going on and saw his front door had been kicked in.

Carlton Thomas called 911 and told the operator there had
been a shootout at his home. You can hear Thomas say "Craig,
Craig" (which is what he called his cousin) and then tell the operator
that he's not answering but he was still breathing. Thomas said he was
crouched down near Newman but was afraid to check further because the door had been shot out. As police arrived you can hear Thomas say "He's been shot in the head."

10:15 am Defense attorney Darren Shippy says there are no
witnesses that place Christopher Scott at the scene and no
fingerprints either. Shippy contends there is also no proof that Scott
and Newman knew each other or had any cell phone contact before the murder.

10am - Prosecutor John Hutchins says murder victim
Warren Newman was shot six times as he slept on the couch in his own home. Hutchins says Newman's roommate fired four shots back at the shadowy figure in the doorway but could not identify the gunman. Hutchins contends a DNA sample taken from Newman's front door matches a DNA sample taken from Christopher Scott.

9:45 Opening statements are now underway in the murder and burglary trial of Christopher Scott.
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UPDATED 11.01.2010 4:30pm by Julie Montanaro

A jury was selected today in a Tallahassee murder case.

Six jurors and one alternate have been chosen to hear the evidence against Christopher Scott.

Opening statements and testimony are slated to begin Wednesday.

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11.01.2010 by Julie Montanaro

A Tallahassee man is set to go on trial this week for a murder that police say was solved by DNA left behind at the scene.

Christopher Scott is accused of killing 29 year old Warren Newman. Tallahassee Police say Newman was shot in the back of the head as he watched television in his Floral Street home back in September 2008.

Police say Scott kicked out a panel in the front door that deadly night and left behind some telltale DNA. DNA that FDLE was able to
enter into its statewide data base and get a match.

"We believe that the suspect never entered the home, it doesn't appear, but may have stuck a hand through, an arm through, committed the murder and then left," said TPD Spokesman David McCranie in a January 2009 interview. "Well, that was all it took. He left a little bit of DNA behind and that's what ultimately led to his downfall."

Scott's trial is scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday of this week in front of Circuit Judge Angela Dempsey.


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