updated 1/12/2007 6:01:09 PM ET 2007-01-12T23:01:09

A fourth person was arrested Friday in connection with the killing of a young man, whose burned corpse was found dumped along railroad tracks, and the death of his date, who was kept alive for days and raped, authorities said.

All four suspects were being held on federal charges, Knoxville police spokesman Darrell DeBusk said. Two were arrested in Knoxville and the other two in Lebanon, Ky.

The victims, Christopher Newsom, 23, and Channon Christian, a 21-year-old University of Tennessee student, were last seen Saturday night while on a date.

The two had been at a friend’s apartment and had left to get something to eat, with the plan of then going to another friend’s home to watch movies. They never arrived.

Newsom’s body was found the next day. He had been shot and his body set on fire along a rail line, Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Rich Knighten said. His girlfriend’s vehicle was found nearby.

“The second victim, they kept her for a couple of days and brutally raped and sexually assaulted her,” Knighten told The Associated Press in an interview from Louisville. “Then they killed her and dumped her body.”

The suspects were arrested Thursday and Friday.

Eric DeWayne Boyd, 34, arrested in Knoxville Thursday night, was charged with being an accessory after the fact in a carjacking, DeBusk said.

Lemaricus Davidson, 25, arrested at an empty house in Knoxville the same day, was charged with federal counts of carjacking, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and use of a firearm in a crime of violence, DeBusk said. Davidson had been released in August from a Tennessee prison after serving five years for carjacking and aggravated robbery.

The other two suspects — George Geovonni Thomas, 27, and Davidson’s brother, Letalvis Cobbins, 24 — were arrested during in a raid on a house in Lebanon, Ky., about 180 miles north of Knoxville.

One suspect had criminal record
Thomas was charged with being an accessory after the fact in a carjacking and Cobbins was charged with being a convicted felon in possession of ammunition, DeBusk said. Court papers said Cobbins’ fingerprints were found on a firearm magazine containing two rounds of 9mm ammunition. He had been convicted in 2003 in New York state of third-degree attempted robbery.

Thomas and Cobbins were to appear before a federal magistrate in Louisville late Friday.

Authorities declined to release further information, citing the ongoing investigation.

The victims’ families asked for privacy.

“The Newsom family has suffered a tremendous and tragic loss because of the apparent murder of their beloved son, Chris,” Newsom family attorney James A.H. Bell said.

The Christian family thanking the community “for all their prayers and everything that has been done during this time.”

“We have lost someone who was very beautiful and loving,” the family said in a statement. “We are grateful for the outpouring of help that this community has given us and would not be able to get through this without you.”

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