Nathan Lalone Denies Involvement In Christian Sosa Murder

Wednesday, June 4, 2014 - by Hollie Webb

On trial for the 2011 murder of Christian Sosa, Nathan Lalone said in a police statement taken shortly after the homicide that he had nothing to do with the shooting. 

The police interrogation tape was played for the jury Wednesday morning. In the tape, Lalone said that his friends Blakelen "Blake" Adams and Tyler Conrad had been the ones discussing harming Mr. Sosa. 

According to the state, 19-year-old Christian Sosa and his girlfriend Meghan Bennett drove to the Apison Park tennis courts to meet with Tyler Conrad and "do some drugs" on Nov. 11, 2011. 

However, when they arrived in Ms. Bennett's car, someone immediately started shooting at the passenger's side door, killing Sosa almost instantly. Ms. Bennett was also shot twice, but managed to drive the car away.  

In Lalone's police interview, he said that he was angry at the victim at the time because he had stolen one of the defendant's guns. Still, Lalone said in 2011, "I never wished death upon him for stealing my gun."

He said of Adams and Conrad, "They're trying to put this on me because they're best friends." At that time, Adams and Conrad had both been charged with conspiracy to commit murder. However, charges against Adams have been dismissed and Conrad passed away in 2013. 

Lalone described Conrad as a "junkie" who had formerly lived in a "halfway house in Alabama."

Adams testified as a witness on Wednesday morning. He admitted that before his original police interview, he had taken multiple pills of the anti-anxiety medication Klonopin, a benzodiazepine.  

During his interrogation, he also said he did not kill Sosa. He said he had not seen him in "months and months and months."

On the video, he also called Sosa "retarded" and said the victim was "always walking around with guns." 

Two TBI agents also testified as witnesses. They said that no blood or gunshot residue was found on the items collected and identified as belonging to Lalone. 

When questioned by defense attorney Kevin Loper, Special Agent Gregory Fort said that the hands and clothing of Adams and Conrad had not been swabbed. 

Late Wednesday, a friend of the young men, Sabrina Lovett, was called in as a witness. Ms. Lovett said she had been hanging out with Adams, Conrad, and Lalone earlier on the day of the murder. She said she also saw Lalone after the incident. 

Ms. Lovett said, "He said he 'hit him in the dome' or somebody 'hit him in the dome' or he 'wanted to go home.' I think it was that he 'hit him in the dome.'" 

However, she said earlier that day, Adams, not the defendant, had a confrontation with Sosa at a gas station. She described him as seeming to be angry after that. 

In Ms. Lovett's original police tape, she hesitated to talk at first because she was afraid of "ratting out" the others. She said she had sworn not to talk.  

Once she started talking, she described multiple conversations that day between the four of them where Adams and Lalone both spoke about wanting to kill Sosa. 

Particularly, she said Lalone said Sosa needed to "get what he deserves." She said in the original interview that she did not think that Lalone would go through with it.  

She said finally he got angry enough that he decided to go by himself. She said that she went with Adams and Conrad to Walmart to get a receipt to prove that they were not involved in the shooting. 

While there, she said Conrad called Sosa to get him to Apison Park where Lalone was waiting. 

On the 2011 recording, she described Lalone, "He's not that type of person at all. I don't know what got into him."

She said they all had sworn not to tell, but she changed her mind after she thought Adams was "ratting her out."  

The trial will continue Thursday. 


Grand Jury True Bills

Here are the true bills from the Hamilton County Grand Jury: True Bills:  ADAMS, HUEY W 38 M 299516 1 1 GS 1631566 DRIVING ON REVOKED LICENSE ADAMS, HUEY W 38 M 299516 2 1 GS 1631567 RECKLESS ENDANGERMENT ADAMS, HUEY W 38 M 299516 3 1 GS 1631565 DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE BEAVER, JOSEPH BERNARD W 39 M 299517 1 1 GS 1621557 VANDALISM BEAVER, JOSEPH BERNARD ... (click for more)

Fredrick Phinizey, 23, Struck In Face With Pellets Fired From Shotgun During Bonny Oaks Carjacking Late Tuesday Night; Vehicle Is Recovered

Fredrick Phinizey, 23, was struck in the face by pellets fired from a shotgun during a carjacking in the Bonny Oaks area late Tuesday night.  Khalilyah Smith, 21, was the driver of the car. At approximately 11:36 p.m. , officers with the Chattanooga Police Department responded to a shots fired call in the 7700 block of Holiday Hills Circle. Police said o ... (click for more)

Downtown Needs Cleaned Up

My son and I parked on Broad Street and walked to the Billiard Club on Cherry Street this past weekend. It's probably a total of two blocks. In that short walk we passed where Rone Regency used to be on 6th Street and in that doorway was about a years worth of human feces and urine covering the doors and walls. The concrete sidewalk on the street is all broken up and the metal ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Ooltewah & The Bullies

During the week of Christmas I got an email from a longtime friend at the Knoxville News-Sentinel that laughingly wondered what kind of basketball do you people play (in Chattanooga?) It included sketchy details of the rape, and subsequent surgery, of an Ooltewah High School basketball player who had been assaulted by his own teammates at a Gatlinburg holiday tournament. Today ... (click for more)

Nine Headed To East Ridge Hall Of Fame On Sept. 9

East Ridge will induct nine former athletes into its Hall of Fame at halftime of the Central-East Ridge football game on Sept. 9. The 2016 inductees: 1.  DAVID COPELAND - 1964-1967. Played football and track for three years. Captain of both sports. Earned a football scholarship to the University of Tennessee. 2.  CARLENE ELLIOTT RYON - 1964-1967. Played ... (click for more)

Grace Takes 3-0 Win From CSAS In Volleyball

The Grace Academy Lady Golden Eagles didn't waste much time taking a 3-0 victory from CSAS on Tuesday evening at CSAS, Grace winning the District 5-A match by scores of 25-11, 25-12 and 25-20. Alexandra Smith had 13 kills and eight digs for the winners while Summer Dean finished with 18 assists.  Maggie Long contributed 19 digs while Autumn Parrott had four aces to go along ... (click for more)