State seeks February trial date in Vanderbilt rape case

A new hearing has been scheduled for Thursday in the Vanderbilt rape case to review state’s motion to trial and the defense’s response.

In mid-October, a Davidson County judge agreed to delay the trial for the high-profile Vanderbilt University rape case during a status hearing. The trial is expected to begin in early 2016.

The District Attorney’s Office filed a motion last week requesting the trial begin on Monday, Feb. 29, 2016.

It requested that jury selection begin on Feb. 22.

Lawyers for Brandon Vandenburg responded to the motion by stating that they already have a longstanding obligation to other clients in February 2016 and early March 2016.

Vandenburg and Cory Batey were previously convicted of all charges against them, including multiple counts of aggravated rape, earlier this year in the alleged June 2013 rape.

After questions arose if a juror was truthful regarding past sexual assault cases during jury selection, Judge Watkins declared a mistrial when details of the juror’s past came to light.

Since then, both Vandenburg and Batey have been handed down superseding indictments with the same initial charges of five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery, with Vandenburg facing one additional count of unlawful photography. The defense filed a motion to have the new indictments thrown out, but the motion was denied.

Judge Watkins is expected to rule on a motion by defense attorneys to combine the multiple criminal charges into one sometime in the future.

For now, Vandenburg and Batey will now go to trial on those charges in spring 2016.

Two others accused in the alleged rape, Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie and Brandon Banks, faces the same charges but have yet to go to trial.


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