New trial date set for April in Vanderbilt rape case


Judge Monte Watkins held a motions hearing Thursday morning to pick the trial date for Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey.

Watkins selected April 4 as the start date, with jury selection beginning on March 30.

The jury will be chosen in Chattanooga and will be brought to Nashville to be sequestered for the trial, which is expected to last between two to three weeks.

The new trial was originally scheduled to begin Nov. 30, but during a hearing two weeks ago, Watkins decided to push back the trial to 2016.

The state requested the judge to pick Feb. 29 as the new trial date because of the alleged victim’s schedule.

The young woman says, according to court documents, that she exceeded the number of allowed absences for her program because of the first trial that was held in January 2015 and had to withdraw from those courses. She claims she had to postpone additional courses to be able to attend the November trial date.

“The victim has a right to a speedy trial and that is a consideration that should be taken into account by the court and we are the only ones that assert that right for her and assert asking the court to consider that,” said Assistant District Attorney Jan Norman.

The defense teams for Vandenburg and Batey were both pushing for April dates. Vandenburg’s attorneys said they already had obligations to other courts and clients in February and March.

“We are grateful for the time the judge has given us,” said Randall Reagan, Vandenburg’s defense attorney. “We think that is the time necessary to provide Mr. Vandenburg with his constitutional rights of effective assistance of counsel.”

Vandenburg and Batey are both charged with rape in the 2013 sexual assault of a female student in a dorm room.

Vandenburg is currently in California, where he has been working with his parents. Batey is in Nashville.


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