Vanderbilt rape case trial delayed until spring 2016

Judge Monte Watkins, Vanderbilt rape case
Photo: WKRN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Davidson County judge agreed to delay the trial for the high-profile Vanderbilt University rape case Monday during a status hearing.

Judge Monte Watkins ruled on several motions set forth by the attorneys of Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey, who were originally set to go to trial on Nov. 30.

Vandenburg’s attorneys motioned to delay the trial due to possible issues with the jury, saying the holiday season and winter weather could impede it as the jury is being bused in from Chattanooga due to the local publicity of the case.

While Judge Watkins granted their motion, he dismissed a motion from Batey’s attorneys to delay to allow more time to test the victim’s underwear and vomit found at the alleged crime scene for further evidence, including the possible presence of drugs.

Before approving the delay, the judge dismissed motions to throw out the latest indictments against Vandenburg and Batey as well as a motion to separate the trial for each.

Judge Monte Watkins, Vanderbilt rape case
Photo: WKRN

Both defense attorneys and state prosecutors are also asking a written questionnaire be used during jury selection to ensure all potential jurors are comfortable answering questions truthfully. The request comes after juror misconduct led to the declaration of a mistrial in the first trial.

Vandenburg and 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.

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. Vandenburg was not in court Monday while Batey attended wearing a small pin to support breast cancer awareness.

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

Click here for full coverage of the Vanderbilt rape case. 

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