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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The jury failed to reach a verdict Thursday in day four of the rape trial against former Vanderbilt University football player Brandon Banks.
The jury deliberated for six hours until 8 p.m. when a juror told told Judge Monte Watkins the team was tired. They were then released for the evening and will report back to the courthouse at 9 a.m. Friday.
The jury, which consists of 16 local people —12 women, 4 men, and 6 minorities, is charged with deciding whether or not Banks is guilty in the rape of an unconscious female student in an on-campus dorm room in June 2013.
Thursday was the fourth day of his trial, which began with two former Vanderbilt University football players taking the stand in his defense.
Former teammate Ladarius Banks was the first witness to testify. He told the court “he did get picked on” when referring to Banks’ relationship with the team.
Another former player, Brian Kimbrough, took the stand next, saying, “Guys called him names because he didn’t go out.”
Their words come after Banks took the stand in his own defense Wednesday, telling the courtroom he was often bullied and called “gay” by other teammates, which he claims had a hand in the peer pressure he felt to take photos and partake in the rape.
After their testimonies, both the state prosecutors and Banks’ defense team rested their cases and closing arguments were heard into early afternoon.
As Banks heard the case against him, he was serious and at times dropped his head. Jurors were engaged and seemed to be listening closely.
Assistant District Attorney Jan Norman began closing arguments stressing that Banks was a willing and active participant in the rape.
“There were four people in that room on June 23rd , 2013. There were four people who were acting together as a group, all participating. They are all participating in different ways, at different times,” said Norman.
Banks legal team argued that he was a victim of peer pressure and bullying, and he participated out fear. His attorney urged jurors to consider all the events leading up to the crime.
“He is the classic example of someone who has been abused, by a group, whether it be a football team, a fraternity, or any other group now a days that requires complete loyalty, complete obedience,” said Mark Scruggs, the defense attorney.
In the final closing argument by the state, Assistant District Attorney Roger Moore said this case is was about responsibility and accountability and asked jurors to hold Banks legally and criminally accountable for his actions.
“This man left a fellow human being like a piece of trash. Laid out for the garbage collectors to pick up. He is responsible, criminally and he should be accountable I submit,” said Moore
Banks is one of four young men charged in the high-profile case. Two former teammates, Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey, have already gone to trial and been sentenced.
The fourth suspect, Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie, has testified in all three trials while he himself has yet to go to trial on the same charges–five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery. It’s unknown if or when he will.