Brandon Vandenburg found guilty on counts in Vanderbilt rape case

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The jury in the rape retrial of Brandon Vandenburg reached a verdict Saturday night.

After five hours of deliberations, the former Vanderbilt University football player was found guilty on all counts, which includes five counts of aggravated rape, two counts of aggravated sexual battery, and one count of unlawful photography.

Vandenburg now faces 15 to 20 years in prison for the 2013 rape of an unconscious student he was dating at the time.

He showed little emotion as the verdict was read Saturday.

Brandon Vandenburg teared up as his attorneys did their closing arguments Saturday. (Photo: WKRN)
Brandon Vandenburg teared up as his attorneys did their closing arguments Saturday. (Photo: WKRN)

Before leaving the courtroom, he hugged his attorneys. His mother stood weeping in the front row and was one of the last to leave the room.

The defense team left without giving a statement, while prosecutors say this was a difficult case for all parties involved.

“I’d say this case is very emotional for the victim, but it’s also emotional when you look at all the young lives that were destroyed that one night. There was so much promise from things in that room and all those individuals, and now their lives are pretty much destroyed as to what they can accomplish with this very serious crime so im hoping at the least this can send some type of message,” said prosecutor Tom Thurman.

Following the reading of the verdict, prosecutor Jan Norman spoke about the victim.

“She is one of the strongest people I know. She has incredible courage, and she is just an amazing intelligent young woman.”

Vanderbilt University Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Beth Fortune released the following statement about the verdict:

Our first thoughts are with the victim who has shown incredible strength and fortitude as she has endured another retrial. It is our sincere hope that today’s verdict strongly sends the message to victims and to perpetrators that sexual assault will not be tolerated in our communities. Vanderbilt will continue its work to combat the threat of sexual violence on our campus, and we appreciate our strong partnership with the Metro Nashville Police Department and Office of the District Attorney which helped deliver today’s verdict and, we hope, some measure of resolution for the victim.”

This was Vandenburg’s second time to stand trial in the rape case.

He and Cory Batey were previously tried together and convicted on all charges before a judge issued a mistrial last year due to juror misconduct.

Batey has since been tried separately and was found guilty on one count of aggravated rape and three counts of aggravated sexual battery, one count of facilitation of aggravated rape, and two counts of attempted aggravated rape.

Two others accused in the case, Jaborian McKenzie and Brandon Banks, have yet to go to trial.

They also face five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery.

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