Jury finds Brandon Vandenburg, 23, GUILTY of raping girl in his dorm room
The Former Vanderbilt football player found guilty on all counts in rape retrial – Five counts of aggravated rape, two counts of aggravated sexual battery and unlawful photography
Vandenburg was accused of raping the woman he was dating three years ago
Taken into custody as soon as the verdicts were read out while his mother wept openly
Vandenburg faces 15 to 25 years in prison
Brandon Vandenburg and his defense team standup in court while the verdict is read
A jury found Brandon Vandenburg guilty as-charged late Saturday in the rape of an unconscious woman he was dating in his Vanderbilt University dorm room nearly three years ago.
The jury deliberated more than four hours before delivering the verdicts about 8:20 p.m. Jurors found Vandenburg guilty on all counts: Five counts of aggravated rape, two counts of aggravated sexual battery and unlawful photography.
The victim nodded in the courtroom as the verdicts were read.
“She is one of the strongest people I know,” Assistant District Attorney General Jan Norman said after the verdicts.
Vandenburg faces 15 to 25 years in prison for the crimes. He was taken into custody immediately after the verdicts were read, as required by Tennessee law. His mother sobbed in the front row, where she has watched the trial all week.
Jurors got the case about 3:50 p.m. after hearing five days of testimony. Vandenburg, 23, was charged alongside three other men in the case, which launched debate of how colleges respond to sexual assault. One of those men, Cory Batey, was found guilty after trial in April. Two others, Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie and Brandon E. Banks, have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial.
Corey Batey convicted in April for his role in the rape
Assistant District Attorney General Jan Norman, in a closing argument Saturday morning, asked jurors to hold Vandenburg responsible for the actions of the other men. She said he was aware of what happened and intended to participate.
“He is the one that got (the woman) there for these strangers to do this to her,” Norman said. “He provided the victim. And he provided the room.”
The Tennessean generally does not name victims of sexual assault. The woman sat in court listening to closing arguments, crying softly at times. More than two dozen members of the public watched, as did District Attorney General Glenn Funk and the case detectives.|
Albert Perez, one of Vandenburg’s lawyers and a family friend, suggested to the jury that the investigation was bad and the state was trying to convict Vandenburg for things he did not do. Perez said Vandenburg was intoxicated. Vandenburg’s parents, brothers and another relative sat in the front row.
Shawna Vandenburg weeps in court as her son is pronounced guilty of raping his girl friend
He said that Vandenburg cried in his interview with Mayo. Jurors heard a recording of that interview.
“He was sorry,” Perez said. “He wished he knew what was going on. He wished he called somebody.”
The defense earlier Saturday rested its case after presenting prior testimony from the woman’s roommate about the source of a blue drink the woman drank the night of the incident. The woman said Vandenburg gave it to her, the friend testified it was bought by another source. The defense called no other witnesses. Vandenburg did not to take the stand.
Three of the men charged in the case were strangers. Vandenburg is the one she knew.
The one, prosecutors said, that she trusted.
Brandon Banks( top left), Brandon Vandenburg (top right), Corey Bates (left) and Jaborian McKenzie: The four ex-Vanderbilt football players accused of raping a girl Vandenburg was dating in their dorm room
They met on his recruiting visit to campus. When the towering tight-end recruit arrived at Vanderbilt in early June 2013, they began dating. They had seen each other three to four times in just more than two weeks.
On June 22, 2013, they met up at Tin Roof bar on Demonbreun Hill, a popular bar for Vanderbilt students. He was 20 then.
“I was happy to see him,” the woman said. He was excited too, according to Lauren Miller, the woman’s roommate. Miller said she left and did not worry about her roommate.
“I knew they’d been hanging out for a little bit so we trusted him,” Miller said.
The woman does not remember a period of hours between sipping a blue drink Vandenburg gave her at the bar and waking up in his bed, alone and in the worst pain she’s felt, at 8 a.m. the next day, she said.
Jaborian ‘Tip’ McKenzie
She said she believed what Vandenburg told her: that she’d gotten drunk and vomited and that he had taken care of her.
They met up later the day of the rape. She felt bad about the night before, and when he initiated intercourse, she consented, she said.
They continued talking via text message after that, and rumors built on campus about what happened.
He began orchestrating a cover-up, according to testimony, meeting with his teammates to get their stories in line and later going to California to destroy evidence.
All the while he kept talking to her.
Two days after the rape, he wished her “night :)” and “sweet dreams” in text messages, Metro Nashville Police Detective Chad Gish testified.
Three days after, he asked: “When are we going to cook!? Gotta show you my skills.”
That was the day the woman went to get an about three-hour medical exam known as a rape kit. Detectives convinced her to go after seeing surveillance video of her being carried into Vandenburg’s dorm. They showed her still images from the video.
After she saw those pictures, Vandenburg sent another message: “I would never let what they’re saying happen to you.”
Vandenburg’s cellphone showed internet searches in that same time period. One Gish said he found was: “can police recover deleted picture messages.”
Four days after the rape, detectives Jason Mayo and Mike Shreeve questioned Vandenburg.
He told them he sat on his bed and watched as his teammates assaulted the woman. He said he did not touch her.
“She got sexually assaulted right in front of me. And I didn’t do anything,” he said in the recorded interview that was played for the jury. “I should’ve called someone.
“They deserve to go to jail.”
Gish found the deleted pictures and videos of the rape about a week later.
Brandon E Banks
Vandenburg carried her unconscious body into his room at Gillette Hall about 2:30 a.m. June 23, 2013, asking three teammates he ran into outside for help. They put her on the floor and at least two of them penetrated her with their fingers and one sat on her face, raising his middle finger for a photograph, according to trial testimony.
Vandenburg could not get an erection, so he watched pornography on his laptop.
He tried to wake up his roommate on the top bunk, saying “we have this b—- in here” and “we’re gonna f— her.”
Vandenburg sent videos to four friends and destroyed condoms.
The man she trusted giggled and goaded his teammate, “squeeze that s—,” referring to a bottle in her anus.
Mayo told the woman what detectives found. That she had been raped,
And the man she trusted lied.