Former Vanderbilt Player Convicted of Rape

     NASHVILLE (CN) – In the first of two retrials, former Vanderbilt University football player Cory Batey was convicted late Friday night of aggravated rape of an unconscious woman in a dorm room.
     The jury – comprised of nine men and three women – returned its verdict around 11 p.m. Friday. Jurors found Batey, 22, guilty of one count of aggravated rape.
     Four other counts of aggravated rape were reduced to lesser-included offenses, including attempted aggravated rape, facilitation of aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery.
     Batey is one of two former Vanderbilt University football players convicted in January 2015.
     The other player tried last year, Brandon Vandenburg, was also found guilty of one count of tampering with evidence and one count of unlawful photography.
     The alleged rape occurred in Vandenburg’s Gillette House dorm room in the early morning hours of June 23, 2013. Vandenburg and Batey, along with two others charged in the case, were kicked off the Vanderbilt Commodores football team after the allegations.
     Charges were eventually brought and a Nashville jury found Batey and Vandenburg guilty last year.
     They were facing the possibility of decades in prison, but Judge Monte Watkins declared a mistrial last June after finding that a juror failed to disclose that he was the key witness and named victim in an unrelated statutory-rape case.
     Watkins ruled that Batey and Vandenburg’s retrials would proceed separately, after Vandenburg’s attorney tried to delay the case for medical reasons, according to a Tennessean report. Batey’s trial began Monday.
     On Friday, the alleged victim took the witness stand more than a year after her original testimony in the first trial.
     Earlier this week, detective Chad Gish testified to and described graphic photos and videos recovered from electronic devices during the criminal investigation.
     Prosecutor Jan Norman passed an exhibit up to the witness stand Friday morning, and asked if the alleged victim recognized what was in the photo.
     “That’s me, it’s me,” she said, crying.
     Norman ended her direct questioning by asking the alleged victim if she consented to anything that was done to her in Vandenburg’s dorm room that night.
     “Absolutely not,” she said tearfully.
     Closing arguments began around 5 p.m. Friday. Jurors took a dinner break just before 6 p.m., and arguments wrapped around 7 p.m. Deliberations began at 8:35 p.m. after the jury charge was read.
     Defense attorney Courtney Teasley referred to Vandenburg as a “puppet master,” trying to portray Batey as too drunk to know what he was doing on the night in question.
     But the jury, which was bussed in from Chattanooga following last year’s mistrial, didn’t buy it. Batey’s guilty verdict came down after two and a half hours of deliberation.
     Batey was immediately taken into custody Friday night after the verdict was read.
     Teasley said after the verdict that Batey’s defense team will look at appeals options.

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