2 dismissed Vanderbilt players get August trial

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 16, 2013
Attorneys Wednesday set a trial date for two of five former Vanderbilt football players charged with raping an unconscious fellow student. Twenty-year-old Brandon Vandenburg and 19-year-old Cory Batey are scheduled to stand trial Aug. 11. Two other 19-year-old ex-players -Brandon Banks and Tip McKenzie - also are charged in the June 23 rape. Their case was separated from the other two players at a Wednesday hearing. All four have pleaded not guilty to rape and sexual assault charges and are all out of jail on bond. Batey's attorney, Worrick Robinson, said after the hearing that separating the two cases likely means that Banks and McKenzie will testify against their former teammates, including his client. ''It's certainly a strategic move by the state,'' he said. ''They're doing what they need to do to makes their case as strong as possible at trial.'' Former player Chris Boyd already has agreed to testify against the others as part of a plea agreement last month. On Sept. 13, the 21-year-old entered a conditional guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge for attempting to cover up the crime. If he successfully completes unsupervised probation, his record will be cleared. All five players were dismissed from the football team. Deputy District Attorney General Tom Thurman said after the Wednesday hearing that no trial date will be set for Banks and McKenzie until after the one for Vandenburg and Batey. During Boyd's plea hearing last month, Thurman gave an account of what happened on June 23, the night he says the unconscious woman was sexually assaulted by different people. Thurman said Vandenburg sent a picture to Boyd and also called him, saying the woman had been ''messed with'' in the hall and sexually assaulted in the room. Thurman said Boyd found the woman in the hall, partially clothed and unconscious. With the help of two others, Boyd carried her into the room, then left. Afterward, Boyd advised Vandenburg and other players to delete photo and video evidence. Vandenburg, of Indio, Calif.; Batey, of Nashville; Banks, of Brandywine, Md.; and McKenzie, of Woodville, Miss., have been suspended from school.
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