Former Vanderbilt football players Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey were found guilty of aggravated rape on Tuesday, bringing some closure to a case that rocked Vanderbilt University, the school's football program, and the life of the victim involved. Two more ex-Commodores, Tip McKenzie and Brandon Banks, are still awaiting trial for their roles in the crime.
It only took jurors three hours to come to a decision after a 12-day trial. Vandenburg and Batey were convicted of 16 counts in total, including aggravated rape, aggravated sexual battery, unlawful photography, and tampering with evidence. They will be sentenced on March 6th. Authorities have not yet set a date for McKenzie and Banks's trial.
Today's verdict will help close the door on a despicable event that cast a shadow over the university since the summer of 2013. Several former players, including Austyn Carta-Samuels and Chris Boyd (who was dismissed from the program for helping the defendants cover up the crime), were called to testify or aid the prosecution in the trial. Former head coach James Franklin, now at Penn State, also testified via Skype in 2014.
Here's what their former teammate Josh Grady had to say about the verdict:
It's A Shame That This Situation Ever Came To Be, Multiple Lives Were Essentially Ruined. With That Being Said, Justice Was Served Today.— Joshua Grady (@JoshuaxGrady) January 27, 2015
And here's what former Commodore tailback Warren Norman told The Tennessean's Adam Sparks:
Ex-#Vandy RB Warren Norman: "Glad it's over. It's been a black eye. ... Hopefully Nashville & media can move on."— Adam Sparks (@AdamSparks) January 27, 2015
Vanderbilt spokeswoman Beth Fortune is expected to address the media regarding today's verdict shortly. We'll have updates as they develop.
Here's a summary of the university's statement, in Tweet form:
The jury has spoken. Our heart goes out to the brave victim. Sexual violence will never be tolerated. Full statement: http://t.co/ZanT1OurPy— VanderbiltUniversity (@VanderbiltU) January 27, 2015