NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The State Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of Jason Burdick, the so-called "Wooded Rapist," in the attempted rape of a Davidson County woman.
In 2009, Burdick was convicted of attempted aggravated rape and sentenced to ten years in prison for allegedly attacking a woman inside her home in 1994. During that attack, the woman bit off a piece of skin from the finger of her attacker.
Burdick appealed his conviction, arguing that the State was too late in prosecuting him because a "John Doe" warrant did not identify him by name and did not put him on notice of the pending charge.
Chief Justice Gary R. Wade wrote the opinion on behalf of a unanimous Court that the State can prosecute an unknown suspect by issuing a "John Doe" warrant that lists the suspect's unique DNA profile.
The "John Doe" warrant in this case was filed in 2000, which was two years prior to the deadline needed to prosecute the offense. Burdick was arrested in 2008, and police determined a partial fingerprint taken from the skin matched Burdick. DNA testing established a match.
The Tennessee Supreme Court said that a criminal prosecution is properly and timely commenced if, within the statute of limitations, a warrant is issued identifying the defendant by gender and his or her unique DNA profile.
Burdick is currently serving 112-years in prison for his convictions in Davidson and Williamson Counties. Authorities believe he raped at least 12 mid-state women across Davidson, Williamson and Wilson Counties over a 12-year span.