Plea Deals Unlikely For Suspects In Vandy Rape Case - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Plea Deals Unlikely For Suspects In Vandy Rape Case

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by Nick Beres

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The four former Vanderbilt Football players accused of raping an unconscious student in a campus dorm room would not likely receive a plea deal, according to one legal analyst.

Even though prosecutors agreed to a plea deal for one former football player, NewsChannel 5 legal analyst Nick Leonardo said the four who have been charged with rape should not expect the same.

Former Vanderbilt receiver Chris Boyd cut a deal in September which lessoned his charge from a felony to a misdemeanor. Boyd agreed to testify against his former teammates after he was accused of helping the suspects cover up the alleged rape.

Brandon Banks, Jaborian McKenzie, Cory Batey and Brandon Vandenburg have all been accused of raping a female Vanderbilt student in a dorm last summer.

Legal analyst Nick Leonardo said it was likely too late for the four rape suspects to receive a plea deal. 

"The rush to get to the prosecutor's office and strike a deal has passed if you are one of those four," said Leonardo.

Leonardo said plea deals were typically offered when a prosecutor's criminal case is weak or if the victim simply can't bear to relive the crime in court. He added this rape case was different because the victim was allegedly unconscious after leaving a bar.

"What can the victim say? Can she remember? She doesn't remember anything," he said. 

Even though there was little physical evidence, Leonardo said it would hardly matter in this case, considering the strength of other evidence collected by investigators. The evidence has since been handed over to prosecutors, some of which included graphic text messages.

"It seems as though there could be numerous videos in this case, so when you have that kind of evidence... there's no incentive for the state to offer a plea deal," said Leonardo.

There was still a possibility one or more of the four players charged with rape could try and cut a deal by offering to testify against the others. Leonardo said it was doubtful prosecutors would need additional testimony since Boyd has already agreed to testify.

If and when the case goes to trial, it likely would not happen until early next year.


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