Brandon Banks Found Guilty Of Aggravated Rape, Sexual Battery

'Not guilty' on five of seven charges.
Posted at 7:09 PM, Jun 23, 2017

On the four-year anniversary of a rape that rocked a university and sent shock waves through a football team, a jury convicted former Vanderbilt University football player Brandon Banks of rape.

Banks was found guilty of one count of aggravated rape and one count of aggravated sexual battery. The minimum sentence was 15 years in prison. A sentencing hearing was expected to be scheduled for the judge to determine exactly how long Banks will spend in prison. 

The jury found Banks not guilty on five of the charges. His bond was revoked, and he was taken into custody. 

The guilty verdict came after four days of grueling, graphic, emotional testimony - most centering around the early morning hours of June 23, 2013, the day an unconscious female student from the dance team was sexually assaulted inside of Gillette Hall on Vanderbilt campus.

"Everybody in that room is having fun, it's a good time and they are documenting and recording this(the rape)," Assistant District Attorney Jan Norman said during closing arguments on Thursday morning.

For Norman it was the fourth time she has delivered a closing argument in this case, after helping get rape convictions against Banks' former teammates Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey, both were in the dorm room when the young woman was being sexually assaulted.

"They were all encouraging each other, advising each other... The evidence more than support that the victim was physically helpless," Norman said.

Before ending her closing arguments, Norman played the 49 second video clip recovered from an iPhone, showing the victim being raped, on Wednesday the young woman testified that she remembers nothing of the incident.

"Within three minutes of being in that room, Mr. Banks has proven himself to the (football) team because he penetrated her with a water bottle," Norman added.

Jurors worked through the Thursday afternoon and all of Friday to deliver the verdict, after more than 14 hours of deliberation.

Defense attorneys react to guilty verdict

The victim sat just feet away from the man she only saw in person for the first time on Wednesday when she testified. She sat in shock and watched as Brandon Banks was taken away in handcuffs.

"All of us here wish it hadn't happened but to convict Brandon Banks of these crimes would be just as much as an injustice," his attorney Mark Scruggs said.

Banks, 23, could be seen holding back tears in court as his defense team made their final plea to the jury, arguing Banks acted under duress because he felt his fellow teammates would harm him if he didn't participate in the rape. On Wednesday, Banks testified that members of the Vanderbilt football team thought he was gay and would constantly bully him because of it.

"There's no evidence of sexual penetration by Brandon Banks," Scruggs told the jury.