Batey Found Guilty Of Aggravated Rape In Retrial

Posted at 5:38 AM, Apr 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-09 19:55:36-04

After more than two hours of deliberation, the jury reached a verdict in the Vanderbilt Rape Retrial of Cory Batey.

He was found guilty Friday night on one count of aggravated rape, two counts of attempted aggravated rape, three counts of aggravated sexual battery, and one count of facilitation of aggravated rape.

The most serious of which, aggravated rape, carries a 15-25 year penalty.

Saturday, the victim released the following statement:

"I am deeply disappointed with the jury’s verdict.

Cory Batey was guilty of each count of aggravated rape beyond a reasonable doubt last year, and he is no less guilty today.

But this result is not the first injustice I have endured in this process.

Last year, the defendants received a fair trial. If the law required a new trial due to a juror’s dishonesty that did not impact deliberations, the law should change, and the juror should face consequences.

So, too, must protections for victims improve. For three years, defense counsel have broken rules, flouted the Court’s orders, and harassed me with impunity.

As a result, the jury failed to apply the law to the facts of the case for four of the seven charged offenses. Although the potential sentence may be the same, the result is no less unjust.

Despite the hard work of the exemplary prosecutors who've worked tirelessly on this case, I can only conclude that our system of justice is broken.

I deserved better. Victims of sexual assault deserve better. Our community deserves better."

Batey and his family showed very little emotion as the verdict was read. They left the courtroom along with attorneys and everyone else in silence.

Batey's sentencing date was scheduled for May 20. Attorneys of the prosecution and defense discussed the verdict with media. 

The prosecution said justice was served and that they were pleased with the guilty verdict.

"Rape victims need to know there are prosecutors out there who will do whatever it takes for them," said Assistant District Attorney Jan Norman.

The defense said they felt like they weren't given adequate time to prepare for the hearing and that Batey was not ready emotionally for the trial.

"He felt forced to move forward, and he felt forced the entire time here," said attorney Courtney Teasley.

Another attorney for the defense, Warrick Robinson, went on to talk about the concerns he had charging a jury so late in the evening.

"In general they want to get it finished. You never want to see a jury rush through anything. My first glance is they spent more time and more consideration than the prior jury," said Robinson.

He also commented on Batey's reaction to the verdict and the heartbreaking nature of the trial.

"Mr. Batey is very somber right now. I think at this point the travesty of all of it is even more clear than it has been," said Robinson. "There are no winners here, only losers and survivors."

In the early morning hours Saturday, Vanderbilt University Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs, Beth Fortune, released the following statement:

"The jury has spoken. Our first thoughts are with the victim and the incredible strength she has shown, and continues to show, both throughout the investigation and the legal proceedings. Our heart continues to go out to her as she has endured this retrial. This case has had a lasting impact on us all. On our campus it has helped raise awareness of and dialogue around the issue of sexual violence. The Vanderbilt community’s efforts to combat the threat of sexual violence continue. As part of these efforts, we appreciate our strong working relationship with the Metro Nashville Police Department – a partnership that helped deliver today’s verdict and some measure of resolution for the victim. Sexual violence will not be tolerated at Vanderbilt – incidents will be investigated, victims will be supported and perpetrators will be held accountable."

As day five of the trial got started earlier in the day, Batey agreed to take the stand to testify; however, after a recess, it was announced he would not testify, which it appeared Batey did not completely agree with.

A disagreement then ensued in which Batey said he thought he was going to testify and added "I was comfortable with the decision to testify because it would help my case."

The judge then called a ten minute recess for Batey to make a final decision on whether or not he would testify.

When everyone returned the courtroom, without the jury present, Batey's team asked for a recess for the day to decide whether or not he would testify.

Batey told the judge he feels the trial was rushed since his case was severed from Brandon Vandenburg's a few weeks before.

He also said he wanted time to think because he needs to speak with his lawyers and he wanted to do what was right for his family and 15-month-old son.

His attorneys told the judge Batey wasn't in the right state of mind to decide Friday afternoon. The judge then called another ten minute recess.

The jury returned to the courtroom after the recess, and it was announced that Batey would take the stand.

Batey said he started drinking while getting ready for the night of the alleged assault. He went on to say that he had never before drank so much in such a short amount of time.

He said the last thing he remembered from that night was a moment in a bathroom of East Hall when he said the alcohol was really starting to "set in." 

"I thought, gosh, I'm really drunk," he said.

He told the court the next thing he remembered, was waking up in his room the next morning, and that's when he discovered the videos and pictures on his phone.

He said, "There was a female I was not familiar with, and I was distraught and confused how they got there."

His attorney went on to ask him about text messages he sent the day after the alleged rape. Batey said he sent certain messages to find out what happened and make sure there were no false rumors or stories being spread.

Batey stated that he didn't know Vandenburg very well before the night of the alleged assault. He took full responsibility for how much alcohol he consumed, and said that Vandenburg was not responsible for his alcohol consumption.

When the defense had no more questions, the state then began its cross examination of Batey.

The state pointed out that rather than telling his alleged truth, of him being so drunk he didn't remember anything, in a previous interview, Batey told a "memorized and rehearsed" story of what happened on the night of the alleged assault.

"There is nothing in any text to anyone that said I was in a black out, is there?" said the state. "I mean you can see the confusion and the panic. I didn't know what was going on," answered Batey.

Batey finished testifying just after 4 p.m., and the Defense called another witness to the stand shortly after.

The defense called their last witness, David Whitfield, a former teacher and coach of Batey. There was a question of whether or not Whitfield would be allowed to testify.

With the jury out of the courtroom, the judge and attorneys determined the line of questioning that would take place and if it should be allowed.

When asked to describe Batey he said, "very honest, dependable, solid citizen in Emsworth community."

The judge decided to allow it, and the jury was brought back in. With the jury in the courtroom, Whitfield said Batey was not known as an aggressive student. 

The jury was again sent out while the state discussed the possible line of questioning in their cross examination. Their discussion lasted about half an hour.

Once the jury was back in the room, the state's first question was: "You no nothing about the facts of this case, correct?" "No, very little," Whitfield responded.

The prosecution asked Whitfield several questions in regards to some of Batey's more questionable actions and an expert's diagnosis of alcohol and cannabis disorder.

The teacher was also shown one of the many pictures taken of the victim and Batey during the alleged assault.

"Is that the conduct of a person with good character?," said the state. "No, it is not," he responded.

Closing arguments began after a short break around 5:30 p.m.

Click Here to read more on the prosecution and defense's closing statements.

After the jury heard the Defense's closing argument and the prosecution's rebuttal, the judge dismissed them for deliberation around 8:30 p.m.

Earlier Friday morning, jurors heard from the first witness of the day, the alleged rape victim, as she testified for an hour and 12 minutes. She initially entered the courtroom around 9 a.m.

It was the first time she was seen in court as she had been studying for a final exam.

She was a 21-year-old senior at Vanderbilt University on June 23, 2013, the day authorities said she was assaulted inside of Gillette Hall and on the witness stand Friday she did her best to maintain her composure as she told a jury about what she's been through, for a second time.

CLICK HERE to read additional details on the alleged victim's testimony.

The alleged victim testified she doesn't remember anything after getting a "blue drink" at the Tin Roof until she woke up at 8 a.m. the next day. She described the pain she was in and said she woke up with her clothes on but her shoes were not there.

She later added she had never felt that way in her entire life.

The alleged victim cried as she was shown photos.

Not long after the alleged victim testified, the defense called Sarah Enoch to the stand. She's a former girlfriend of Batey. She discussed a phone call and other discussions she had with Batey after the incident.

The defense also called April Bramlage, a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Special Agent and forensic scientist, to the stand to discuss her findings of items she tested for toxicology reports.

Another former girlfriend was also called to the stand Friday afternoon. She was identified as Quela Royster, and she told the courtroom about a time she didn't want to do anything sexual with Batey and he listened and stopped.

WATCH LIVE: Gavel-To-Gavel Coverage Of Batey Retrial

Thursday was a busy day of testimony as jurors heard from seven witnesses.

One witness said they saw the unconscious victim being carried away from inside the room where she was allegedly raped, but the witness never said anything.

Another witness who took the stand testified about the video that detectives found on his computer of a young woman being raped.

It was video sent to him by Brandon Vandenburg who has been scheduled to face a jury in June.

Lauren Miller, the victim's former roommate, testified she was drinking with the victim at the Tin Roof the night of the alleged assault.

Miller remembered seeing the victim the next morning and recalled the bruises she photographed on the victim’s body.

The Davidson County District Attorney's Office posted this tweet after the verdict was read.