Jury Deliberates In Vanderbilt Rape Trial; Ends Final Day With No Verdict

Posted at 8:34 AM, Jun 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-22 23:43:56-04

There is one thing that both defense attorneys and prosecutors in the trial of Brandon Banks agree on - that the rape of an unconscious female student inside a Vanderbilt University dorm room shouldn't have happened, but that is where their consensus with one another ends.

On Thursday, both sides delivered their final closing arguments to the jury, who will ultimately decide whether Banks is guilty of raping that young woman in June of 2013.

Defense attorneys continued to paint a picture of a young college football player, continually tormented by his teammates because they thought he was gay. The constant bullying from teammates, lawyers say, is why Banks participated in the rape of the dance team student.

Prosecutors though simply called that argument "an excuse." 

"Everybody in that room is having fun, it's a good time and they're documenting and recording it," prosecutor Jan Norman told jurors inside courtroom 5A.

"There is not evidence submitted that raises duress, it is an excuse. When you apply the law to the evidence in this case it doesn't allow for excuses," she added.

The state has history on their side. Two other former Vanderbilt University football players, Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey, were convicted of rape last year.

Again in court on Thursday, jurors were shown a 25 second video clip taken inside Gillette Hall that captured a few moments of the unconscious girl being raped and molested with a water bottle.

"You have the video. You have video of Mr. Banks squeezing that bottle and pressing it inside of her," Norman added.

Banks looks on intensely, knowing full well that by the end of the day he could very likely learn his fate. The 23-year-old's father also looked on from a bench inside the courtroom.

Also in the courtroom, the victim, who has now been through four of these grueling trials.

"There is no evidence of sexual penetration by Brandon Banks," defense attorney Mark Scruggs explained to jurors in his closing arguments.

Scruggs didn't hold back, telling jurors that what happened to the victim was "horrible," but reminded them Banks is innocent until proven otherwise.

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

Following closing arguments, the judge charged the jury with their duties before they left to begin deliberating. Deliberations began around 2:45 that afternoon.

The jury deliberated until 8 p.m., but decided to continue deliberations Friday morning and left the courthouse without a verdict.

Read More: 
Brandon Banks Testifies In Own Defense 
Victim Testifies For 4th Time In Vandy Rape Trial