Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wooded Rapist case evidence can be used

By Kate Howard • THE TENNESSEAN • November 20, 2008 Evidence in the case against the man suspected as the Wooded Rapist was obtained legally and will be presented in the trial, a judge ruled this week. Attorneys last month argued that the evidence should be thrown out against Robert Jason Burdick, who faces 27 criminal charges in three counties that range from aggravated rape to aggravated burglary. A search warrant was granted to detectives who developed Burdick as a suspect after they determined he had been peeking in car windows with a flashlight in a Brentwood neighborhood. Davidson County Criminal Court Judge Seth Norman ruled there was enough evidence in the affidavit to connect Burdick's actions that night with the crime patterns of the Wooded Rapist. Through the years as police investigated a string of attacks, they labeled the perpetrator the Wooded Rapist because the assaults occurred near wooded areas. Burdick is now suspected in at least 13 rapes reported between 1994 and 2008 in Davidson, Williamson and Wilson counties. A search of his home found five guns, boxes of ammunition, ski masks, tools to open locks, night vision binoculars, black and camouflage clothing, a device to drive away dogs and an anti-barking device, knives and cameras, according to court files. Gary Tamkin, an attorney with the Metro public defender's office, had argued that the case presented in the affidavit to obtain the search warrant wasn't strong enough to link Burdick to any rapes; therefore, the search was illegal.

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