Friday, October 16, 2009

Jury in 1994 rape case continues deliberations

Defense insists attack mislabeled By Kate Howard • THE TENNESSEAN • October 16, 2009 The case against Robert Jason Burdick, 39, went to a Davidson County Criminal Court jury Thursday afternoon, and they had not reached a verdict after about four hours. In his closing argument, defense attorney Fletcher Long emphasized that there was no discussion of rape occurring throughout the investigation and even when the state indicted a "John Doe" for the offense based on the DNA profile. It was only when Burdick was indicted that the charge became aggravated rape instead of an attempt, Long said. "This is attempted aggravated rape, and I would be a fool and a liar to maintain otherwise," Long said. "You cannot return a verdict for aggravated rape." Prosecutor Roger Moore said that Green Hills resident Patricia Young had explained herself on the stand, saying she was not raped by penile penetration and she didn't know the legal definition of the crime. Young was asleep in her home March 1, 1994, when she was attacked by an intruder wearing only socks. He had pantyhose over his face. She fought him viciously and was seriously injured during the incident, and after the struggle he left the house. But Young testified that his hand pressed against her genital area during the fight, and prosecutors said it constituted an invasion, however slight, under the definition of rape. DNA evidence from skin that Young bit off during the attack matched Burdick, and Burdick's attorneys conceded throughout the trial that Burdick was the assailant. They argued that the touch Young described didn't constitute a rape. They disagreed that any part of Burdick's body entered Young's body. The Tennessean does not typically name victims of sexual assault but Young has agreed to be identified

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