After hearing the defense’s mistrial case last week, Judge Monte D. Watkins declared the guilty verdicts of Brandon Vandenberg and Corey Batey null due to mistrial.
Vandenberg and Batey had each been found guilty on four counts of aggravated rape, one count of attempted aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery. The jury returned the guilty verdict in just over three hours after seeing video of the defendants assaulting Vandenberg’s unconscious then-girlfriend.
After four months in jail, Vandenberg and Batey’s attorney Worrick Robinson filed for a mistrial having learned that the jury foreman, Todd Easter, had been the victim of a statutory rape case in his late teens.
While Easter argued that he did not disclose the information because he never felt victimized, Worrick ultimately persuaded the judge by insisting that the withholding of this information had corrupted the jury.
“An unbiased jury is 12 unbiased jurors, not 11,” Robinson said.
No date has been set for the defendants’ retrial, but Batey and Vandenberg have been released under strict surveillance.
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