Ex-Vanderbilt players get August trial

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A trial date has been set for two of four former Vanderbilt football players charged with raping an unconscious fellow student.

Twenty-year-old Brandon Vandenburg and 19-year-old Cory Batey are scheduled to stand trial Aug. 11.

Two other 19-year-old ex-players -- Brandon Banks and Tip McKenzie -- also are charged in the June 23 rape. Their case was separated from the other two players at a Wednesday hearing. All four have pleaded not guilty to rape and sexual assault charges and are all out of jail on bond.

A fifth player, Chris Boyd, entered a conditional guilty plea last month to a misdemeanor charge for attempting to cover up the crime. If the 21-year-old successfully completes unsupervised probation, his record will be cleared.

As a condition of his plea, Boyd has agreed to testify against the others.

Batey's attorney, Worrick Robinson, said after Wednesday's hearing that the fact that prosecutors separated the case of Vandenburg and Batey most likely means that Banks and McKenzie also have agreed to testify.

"It's certainly a strategic move by the state," Robinson said. "They're doing what they need to do to makes their case as strong as possible at trial."

All five players were dismissed from the football team.

Deputy District Attorney General Tom Thurman said after the Wednesday hearing that no trial date will be set for Banks and McKenzie until after the one for Vandenburg and Batey.

During Boyd's plea hearing last month, Thurman gave an account of what happened on June 23, the night he says the unconscious woman was sexually assaulted by different people.

Thurman said Vandenburg sent a picture to Boyd and also called him, saying the woman had been "messed with" in the hall and sexually assaulted in the room.

Thurman said Boyd found the woman in the hall, partially clothed and unconscious. With the help of two others, Boyd carried her into the room, then left.

Afterward, Boyd advised Vandenburg and other players to delete photo and video evidence.

Vandenburg, of Indio, Calif.; Batey, of Nashville; Banks, of Brandywine, Md.; and McKenzie, of Woodville, Miss., have been suspended from school.