Vanderbilt gang rape – Brandon Vandenberg sentencing hearing blew up – 17 years

Brandon Vandenberg’s friend Miles Finley – bailed.

Finally!  Long-time Brandon Vandenberg bro, Miles Finley, finally came clean. As Finley finally began describing what really happened, the camera panned to Brandon, who looked like he’d been hit between the eyes by a baseball…bat.

Vandenburg - Miles Finley hates waiting on women

Miles Finley – from a happier, pre-defendant, time.

But, on the morning of November 4, 2016, the public heard for the first time, Miles Finley manning up, from an earlier investigation.  I thought he  took the stand, and explained how he and Brandon’s Mom – destroyed evidence under the direction of, Surprise: long time family friend and father of Brandon’s high school sweetheart, attorney Albert Perez!

But I was wrong.  It was from an earlier recorded hearing with the police.  My readers are good!

Perez, predictably, with every twist and turn of Miles’ story bounced up out of his chair like a Jack-in-the-box, objecting.  To no avail.

(During the live testimony, tweeted to the California State Bar during the proceedings, they might want to listen live.  Had this feeling about Perez from the get.  So much so had ordered transcripts from earlier testimony.)

But Brandon’s (former) friend, Finely, testified Brandon kept changing his story the night of the gang rape. There was talk about Miles violating his earlier plea, and this time around, none of Finley’s past arrogance was on display as he burbbled forth with date rape drug information. Also, (it surprised me) Finley wouldn’t let his girlfriend see the videos Brandon sent. Yes, videos. Finley said Brandon was up on date rape drugs as Rod, Brandon’s father, gave Brandon him the date rape drug saying it “loosens women up.”  (I’d reported this earlier.)

Miles Finley said Shawna Alexander repeatedly I Do Solemnly Swearsaid, “Brandon is the victim here.”  So Mom’s denial seems to remain entrenched.

Miles Finley’s explosive testimony was followed by long-time Vandenberg family friend, Pernilla Linner; who testified Brandon was the most polite and kind young man she has ever met — both in Sweden and in the United States.  She went on to say  she didn’t think her daughter would ever be unsafe around Brandon.  She would let her daughter be around Brandon – now.  She believes had Brandon left the victim at her place, “it” would never have happened.  Linner envisioned Brandon speaking to colleges around the United States.  She ended asking for the least amount of time in prison possible. Next came a pastor, and Ms. Fix, a high school English teacher.  Fix said she didn’t think Vandenberg “Needed rehabilitation.  She said, “I think he needs mercy.”  (Fashion note:  When trying to appear credible jettison white socks with sandals.)

On cross-examination, Fix said she thought Brandon “Might have been” calling for help.

She was hopeless.  

Brandon testifies

vandenburgsentencingBrandon claims he was an inexperienced drinker. Laughably untrue.  See prior column.  Brandon’s mentions “football mentors” twice.  Brandon’s mentioned 40 drinks.  He refers to the gang rape as “the incident.”

So we end where we began….happy for the conviction….horrified by the crime, horrified by the quality of defense counsel, heartened by Nashville Metro Police, the DA and the victim all determined to “make it right.”

Originally, was delighted the victim wasn’t there.  My not-so-secret hope, was the woman had a, work-or-vacation scheduling conflict, hoping her life had drastically improved since departing Nashville. The rapee (whom I always believed was drugged – not drunk) having been through the wringer and I’d hoped  she’d opted, literally, to not give Brandon Vandenberg the time of day.

But it turns out, the victim was not there as she continues to suffer. Judge Watkins easy sentencing on Cory Batey being the straw that broke the victim’s back.

However, the date rape drug FINALLY came into play.  And as Miles Finley finally came came clean, and Albert Perez morphed into an objecting, bobbing little jack-in-the-box; it all fell into place.

DA Jan Norman finished strong

JanNorman

Jan Norman killed it at the close. She described Brandon’s actions as the facilitator, who also, in a position of trust post-rape;  acted in a way to both cover his crimes while blaming the victim.  In short, she described Brandon Vandenberg for what he is.

Every parents nightmare.

Defense maintained Brandon had never been away from home for any length of time.  (So I guess Xaxier Prep didn’t count?) Defense said each of the acts were performed by someone else.  Said Mr. Vandenberg should not be sentenced to more than Cory Batey who urinated on her, and sat on her face.  Defense mentioned there was a little bruising, is all. Defense said Brandon Vandenberg was a good guy.  Said “You can’t fool 40 people you’ve known all your life.”  Except of course, you can.  Defense also tried to use the “Devil Alcohol” defense to mitigate a longer sentence.  Defense said “he was not a drinker.” 

Finally, Judge Monte Watkins spoke.

The Court agreed with the Prosecution.  Abused the position of private trust and was the Leader and the rape would not have happened “were it not for him.”  And he did nothing to stop it.  As for mitigating factors – no priors, defendant has community support.  Seems remorseful – but that the Enhancement factors Vandenburg got 17 years.  Sure glad the victim didn’t bother to show up.

vandenburg-brandon-sex-offender

Brandon Vandenberg – Violent Sex Offender

Vandenburg - violent sex offender.png

Am now tying to determine how much time Brandon Vandenberg will spend in the care, custody and control of the State of Tennessee.

The legal line up

The legal line up has always been pristine for all involved on the side Prosecution; and considerably less than stellar, on defense.

First: CA attorney Perez.

Vandenburg - Defense attorney Albert Perez

A pricey, routinely inept (in our by now, jaded opinion) presence.  

Second: Fletcher Long – convicted of extortion of his own client – Long was thrown out of the legal profession, and

Vandenburg - Defense attorney Fletcher Long

currently, flaps his gums on some radio program.

Third: Troy Bowlin – Appellate attorney – in for a half-second, and now out, due to a conflict of interest – after the Court of Appeal threw out his motion.

The Bench:  Judge Monte Watkins

Judge Monte Watkins

Judge Monte Watkins – presiding over Vanderbilt’s top football draft pick, Brandon Vandenberg’s gang-rape trial – 2 defendants down, 2 to go.                                               (Coach Franklin skedaddled pdq.)

Judge Watkins – with whom we had the utmost confidence — until he fell out of favor; well, leaped out of favor —after the Cory Batey sentencing, influenced by letters of supportive family members willing to over-look Batey’s alcohol and anger problem.

But thankfully the prosecutor discovered the letters sent to the court were not provided the Prosecution. How this happened, no one knows; and worse fewer still are asking.

The national favorite flavor of rape continues

Texas

College wise – Police and Baylor University buried reports of Baylor’s sex crimes.

Then there’s Jersey.  

judgerobertbemierNJ Judge Robert Bellmeier (father of two sons)

Judge Bellmeier opts for sentencing-light for a rapist who attacked a 15 year old, because of Family Letters of support.

California

Oakland cops in underage teen sex case  Child began having sex as a minor.  It’s called child exploitation.  And she was then exploited by police officers in five, Bay Area Counties.  Whew! A short run-down list is available at the Bad Cop page at Familylawcourts.com

Who says there’s not a war on women

In all cases, but the most stupid women – 

dumbtrumpwomen

who marry really jerky men,

waronwomen-cword

rape is not an entitlement, sport.  No…rape is not something for which men are entitled

Wait:  There is a solution!

grabhimbytheballot

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About bonnie russell

It's not about me....but working with and sometimes against attorneys, I *do* find interesting people doing interesting things.
This entry was posted in college rapes, date rape, Vanderbilt University Sex crimes and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Vanderbilt gang rape – Brandon Vandenberg sentencing hearing blew up – 17 years

  1. I have the worst followers. None of them correct my typos. : (

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  2. Karen says:

    The mom ought to be prosecuted, then. Likewise the def. atty. Albert Perez.

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  3. Lance says:

    Good recap. Thanks. Finley didn’t actually take the stand in court. Instead, a tape recorded interview he gave to police was played. It was pretty revealing! To me, there’s no doubt that Vandenburg spiked the drink. He’s a creep. The whole family is creepy. And Vandenburg’s “character” witnesses were so damn lame! Do they actually think he is the true victim in all this? Pathetic. But in the end, he was given 17 years, which is only 2 more than the minimum sentence. At least the creep will have to serve 85% of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole.

    Bonnie, do you know how much time Vandenburg has already served?

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    • Thanks. So Mikes Finely took a stand, not the stand. Explains a lot. (I got online late and was juggling writing, calls and tweeting. Was annoyed the camera never turned to him.) I did notice how Finley’s voice was so relaxed. I guess there’s something about coming clean, (immunity) that does that.

      Funny you ask about the amount of time served. I don’t know. Was trying to sort that out too, as at one point, I think Brandon’s bail was revoked for new and separate reasons…and couldn’t figure out how to separate the charges to calculate.

      Also, and by the way, the column I wrote about Brandon’s friends reactions way back when the first trial ended….drew the most comments from his friends. In no time at all they proved themselves to be almost as stupid and majorly, self-absorbed as Brandon is. Talk about a loser crew.

      Through it all, I remember the only person who saw through Brandon, was his coach at Xavier Prep. Brandon hadn’t done anything wrong…but the coach benched him for a big part of the season – simply for his “attitude.”

      One adult, who knew the whole family well, called me. Blamed Rod, the father, for everything. Although Rod pretty much creeped out everyone…in my mind, the Mother, remains exceptionally dim, and ultimately, destructive.

      By the way, they’re all Right-wing Republicans.

      Being 6’6″ Brandon will do alright in prison. The mask will snap back on.

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      • Deb says:

        The Miles Finley taped recording played at the sentencing was dated November 2013. From remarks during the hearing, it seemed the interview was one of several from the investigation period.

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      • Thanks Deb. Thanks to I updated my post with that information…as well as Brandon’s Sex Offender Registration. The one Cory, skipped.

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      • Lance says:

        From what I gather, Vandenburg was in custody for about 5 months after the first guilty verdict in January 2015, then released when a mistrial was declared. This year, after the second guilty verdict, Vandenburg has been in custody since June 20th. So I estimate 9 to 10 months already served. But it could be more if, as you mentioned, his bail was revoked at one point for new and separate reasons.

        Also, some reports say Vandenburg must serve his full sentence, with no reduction (except for time already served). But others say he could be released after 85% of the sentence. Would you have a clarification on this? The media always seems to be conflicted. lol

        I’ll read your column about Vandenburg’s friends! God, I couldn’t stomach those two women giving their “Brandon is a puppy dog” testimonies at the sentencing hearing. So much denial. So much delusion. Pathetic. I’m glad the prosecution drilled & grilled them.

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      • Me too! Am researching exactly how much time Vandenberg has served, and has left.
        I urge anyone to complain to the California State Bar regarding the conduct of Perez.
        Especially Miles Finley. But frankly, don’t have much faith by way of “follow through,” towards him.

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      • Lance says:

        Judge unseals character letters written in Vandenburg’s defense:
        http://wkrn.com/2017/01/05/judge-unseals-character-letters-written-in-vandenbergs-defense/

        Brandon’s mom wrote: “What I can say is that Brandon had zero intention of any harm coming to this young woman. He is guilty of not intervening and that was and is a terrible immoral decision,”

        Wow. Momma blocked out all the horrid details of her son’s behavior, and just focused on the lame fact that he didn’t “actually” assault the victim. Never mind that he was the ringleader in all this, and was trying to get an erection but failed. And what about his atrocious coverup attempts afterwards? The delusion is beyond ridiculous.

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      • Wow is right. Thanks for the update! You’re been invaluable, and Inappreciate you very much.😃

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      • Lance says:

        Aw shucks, thanks Bonnie. Glad to help. At least Tennessee has a 15 year minimum sentence barrier. If there wasn’t this minimum, we might have seen extremely light punishments for Brandon and Cory. And I’m now thinking that these two goons will have to serve 100% of their sentence. There will be no 85% deal. What do you think?

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      • Not thinking about Brandon or his buddy rapists too much today. But will circle back after the Predator-Elect is sworn in. (Am leaving…will be out of the office for a couple of hours.) but thanks again for the tip on the letters. You’ll be credited in my follow up piece.

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      • Lance says:

        Okie doke… and thanks!

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      • Lance says:

        Hi again Bonnie. I watched a TV show (20/20) on the Vanderbilt rape case, and I’m unclear as to when the victim passed out that night. According to 20/20, Vandenburg and the victim left the bar in the early morning, taking a cab to her condo. Her house key didn’t work, so they got into her car and he drove to his dorm. The dorm surveillance footage shows Vandenburg carrying her out of the car. She was completely unconscious at that time. Was it determined in court that she passed out on the way to his dorm? Did the cab driver who picked them up from the bar testify? Previously, I had suspected that Vandenburg drugged her at the bar (blue drink). However, if she was fully conscious and coherent at the condo, maybe he drugged her on the way to his dorm. Would you have any insight on this? Thanks.

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      • This is just a guess, Lance, but I suspect Brandon spiked her drink at the bar, and then suggested they clear out.
        However, it doesn’t work as fast as on TV or at the movies, and I believe she was out like the proverbial light, once Brandon got her car keys.
        Either way – she was gone by the time he rolled up to the dorm. Am not sure how long it took from her place, to his. I was thinking not more than 10 minutes,
        but don’t quote me. 😉

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      • Lance says:

        That sounds very possible, Bonnie. It would be interesting to hear from the cab driver who picked them up at the bar. According the victim’s testimony, she had 1 drink at home, and 3 drinks at the bar. Then Vandenburg handed her a blue drink. She remembers taking a few sips, but doesn’t remember finishing it. IMO, it’s unlikely that someone would pass out for several hours after 4 or 5 drinks. There had to be more to it. Vandenburg even assured his teammates (rape-mates) that she “would not wake up.” What a POS.

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      • People from the Southern California told me Rod used to send his friends pics of sex, during.
        I got the impression the women were not sober/conscious. So it’s not like Brandon was unfamiliar
        with the “how to” aspect….to judge timing.

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      • Lance says:

        Wow, classic case of like father, like son. Yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if Brandon had it clocked down. And I don’t think he was nearly as drunk as he wanted us to believe. It’s also odd that they couldn’t get into her condo. There’s lots of stuff that we’ll probably never know about. Of course, golden boy ain’t gonna explain if he doesn’t have to.

        I caught up with this Vanderbilt case late in the game, but it has really grabbed me. The last case that I followed was that of Stephanie Lazarus, the LAPD detective who killed a woman in 1986 (due to jealousy) but didn’t get arrested for it until 2009, thanks to DNA. Check the out the Youtube video of her interrogation by LAPD detectives (posted by SprocketCat). It will knock your socks off. She was sooo busted.

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      • When the Brandon Vandenberg case began, I immediately began shooting screen grabs of Brandon partying with his drunken friends. His friends were hated me. Wrote a column in sympathy for them, which, to a one: They did not understand. (These are not the cream of the crop in logic or reading comprehension.)
        Read their comments to this story. https://bonnierussell.wordpress.com/2015/01/29/brandon-vandenburgs-friends-react-to-the-vanderbilt-rape-case-verdict/

        I also followed the Stephanie Lazarus case. They set her up great. Neat trick getting her to stash her gun, prior to interviewing her. I particularly enjoyed that.
        However, as the police at http://www.bolingbrook.com/departments/police demonstrated, three wives had to die or disappear, before they decided maybe they ought to look at their Sgt.
        That would be, Drew Peterson. So there’s that.

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      • Lance says:

        Thanks. The whole “Vandenburg realm” is sickening. The makings of an atrocious reality TV show.

        Stephanie’s family were in denial, maybe still are. Her brother in particular. He really thought she got railroaded, and made Youtube videos about it.

        Drew Peterson is another interesting case. Didn’t much follow it though.

        Like

      • Lance says:

        I rewatched video of Vandenburg’s sentencing hearing speech, and noticed he had a pocket bible conveniently propped up in his chest pocket. Guess he wanted Watkins to see it for a “good church boy” effect. Also, Vandenburg wasn’t handcuffed as Batey was! Hmmm. Do you have any thoughts about that, Bonnie?

        Of course, Vandenburg’s speech for mercy was his typical BS. For example, he mentioned being an inexperienced drinker, but then said he had 40 drinks that day! I think 40 drinks would be enough to put even Paul Bunyan under. And, Vandenburg didn’t appear to be very drunk in the surveillance video! I very much doubt his judgement was “severely impaired.” So even now, Vandenburg is steeped in his own lies. I take him for a big ole awful clown.

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  4. newprude says:

    I knew there were drugs involved!!! Why is this not being brought to the forefront? There are still people victim blaming after all this. STILL!
    Brandon needs to stay in prison the rest of his life. He will always be a threat. He is not capable of coming to terms with his guilt because he can’t comprehend he’s done something wrong. That makes him extremely dangerous.

    Thank you Bonnie for all your hard work keeping us informed. I remember the abuse you took from some of Brandons friends after the first conviction. Where are they now hmmmmmm?

    Like

    • Thanks NewPrude….I always suspected drugs as the woman simply had zero memory. I agree Brandon will never allow himself to towards any thought process that includes taking responsibility. At sentencing he described it as “the incident” – which for me, was a brand new level of creepy. As for victim blamers; some people are destined to remain a product of ignorance. Tennessee ain’t that great. The DV group that did a march against Domestic Violence had as a sponsor, bar. Making everything slightly worse, the very same bar where the victim’s drink was likely spiked. At that point I tweeted to the DV non-profit that kind of cluelessness would get no dollars from me.

      Thanks for remembering how jerky Brandon’s idiot friends were. Brandon’s friends thought they were all so very cool. The reality being, they were and likely remain, a real piece of work.

      Like

  5. John Doe says:

    Stop the record, and play the Finley recording back again.

    So the defense said that, Brandon had never been away from home. Isn’t it interesting then, that the drug which spiked the drink came from… home?!?!

    People are saying that the mom should be arrested, but it’s the father who deserves to undergo questioning more. Sadly neglect is not a provable, punishable crime (to my limited legal knowledge); however Brandon’s facilitation of the rape was facilitated by the father’s supplying of the drug. Like father, like son.

    Having been in classes with Brandon and briefly on a sports team with him at Xavier, I can say right away 100% that I saw and still see through this whole charade. Regarding high school basketball, Brandon would brag on the courtyard about playing dirty – he called one move “the wiggler.” When someone would try to “box out” Brandon (basketball move, look it up), Brandon would insert his fingers in the opposing player’s anus from behind. This was routine. There are other things I know which I can not say publicly sadly, because it validates the privacy of other individuals who are not Brandon Vandenburg the publicly regarded convict. It’s not their fault they got looped in by him.

    This was a long road that culminated (or has it?) to the point of conviction, and along the journey Brandon learned the essence of feigning an apology (like a poor victim) just enough to get out of trouble, but not enough to be sincere, contrite, or apologetic. Continuing the habits, without getting punished. Hard drugs (besides cannabis), alcohol, sex, aggression, putting on a mask. Coach saw through that, several players saw through that, and I am surprised some of those very same teammates were the same to write letters and come out in newspapers to put their reputation on the line. Their call, their reputation. BUT note these actions are and were in an attempt to get Brandon off the hook with less to no prison time. That is a BIG DEAL. *Jaw dropping* Bonnie do you have video recording of the letters being read? I want to know who the names are that wrote these letters.

    Lastly, I am most surprised at Judge Monty Watkins confidence in the prison system at reforming a convict. What do you think about that Bonnie, et al.? Maybe things are different here, but as a California native and resident can tell you that prisons are an abysmal failure at rehabilitating and reforming criminals to reintegrate them into society. In fact there are studies that show prison is probably the worst way to deal with a criminal if you plan for them to re-enter society. Maybe Judge Monty should take a stroll through the prisons some days, and see what really takes place there.

    Bottom line: prison will not make Brandon a better person. If anything he will emerge emboldened, angrier, and a bigger threat to society at the age of 40. Brandon should have gotten the maximum sentence at least, and Judge Monty failed in his duty as a public servant. Final note, forget both major parties. They’re both corrupt, lying, and scandalous. Just like Brandon.

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    • Good info. will have to noodle around for the rest. But so far, ONLY the coach at Xavier saw Brandon For Who He Is. The letters were not read, but likely in the file. Which is public.

      As for the prison system – none are really about Rehabilitation. One place in Indiana allows inmates, garden, and cats….but that’s about it.

      As for the president – am hosting a Hillary Landslide party. 😂 So there’s that. Thanks for writing. Will check into the letters. Good catch.

      Like

    • Suzanne says:

      Just wanted to add off this since there’s a Xavier connection – who the heck is this Ms. Fix? I can assure you that there was no such teacher at that school. Most teachers there saw Brandon as exactly as described above – a real piece of work, a con artist and above all else, entitled to the point of despair.

      One point of correction, though–Xavier is not a boarding school and Brandon lived in the desert.

      Like

  6. Moms Hugs says:

    Bonnie, I have been holding off posting a comment to let his sentence filter through my legal mind. There is no doubt Brandon & his father are both sociopathic narcissist A-H’s. Also, no doubt Brandon will be somewhat glorified in prison until, that is, ALL of his stories about gross behaviors are told & retold for the prisoners’ entertainment. He is worth something just for those descriptions alone. He will love being the center of attention, of course, but eventually his notoriety will wear off. I assume, but have no first-hand knowledge, that he will be expected to participate in their drug biz.

    He won’t come out a better person, but maybe shrewder so he’s less likely to get caught ~ like the perp in SC, convicted for raping a 15 yr. old girl in AZ. After serving his sentence, he moved to SC, became a realtor, made enough to buy 95 acres where he chained a woman inside a container & killed her boyfriend. LEO are still uncovering more bodies & solving some cold cases. He should be Exhibit A for why prisons do not & cannot rehabilitate such psychopathic sociopaths.

    Now that creeps me out so I’d better take dog for walk & enjoy beautiful fall weather. Best to you!

    Like

    • Been following the South Carolina case and have ZERO idea why there was never a background check on Todd regarding his Pilot’s or Real Estate license. But then, I also remembered one of Trump’s former pilots was wanted on a felony assault charge, and officials claimed they couldn’t find the pilot. Of Trump’s plane. Whew!

      Like

  7. Moms Hugs says:

    You asked about background checks for real estate & pilots licenses. News reported that Todd was sentenced by a juvenile judge because he was 15 yrs old & confessed so no trial. Sentencing judge noted his history of behavior was so bad, even as a small child, that the usual 25 mo. of intense psychotherapy would be useless. So, apparently the juvie judge was keenly aware Todd was a young, but already full-fledged psychopath when he sentenced him to 14 years. I write all this to answer your question ~ unless he committed a capital crime & tried as an adult, his JUVENILE record would have been sealed & not available to background search. If he behaved while in prison, he may have had it expunged.

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