State Supreme Court Upholds Conviction Of ‘Wooded Rapist’

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

In a case of first impression in this state, Chief Justice Gary R. Wade wrote on behalf of a unanimous Court that the State can prosecute an unknown suspect by issuing a “John Doe” warrant that lists the suspect’s unique DNA profile.

In 1994, a Nashville woman was attacked in her home but was able to bite off a piece of skin from the finger of her assailant. A “John Doe” warrant was filed in 2000, which was two years prior to the statutory deadline for prosecuting the offense.

In 2008, the police discovered that a partial fingerprint taken from the skin appeared to match a print provided by Robert Jason Burdick. A cheek swab of Burdick and further testing established a DNA match with that of the skin.

Burdick, also known as the “Wooded Rapist,” was convicted of attempted aggravated rape and sentenced to ten years in prison. He appealed, arguing that the State was too late in prosecuting him because the “John Doe” warrant did not identify him by name and did not put him on notice of the pending charge. The Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed the conviction and sentence, holding that a criminal prosecution is properly and timely commenced if, within the statute of limitations, a warrant is issued identifying the defendant by gender and his or her unique DNA profile.

To read the State of Tennessee v. Robert Jason Burdick opinion authored by Chief Justice Gary R. Wade, visit tncourts.gov .


Patrick, Beard, Schulman And Jacoway, P.C. Attorneys Selected To 2016 Mid-South Super Lawyers List

Patrick, Beard, Schulman and Jacoway, P.C. announces that Richard A. Schulman, Michael A. Anderson, and Jeremy M. Cothern have been selected by their peers for inclusion in the Mid-South Super Lawyers for 2016. Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in the states of Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive ... (click for more)

Hamilton County Emergency Communications District Implements Inform CAD, Mobile System

Hamilton County Emergency Communications District has gone live with Inform CAD and Mobile, a step in an upgrade of their emergency communications and response technology. Combining the new technologies in place at Hamilton County which include TriTech 911, which Hamilton County installed in 2014, Inform CAD, and Inform Mobile, provides the district with a modernized communications ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Council Looking Into Taking Over Schools

A new group of Signal Mountain Town Council members is looking into taking over county schools within the town boundaries.   Two newly elected board members, Amy Speek and Dan Landrum, joined the council Friday afternoon at the first work session after the election. The election of mayor and vice mayor for the next two years came first on the agenda. Dick Gee, mayor ... (click for more)

East Ridge Meth Dealer Gets 168 Months In Federal Prison

A man that agents said was dealing large quantities of meth from his East Ridge residence has been sentenced to serve 168 months in federal prison. Kenneth Lemons appeared before Judge Curtis Collier. Agents said they made several controlled drugs buys from Lemons at his residence in 2015. On Oct. 27, 2015, he drove up to a residence where DEA agents were making a controlled ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Couldn't Manage Public Education

I have been reading the buzz about Signal Mountain and other small municipalities considering a move to form their own school district within their municipal boundaries.  It is quite the comedy hour considering the notion that small cities that for decades could not even manage small sewer systems or 911 districts, are somehow going to do a better job with public education ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Among The Worst In U.S.

Bobby Bragan, who was the first manager of Major League Baseball’s Braves when they moved from Milwaukee to Atlanta, had a great view on statistics: “Say you were standing with one foot in the oven and one foot in an ice bucket. According to the percentage people, you should be perfectly comfortable.” I am about to make you uncomfortable with some lousy statistics. Earlier this ... (click for more)