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 .


Kid To Kid Chattanooga Awarded Store Of The Month For August

Kid to Kid in Chattanooga, owned by mother and son, Lyn and Justin Shepherd, has been awarded Store of the Month for August. Through this award, the Kid to Kid franchise recognizes achievement exhibited by one of its more than 100 children’s resale locations across the United States, Canada and Portugal. As one of three Kid to Kid stores in Tennessee, Kid to Kid Chattanooga ... (click for more)

16 Young Professionals Selected For YPAC’s Protégé Chattanooga 2016-2017 Class

The Young Professionals Association of Chattanooga (YPAC) announced the individuals selected for its 2016-2017 Protégé Chattanooga mentorship program.  This year’s class includes: Joseph Cadle , Business Development Consultant, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Amy Donahue , Director of Marketing and Communications, River City ... (click for more)

City May Donate 2 Surplus Patrol Cars To Kevin Muhammad's Nation Of Islam

The city is planning to donate two surplus patrol cars to the Nation of Islam "for its use in community patrols." City officials said the value of the cars is less than $2,000 each. The resolution authorizing the move by the police chief, Fred Fletcher, comes before the City Council on Oct. 4. Rev. Kevin Muhammad, local Nation of Islam leader, recently said the group was ... (click for more)

Woodbury, Tn., Man Charged With Murdering His Brother

An investigation by Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has resulted in the arrest of a Cannon County man for the murder of his brother.                                 ... (click for more)

Patrol Cars Donation To Kevin Muhammad's Nation Of Islam Sets A Dangerous Precedent

Re: City Police donating two patrol cars to Kevin Muhammad's Nation of Islam: While I know it's unpopular to mention the wisdom of separation of church and state, this sets a dangerous precedent and should meet with concern from everyone who values religious and secular freedom. What's next? Southern Baptists getting old city parking scooters to patrol church parking lots ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Thanks A Lot For Nothing

Somebody should have gotten an award last Tuesday when a 90-minute “education summit” involving our school leaders, politicians and media produced absolutely nothing. Zilch. Zero. Oh, there are a number of candidates we could give an award for “nothing,” both in our school district and on its fringes. Yet to find Tennessee Commissioner of Education Candice McQueen brought her high-and-mighty ... (click for more)