Vanderbilt rape case: Co-defendant testifies against Banks - WSMV News 4

Vanderbilt rape case: Co-defendant testifies against Brandon Banks in trial

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Brandon Banks listens to testimony from a Metro detective on Tuesday. (WSMV) Brandon Banks listens to testimony from a Metro detective on Tuesday. (WSMV)
MNPD Detective Chad Gish testifies about how he found the photos and videos of the assault. (WSMV) MNPD Detective Chad Gish testifies about how he found the photos and videos of the assault. (WSMV)
Jaborian McKenzie testifies against his former best friend. (WSMV) Jaborian McKenzie testifies against his former best friend. (WSMV)

Tuesday was the most graphic day of testimony in the trial for Brandon Banks, proving to be emotionally difficult for both jurors and the defense.

Banks is one of four former football players accused of raping an unconscious female student inside a dorm room in 2013. He is the third of his teammates to go to trial.

During the second day of the trial, jurors saw disturbing videos of the sexual assault that were filmed inside the dorm room.

Detective Chad Gish, who specializes in digital forensics for the Metro Nashville Police Department, told the jury how he found deleted images and videos on Brandon Vandenburg’s phone that were taken during the rape.

Investigators say they found a total of 41 videos and pictures between the four men's phones. More than 20 were reportedly recovered from Banks' cellphone. 

“When I started recovering images off of Vandenburg’s phone, I started recovering what appeared to me to be the incident,” Gish said.

Gish explained every detail of what was being done to the victim as she was lying unconscious on the floor of Vandenburg’s dorm room in Gillette Hall.

“That is also Banks’ phone in his right hand and appears to be taking one of those images,” he said.

At one point when a series of graphic pictures were shown, one juror put her head down and appeared to be closing her eyes, not looking at the large TV monitor where they were displayed.

Banks looked away from the screen as he listened to his former teammates on tape allegedly egging him on.

In one of the videos, the jury could hear what appeared to be the defendants laughing or cheering. The state is arguing the videos make it clear the men thought the violent assault was no big deal.

“Squeeze that s****. Squeeze that s***,” said one of the men in the video.

After all of that graphic testimony, Jaborian “Tip” McKenzie took the stand. McKenzie, who is out on bond, was roommates with Banks and considered them to be “best friends” back in 2013.

McKenzie gave a play-by-play about everything he could remember from that night.

“Vandenburg grabbed condoms out of his dresser and said, ‘We are going to [expletive] her,’” McKenzie said.

McKenzie became emotional when asked by the state to identify the men shown in the video of the assault.

"It's Brandon Vandenburg recording, laughing, egging it on … and  ... it’s Brandon Banks squeezing the bottle and Cory [Batey] attempting to have sex with her," said McKenzie, dramatically pausing mid-sentence.

During his testimony, McKenzie said he still considered Banks to be his friend. He mentioned a phone call that happened between the pair last month in which Banks allegedly asked him to make a trip to Houston so they could talk about a family matter. McKenzie said the phone call was odd, especially because Banks was offering to pay for his plane ticket.

McKenzie claims he did not go to Houston and did not talk with Banks again after that phone call, despite Banks’ attempts to reach him.

The defense isn't denying Banks was involved in the assault, but they're trying to prove that two of the other men - Vandenburg and Batey, who have already been convicted - pressured and bullied him into doing it.

“Are you a rapist?” asked defense attorney Mark Scruggs during his cross-examination of McKenzie.

“No, sir,” McKenzie responded.

Scruggs even implied Banks was perhaps intimidated into participating because of the size and the popularity of the other players.

"Banks’ appearance is somewhat feminine, would you agree with that?" Scruggs asked McKenzie.

When asked if he ever saw Banks being teased about his appearance, McKenzie said he never saw that happen.

The state asked McKenzie if Banks ever told him he had been threatened or intimidated by any of their teammates. McKenzie said that didn't happen either. 

McKenzie is the only defendant who has not been tried in the case. There’s no word on when that will happen. He is currently working on his master's degree at Alcorn State University in Mississippi.

On Tuesday, the state also called Special Agent Charly Castelbuono to the stand. She is the TBI official who analyzed the evidence from the case and examined the items for the defendants' DNA. During cross-examination, defense attorney Mark Scruggs asked the TBI agent if she found Banks' DNA on any of the items. She said she did not.

Mack Prioleau, Vandenburg's former roommate, also testified on Tuesday. He was in the room during the sexual assault and was lying in his bed in the top bunk when Vandenburg and three other men came in the room with the woman. When asked why he didn't step in to help the victim, Prioleau said he didn't know what to do.

The state only has four more witnesses to call. They expect to rest their case on Wednesday morning, which is when the defense will begin calling witnesses to the stand. The victim is expected to testify again.

The third day of the trial will resume at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Stay with Channel 4 and for updates from the courtroom.

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