NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the decisions of a Williamson County court not to overturn two post-conviction petitions and dismiss a claim that a private investigator provided an affidavit that warranted in the seizure of DNA evidence of the man known as the Wooded Rapist.

Robert Jason Burdick, convicted on rape charges in Williamson and Davidson counties, appealed a lower court’s decision where he claimed he received “ineffective assistance of counsel due to counsel’s failure to challenge the trial court’s enhancement of his sentence” and failure to file a motion to “suppress the State’s warrantless attachment of a GPS tracking device to his vehicle.” Burdick also claimed that the coram nobis court erred in summarily dismissing his petition and that he is entitled to due process tolling of the statute.

Burdick appealed the sentencing related to five counts of the original Williamson County indictments on cases in November 1999 and November 2004 where he was convicted in separate trials and sentenced to 25 years and 30 years in prison.

Burdick claimed, “he was being unfairly punished because his charges had been severed, and ‘the court considered consecutive charges.’”

He claimed he didn’t see how the enhancement factor regarding prior criminal convictions or criminal behavior applied “since it was all under one indictment.” He did acknowledge that he had cases pending in Davidson County when he was sentenced on the Williamson County charges.

Burdick also claimed an affidavit from a private investigator “establishing that a detective falsely claimed that one of the rape victims had described her attacker to a TBI sketch artist, who created a sketch that resembled Burdick’s driver’s license photo and was used to obtain a search warrant that led to his wrongful conviction, Burdick’s filing claimed.

The court found the affidavit of the private investigator did not entitle Burdick to relief. The court determined the statements in the affidavit were heresay and did not provide evidence that “could lead to a different outcome.”

Read the opinion:

 
 

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