Vanderbilt Rape Trial Jurors Say Video Evidence Decided Their Guilty Verdict

Three jurors said they broke down after seeing "horrific" video.

ByABC News
January 30, 2015, 8:04 AM

— -- Three jurors from the Vanderbilt University rape trial said the evidence that played the biggest role in deciding a guilty verdict was video that prosecutors claimed proved four former Vanderbilt football players sexually assaulted a female classmate.

"As soon as we saw the videos and photographic evidence ... we knew exactly who was guilty of what and what we were going to come back with," said juror Todd Easter. "What we knew is that a terrible crime had occurred."

The jury took just three hours Tuesday to decide Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey were each guilty of four counts of aggravated rape, one count of attempted aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery. Vandenburg was also found guilty of tampering with evidence and unlawful photography after prosecutors claimed he recorded the sexual assault on his phone, shared it with friends and then tried to cover it up.

Three jurors from the trial sat down with ABC News' "20/20" for an interview the day after the verdict to talk about the case.

"We are absolutely confident in that we made the right decision for every count," said Easter, who was the juror tasked with reading the verdict for the court.

The graphic sexual assault case played out in a Nashville courtroom over 12 days, as prosecutors presented surveillance video they said showed Vandenburg carrying the victim into his dorm, accompanied by Batey and two other former players, Brandon Banks and Jaborian McKenzie. Jurors also had to watch cell phone video that prosecutors claimed Vandenburg recorded as the sexual assault went on in his dorm room.

Prosecutors said the victim, a 21-year-old former neuroscience major and dance team member at the university, was drunk and passed out when the 2013 incident occurred.

Juror Dr. Corbi Milligan told "20/20" that she was "horrified and utterly disgusted" when she watched the footage.

"I do hold [Vandenburg] criminally responsible for what occurred to [the victim] in that room," Milligan said. "It was horrific. ... She was horribly victimized, and as difficult as it was for us to have to render that verdict, it was justice, and it had to be done."

Another juror, Dr. Deirde Young, said the footage made her feel "awful."

"I asked myself, 'how could they do this to that young lady?'" Young added. "There can't be enough explanation to me. I don't know, I think they need to do some real soul searching. I've never experienced anything like these young men."

The defense argued the young men were not guilty of rape, but rather of making a mistake. Batey's lawyer, Worrick Robinson, claimed that college culture put his client in the situation, but the jurors said they weren't buying that argument.

"It's not a defense against a crime, and I think that's the core thing," Milligan said. "Several people, men and women, were seen on the surveillance camera and saw the victim in this state, and no one stopped to think, 'Is she going to be OK?'"

When the jury was dismissed for deliberations, Young said they all broke down in the jury room.

"Maintaining our composure -- it was difficult for all of us," Young said. "I tell you that composure crumbled when the doors closed."

Two other ex-players accused of being involved in the incident, Brandon Banks and Jaborian McKenzie, also face rape and sexual battery charges, but have not yet gone to trial. They have pleaded not guilty.