Wooded Rapist gets 32 years for first conviction

Wednesday, July 1, 2009 at 12:51pm
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Robert Jason Burdick will serve at least 32 years in prison for his rape conviction. Matthew Williams for The City Paper

The man investigators believe to be the serial Wooded Rapist received a 32-year sentence Wednesday morning from Criminal Court Judge Seth Norman.

Robert Jason Burdick will serve 100 percent of the sentence for two counts of aggravated rape of 61-year-old woman inside her Donelson-area home in 2007.

“I fail to understand how a person could be sexually assaulted, or raped, and not suffer mental difficulties for a while,” Norman said, before explaining his decision to apply consecutive 16-year sentences for both of the rape charges.

Burdick is accused of other rapes in Williamson and Wilson counties and next heads to trial in August for one of those cases. His defense attorney, John Herbison, promised to appeal both the original guilty verdicts and Norman’s sentencing.

During the sentencing hearing, Burdick’s victim testified how her life has changed since the crime took place.

“If I hear a creak in the house, it makes me wonder if somebody is creeping across the floor,” the victim said, adding that she chose to come forward to ensure her assailant would not claim any other victims.

Assistant Attorney General Roger Moore requested the near-maximum sentence for Burdick, which would have been 53 years – 25 years for each rape count and three years for an aggravated burglary count.

“This was methodical, planned out,” Moore said. “He brought the tools of the trade to commit this dastardly crime.”

Burdick brought duct tape, condoms and a ski mask with him when he broke into the victim’s home. After the assault, he forced her into the shower to wash away any evidence. But the victim, whose name The City Paper is choosing not to publish, was able to preserve some DNA evidence, which ultimately led to Burdick’s conviction.

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Tagged: crime | wooded rapist