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Wooded Rapist trial date set

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BY CHELSEA BURNETTThe Wilson PostA trial date of March 28-30, 2011 has been set for a man accused in the kidnapping and rape of then 16-year-old Wilson County girl in February 2008.Criminal Court Judge David Durham set the trial date during a hearing on Monday.The suspect, Robert Jason Burdick, nicknamed the “Wooded Rapist” by authorities, is charged with aggravated kidnapping and rape in the Wilson County case.During the hearing, Durham told the court that he had received a motion to withdraw from the case from Burdick’s attorney, John Herbison, who represented him during his previous trials in Davidson and Williamson Counties.The judge asked Burdick if he had any funds left to maintain private representation, and Burdick replied that he did not. Burdick said his lack of funds were due to his incarceration. Durham then appointed the 15th Judicial District Public Defender’s office to represent Burdick. In addition to setting the trial date, Durham also said Jan. 10, 2011 would be the final day for motions.The Public Defender expressed concern about representing Burdick with a trial date now set, but Durham noted, “It’s time to get it tried here now. I know the Public Defender’s office will do a fine job.” Durham added he gave both parties ample time to gather and secure evidence, file motions and talk to witnesses.Burdick has been accused of sexually assaulting more than a dozen women in Williamson, Davidson and Wilson Counties since 1994. Burdick was sentenced to 50 years in prison in a Williamson County courtroom recently for the 1998 rape of a Brentwood teenager. He was also ordered to pay $100,000 in fines. He was convicted in May of the rape of the Brentwood girl who was 16 at the time.Burdick is currently serving 62 years in prison for three other rape convictions in Davidson County.Burdick, called the “Wooded Rapist” by authorities who believe that he committed his crimes in wooded neighborhoods late at night or early in the morning often after it rained, still faces additional rape charges. He has been accused of 13 rapes in total since 1994.  Staff Writer Chelsea Burnett may be contacted at chelsea@wilsonpost.com.
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