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Burdicks next court appearance moved to January

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By BEN DUDLEYThe Wilson Post

Wilson County will have to wait until next year for its chance at trying the alleged “Wooded Rapist.”

A motions hearing was held in the case against suspect Robert Jason Burdick on Monday in Wilson County Criminal Court Judge David Durham’s courtroom. Burdick was not present for the hearing, remaining in jail in Davidson County.

Burdick, 39, of Nashville, is accused of committing at least 13 acts of rape in 14 years across three counties – including a then 16-year-old Wilson County girl in February 2008. The other sexual assaults occurred in Davidson and Williamson Counties and the case was featured a few years ago on the "America’s Most Wanted" television show.

Burdick was arrested on May 1, 2008, as he traveled east on I-24 in Rutherford County. That county’s Interstate Interdiction Unit made the stop at the request of Metro and Brentwood police detectives who learned from officials at the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab shortly after 9 a.m. that Burdick’s DNA matched biological samples recovered from many of the crime scenes. He was turned over to investigators from Metro, Brentwood, Wilson County and the TBI.

Burdick’s next court appearance is set for Jan. 11, 2010 at which time a trial date will be set. He has been convicted twice already and is awaiting sentencing in his most recent trial. Burdick is to appear in court in Williamson County in February 2010 and in Davidson County in March.

The suspect was dubbed the “Wooded Rapist” by authorities as the attacks occurred late at night or in the early morning hours at homes in or near wooded areas when it rained or was raining.

Local authorities believe the then 16-year-old female who was raped in Wilson County in February ’08 was the suspect’s final victim before his apprehension.

Staff Writer Ben Dudley may be contacted at ben@wilsonpost.com.

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