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Mendenhall, Burdick summer trials set

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Bruce Mendenhall Robert Jason Burdick By JENNIFER HORTONThe Wilson PostTwo men charged in two separate crimes in Wilson County and set to go to trial in the next few weeks here were convicted this past week in other cases in Nashville.Bruce Mendenhall, a truck driver from Albion, Ill., was found guilty by a jury in the murder of Sarah Hulbert on June 25, 2007. He was sentenced to life in prison.Hulbert was a prostitute from Cheatham County who reportedly was in Nashville to buy drugs. Her body was discovered at a truck stop in Nashville.Mendenhall is charged in the murder of Symantha Winters in June 2007. She was shot to death, and her body was found in a trash can by a maintenance worker at a Lebanon truck stop.He was arrested in July 2007 by Metro Nashville Police.Mendenhall has also been charged with the deaths of women in Birmingham, Ala. and Indianapolis, Ind. He was convicted in February of attempting to hire another inmate to kill some witnesses in the murder trial in Nashville.Mendenhall is set to go to trial on June 21 in Lebanon for the murder of Winter.In another case, Robert Jason Burdick, dubbed by authorities as the “Wooded Rapist,” was sentenced to 20 years in an assault on a South Nashville woman and her mother in 2000.Burdick has been charged in 15 rapes committed since 1994 in Williamson, Davidson and Wilson Counties. He was arrested by Brentwood Police in May 2008. He is suspected of sexually assaulting a then 16-year-old girl in the driveway of her Wilson County home in February 2008. Authorities believe the girl was Burdick’s final victim.Authorities dubbed the suspect the Wooded Rapist because he attacked his victims often in their homes that were located in wooded areas late at night or in the early morning hours often as it was raining or after it rained.In the case in which he was convicted and sentenced most recently, authorities said Burdick produced a weapon and held a woman and her mother at the daughter’s home in South Nashville. The mother was told by Burdick to go into another room of the house to watch her daughter’s children. He then raped the woman’s daughter.The 20-year sentence handed down in this case is in addition to the 42 years he is already serving after being convicted in three cases already in Nashville. He was sentenced in 2009 to 10 years for the attempted rape of another Nashville woman.His next trial is to be held in Franklin on charges from a rape he allegedly committed in 1999 in Brentwood. His next trial in Nashville is set for October.Burdick is set to go to trial for the Wilson County rape on July 19.Editor Jennifer Horton may be contacted at news@wilsonpost.com.
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