Former Baylor football player gets new trial after sexual assaul - KXXV Central Texas News Now

Former Baylor football player gets new trial after sexual assault conviction overturned

(Source: McLennan County Jail) (Source: McLennan County Jail)
(Source: KXXV) (Source: KXXV)

Former Baylor football player Sam Ukwuachu will get a new trial after the 10th Court of Appeals overturned his sexual assault conviction.

After a review by a three-judge panel, it was determined that the exclusion of a series of text messages between the victim and her friend right before the alleged assault affected the outcome of his trial.

Ukwuachu said in his appeal that the inclusion of these text messages would support his claim that the sex was consensual.

Wednesday night’s ruling said that because the woman’s consent was the central issue for the jury, the judges felt that they could not say "that we have a fair assurance that the erroneous exclusion of the text messages" did not affect the jury's decision.

The ruling said that the text messages start when the victim was letting her friend know that she and Ukwuachu were not coming to a homecoming party.

The messages continued until the victim was at Ukwuachu’s apartment.

The ruling said that there was a short break in the messages during the time the victim said that the assault occurred and the text messages resumed almost immediately after.

The text message immediately after was introduced during her testimony where she told her friend that Ukwuachu raped her.

Ukwuachu stated six issues in his appeal, but the judges did not rule on those other aspects.

The victim’s attorney told ESPN, “We're very disappointed to hear the news, mostly because our client has been through so much as it is, but she'll continue to cooperate with whatever the authorities need from her going forward.”

The district attorney's office released this statement:

After reading the opinion of the 10th Court of Appeals and the 54th District Court record in this case, I have decided to request the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals review this matter further. We will continue the fight on behalf of our victim and her family. While I respect the 10th Court of Appeals, I disagree with their decision and reasoning in this case.  I am extremely confident in the decisions made by our prosecutors and the rulings made by Judge Johnson in the trial of this case. 

Ukwuachu was convicted of sexual assault in 2015.

Ukwuachu's attorney, William Bratton III, released a statement: 

We are pleased the Court of Appeals reached the decision this morning. My review of the court record showed there was evidence that did not go before the jury that we felt should have been allowed. Specifically the text messages the court referred to in its opinion. I believe the outcome of this trial may have been different if that evidence had gone before the jury.

An initial Baylor Title IX investigation cleared Ukwuachu, but he was ineligible to play for Baylor in 2013 because of transfer rules and was suspended in 2014.

Baylor never gave a reason for that suspension.

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