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Baylor football player to be retried after appeals court reverses rape conviction

Posted: 10:34 AM, Jul 11, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-11 21:22:56-04
Samuel Ukwuachu

An appeals court has reversed the rape conviction of a former Baylor football player.

Samuel Ukwuachu appealed his conviction for sexually assaulting a female freshman soccer player in 2013. He presented six issues to the state.

In 2013, he was sentenced to 10 years for the offense. The 54th District Judge Matt Johnson also sentenced Samuel Ukwuachu to jail for six months and will require him to complete 400 hours of community service.

According to the appeal, Ukwuachu had six issues.

  • His due process rights were violated due to the presentation of a false testimony relating to cell phone records of his roommate during the state's cross-examination of his roommate's friend
  • His due process rights were violated due to the presentation of a false testimony relating to cell phone records of his roommate during the state's cross-examination of his roommate
  • The indictment was defective
  • Evidence of an extraneous offense was improperly admitted
  • His due process rights were violated due to an abuse of the grand jury process by the state
  • Text messages between the victim and a friend of hers the night of he alleged offense were improperly excluded

Ukwuachu complains that he indictment against him is facially insufficient for failing to allege the manner and means in which the lack of contest was obtained. The appeal said if the state fails to allege an element of an offense in an indictment or information, then it is a defect.

In his first and second issues, he believes his Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments were violated. The complaint is that false testimony was created by the state of his roommate's phone records. He says they were excluded from evidence.

On the second day of trial, the phone records were used by the state. Ukwuachu says he and his attorney had no knowledge of the records until they were brought to the trial by the state.

At the motion of a new trial hearing, he Ukwuachu provided an affidavit by an expert in computer forensics who agreed that it was impossible to accurately verify a location from the phone records without reviewing with an expert. Ukwuachu complains the state referenced the time and location from the records.

The complaint says there was reasonable likelihood that the false impression affected the judgment of the jury. Ukwuachu then demanded a retrial.

The judge of the 10th Court of Appeals did reserve the conviction.

Here is the conclusion from the judge:

Having found that the use of the cell phone records constituted a due process violation, we reverse the judgment of conviction and remand this proceeding for a new trial.

The McLennan County Criminal District Attorney’s Office issued this statement regarding the decision:

The District Attorney’s office strongly disagrees with the decision by the 10th Court of Appeals reversing the Ukwuachu judgment of conviction. Our office adamantly disputes any inference by the 10th Court of Appeals that the use of certain cell phone records during the trial created a false impression with the jury. The evidence was correctly and properly used during trial. The decision will be appealed, and our office is confident that the decision of the 10th Court of Appeals will be reversed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.