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Appeals court overturns Sam Ukwuachu’s Rape Conviction

The sexual assault conviction that started the years-long sexual assault scandal at Baylor has been overturned by an appeals court.



Getty Images - David Eulitt

Are we still a football blog? It seems like these days, thanks to a certain school, we spend more time covering sexual assault allegations than anything else. And it all started a couple of years ago when, now former, Baylor football player Sam Ukwuachu was convicted of rape. The conviction was particularly shocking considering no one was even aware he was on trial for rape, and despite being dismissed from the football team, he had been attending classes at Baylor up until that point.

It’s the case that had many across the nation wondering just what was going on in Waco and what exactly did the school know? Many questioned coach Art Briles decision to bring Ukwuachu into the program after it was revealed that he was involved in a domestic dispute incident while at Boise State.

It’s the case that started it all.

However, that case was just overturned. It is being reported that an appeals court overturned the conviction and has sent the case back for retrial.

“In six issues, Ukwuachu complains that the trial court erred by allowing the State to reference the cell phone records of his roommate during its cross-examination of his roommate and his roommate’s friend, that the indictment was defective, that evidence of an extraneous offense was improperly admitted, that his due process rights were violated due to an abuse of the grand jury process by the State, and that text messages between the victim and a friend of hers the night of the alleged offense were improperly excluded,” the ruling said.

“Because we find that the trial court erred by disallowing the admission of evidence … we reverse the judgment of conviction and remand this proceeding for a new trial.”

Basically it comes down to the testimony of Sam Ukwuachu’s roommate, and some cell phone data. Ukwuachu’s roommate testified in Sam’s defense, but the prosecution argued that he could not have witnessed the incident, because data on his cell phone showed that he couldn’t have been there. However, Ukwuachu’s attorney successfully argued in appeals court that the cell phone data was misinterpreted. Times shown on the report were not local. They were six hours earlier.

Originally Ukwuachu faced up to 20 years in prison, but he was sentenced to just 180 days in county jail, 10 years of felony probation and 400 hours of community service, but now he will face a retrial. Neither the District Attorney nor Ukwuachu’s attorney have made a statement as of yet, so it is unclear if and when that may happen.

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