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Sexual assault conviction reinstated by high court for former Baylor football player

The back-and-forth decisions in the Sam Ukwuachu case continued, with a second reversal in as many years.
Credit: KCEN

WACO, Texas — The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed an appellate court's decision and reinstated the sexual assault conviction in the highly-publicized case of former Baylor football player Sam Ukwuachu.

At issue was whether or not the state introduced false testimony through cell phone records.  In 2019, the argument lead the 10th Court of Appeals to reverse Ukwuachu's conviction and open the door for a new trial.

However, in the ruling, judges for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals unanimously agreed that, "the court of appeals reversed Appellant’s conviction for sexual assault by concluding that the State improperly used cell-phone call and location records to impeach two defense witnesses, thereby resulting in the introduction of false evidence in violation of his due process rights. Yet, the phone records at issue were never admitted into evidence nor made part of the record." 

The opinion continued to state that Ukwuachu's defense team failed to prove that the State elicited testimony from witnesses that were at odds with those records.

The opinion concluded by stating, "We, therefore, reverse the judgment of the court of appeals granting Appellant a new trial, and we remand this case for consideration of Appellant’s remaining issues on appeal."

Ukwuachu's accuser, who was a freshman at Baylor, claimed he raped her at his apartment in 2013. Ukwuachu claimed the sex was consensual.

Ukwuachu transferred to Baylor after being dismissed by Boise State in 2013.

Ukwuachu earned freshman All-American honors in 2012 after recording 35 tackles, seven tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.

After his transfer to Baylor he only took part in conditioning drills in 2014 but never practiced or played in a game.

Ukwuachu's arrest was part of the Baylor sexual assault scandal that involved multiple cases and multiple football players which ended in the dismissal of Head Coach Art Briles and University President Ken Starr.


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