Ex-Baylor Football Player’s Rape Conviction Reversed
For the second time in two years, the Waco-based 10th Court of Appeals has reversed the 2015 rape conviction of former Baylor football player Sam Ukwuachu.
Paul J. Gately and John Carroll with our partners at News 10 report that the court ruled false testimony surrounding cell phone records may have violated Ukwuachu's Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
During trial, the State argued that Ukwuachu's roommate was not home at the time of the October 2013 offense. They cited phone records that were logged in Coordinated Universal Time, which is five hours ahead of local time. It was that time difference that the court found suspect, ruling that the evidence as presented may have given the jury a false impression.
Assistant McLennan County District Attorney Thomas Needham told News 10 he's confidence the ruling will go before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and be reversed.
In 2015, Ukwuachu was sentenced to 180 days in county jail, 10 years probation, and 400 hours of community service. His case brought national attention to Baylor's athletics program and the school's handling of sexual assault allegations.
In March of 2017, the 10th Court reversed the conviction based on questions raised about evidence presented in court. The conviction was reinstated in June of 2018.
Ukwuachu's attorney says his client is "relieved and happy, but cautiously optimistic". He says there are more issues that the court did not address in its reversal.