Court of Criminal Appeals to review ruling in case of ex-BU player

Sam Ukwuachu (left) and his attorney, William Bratton III of Dallas. (Photo by John Carroll/file)
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Wednesday agreed to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling overturning the sexual assault conviction of former Baylor football player Sam Ukwuachu.

The review was granted without comment.

In August 2015, the one-time All-American who transferred to Baylor, but never played for the school, was found guilty of raping an 18-year-old female athlete in October 2013.

He could have been sentenced to as much as 20 years in prison, but jurors decided on probation and ultimately State District Judge Matt Johnson sentenced Ukwuachu to 10 years on probation, 180 days in county jail and ordered him to perform 400 hours of community service.

Ukwuachu was released from jail on a $100,000 appeal bond on Oct. 29, 2015.

On March 23, the Waco-based 10th Court of Appeals reversed the conviction based upon evidence presented during arguments before the appeals panel that brought question to some evidence that was presented in trial.

McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna said he would ask the criminal appeals court to review the ruling.

Appeals lawyers for Ukwuachu argued that evidence from cellular telephone records pertaining to certain times that phones were used proved that the prosecution’s assertion that the times recorded on the cell phones supported their case against Ukwuachu.

Prosecutors said the phone records proved that a witness for the defendant lied in his testimony because the data showed that the witness could not have been at Ukwuachu’s apartment at the time of the incident and could not have witnessed the interaction between Ukwuachu and his accuser.

But in the appeal lawyers argued that times posted by prosecutors were local times and the times included in the data actually were six hours earlier than the local time.