WACO, Texas – Waco’s 10th Court of Appeals has ordered former Baylor football player receive a new trial.
Samuel Ukwuachu was convicted in 2015 of rape, and has tried to get his conviction thrown out several times before.
The court ruled to throughout that conviction Thursday based on the prosecution’s use of Ukwuachu’s rooommate’s phone records, calling it a due process violation.
A jury sentenced Ukwuachu to 180 days in jail plus ten years probation in 2015. He also had to register as a sex offender.
During the trial, Ukwuachu’s roommate testified he was at the apartment at the time the woman says Ukwuachu raped her.
The victim said she was screaming so loud that anyone in the apartment would have heard it, but the roommate says he didn’t hear anything.
The prosecution used phone records they say prove the roommate was not at the apartment at all.
But Ukwuachu’s attorney argued in June that the use of phone records was improper since they were not entered into evidence.
He also says the prosecution intimidated the witness by telling him before he testified that he could be arrested if the records proved he was lying.
The prosecution argued the phone records weren’t in evidence but they could still question the witness about them.
They also said the witness was not credible anyway because he previously lied to the police about that night by saying he was in bed asleep at midnight, but he testified he and a friend were up at the apartment until about 2:00 a.m.
The defense ultimately said the phone records gave the jury a false impression of the witness and his testimony.
The 10th Court of Appeals agreed with Ukwuachu’s attorneys and ordered the conviction vacated and a new trial be ordered. You can read the entire opinion below:
FOX44 News reached out to the McLennan County District Attorney’s office for comment. This is what they had to say:
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. “McLennan County District Attorney’s Office