Three months before he is set to stand trial on a sexual assault charge, former Baylor University football player Shawn Oakman finds himself without a lawyer.
Waco attorneys Russ Hunt and Michelle Tuegel filed a motion Friday to withdraw from the case and asked 19th State District Judge Ralph Strother to seal the motion.
Hunt and Tuegel declined to discuss the reason for the motion Wednesday, but Strother said the attorneys withdrew from the case because Oakman has not paid them.
Oakman, contacted by phone Wednesday, said he is unsure about the state of his legal representation and declined additional comment.
Strother said he likely will set a hearing in Oakman’s case to discuss whether he will hire another lawyer or rely on the court to appoint him one at county expense. He is set for trial Aug. 22, but court officials said his trial likely will be postponed.
Seals the motion
Strother said he agreed to seal the motion at Tuegel’s request, citing the publicity the case has generated so far.
The judge said it is not uncommon for attorneys to withdraw from cases in which defendants have not paid them.
Oakman, who remains free on $50,000 bail, was last in court in January. He was indicted in July on one count of sexually assaulting a Baylor graduate student at Oakman’s James Avenue duplex in April 2016.
Oakman told police detectives he had consensual sex with the woman. Tuegel has said Oakman and the woman had “numerous consensual sexual encounters that occurred over a period of time before the alleged incident on April 3.”
Waco police searched Oakman’s residence April 3, 2016, looking for evidence to support the woman’s claims that Oakman sexually assaulted her between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. that day. Police also executed search warrants for his DNA and his cellphone.
A police affidavit for the search warrant said police were looking for clothing the woman left behind at Oakman’s duplex, as well as earrings, blood, semen, bodily fluids, hair, skin cells, DNA, bedsheets and other items.
Search for evidence
Court documents indicate officers seized two comforters, a fitted sheet and a flat sheet from Oakman’s bedroom.
Oakman was dismissed from his first university, Pennsylvania State University, in 2012 for shoplifting and an unspecified violation of team rules. He had gone to high school in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania.
Former Baylor head football coach Art Briles brought Oakman on as a transfer student, but Briles suspended Oakman for the team’s season opener against Southern Methodist University for unspecified rules violations.
Other Baylor players
Two other former Baylor defensive ends — Tevin Elliott and Sam Ukwuachu — were convicted on sexual assault charges in 2014 and 2015, respectively, stemming from incidents while they were connected with the team. Ukwuachu has since won a new trial after his case was overturned on appeal.