A judge who declined Monday to set an appeal bond for former Baylor University football player Sam Ukwuachu as he challenges his sexual assault conviction reconsidered the decision and set a $100,000 appeal bond Tuesday.
Judge Matt Johnson of Waco’s 54th State District Court overruled Ukwuachu’s motion for a new trial Monday and also denied his attorney’s request to set a bond for the former defensive end while he is appealing his August conviction for sexually assulting a female Baylor athlete in 2013.
In an order filed Tuesday, Johnson said he denied the appeal bond Monday because of the nature of the offense. But, Johnson wrote, because the jury in the case gave Ukwuachu probation, the judge is required to set an appeal bond by a 2002 Court of Criminal Appeals opinion.
Ukwuachu’s attorney, William Bratton III, said Ukwuachu’s parents, who live in Katy and were at Monday’s hearing, likely won’t be able to afford to post a $100,000 bond.
Ukwuachu’s post-indictment bond was $30,000, and Bratton said he will seek a hearing at which he will ask the judge to set a “more reasonable” bond.
Bratton did not cite the Court of Criminal Appeals’ opinion Monday.
After the jury recommended probation after convicting Ukwuachu, Johnson sentenced him to 10 years’ probation and jailed him for 180 days as a term and condition of his probation. Those were the maximum sentences Johnson could hand down, given the jury’s recommendation.
As of Tuesday, Ukwuachu had been in jail for 68 days. If the 10th Court of Appeals affirms his conviction, Ukwuachu will be given credit for that time and will finish the remainder of his 180-day term.
If he posts bond, he can remain free pending appeal of his case.
Ukwuachu transferred to Baylor in 2013 after earning Freshman All-America honors at Boise State. He did not play in a game for Baylor.
Bratton said after Monday’s hearing that he planned to file a writ of habeas corpus with the 10th Court of Appeals that would have alleged that Ukwuachu is being improperly detained and would have asked the three-judge panel to set an appeal bond.
Johnson’s order makes that writ unnecessary.
Johnson ordered Ukwuachu to have no contact with the victim as a term of the appeal bond.
The woman, a former Baylor soccer player, testified that Ukwuachu sexually assaulted her at his off- campus apartment after a homecoming party in 2013. She now is playing soccer at another Texas university.
Ukwuachu denied the allegations, saying they had consensual sex.
Baylor administrators investigated the allegations, deciding there was not enough evidence “to move forward” with the case against Ukwuachu.
Likewise, Waco police conducted an investigation but did not arrest Ukwuachu. Police forwarded the case to the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office, which secured an indictment against Ukwuachu.