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Travis County DA files motion to dismiss felony domestic violence charge against former Texas HC Chris Beard

“After a careful and thorough review of the evidence, recent public statements, and considering Ms. Trew’s wishes, our office has determined that the felony offense cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”

NCAA Basketball: Gonzaga at Texas Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Travis County district attorney Jose Garza’s office announced on Wednesday a motion filed to dismiss the felony domestic violence charge against former Texas Longhorns head coach Chris Beard.

The office determined that after reviewing evidence, including a December statement made by Randi Trew, and her wishes to have the charge dismissed, that Garza believed the office could not prove Beard’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

“Our office takes all domestic abuse cases seriously to ensure justice for the victims,” Garza said. “In every case, we are obligated to evaluate the facts and evidence and do our best to reach an outcome that will keep the victim and our community safe.”

In December, Trew released a statement through her attorney disputing aspects of the account she gave police officers that led to Beard’s arrest and a third-degree felony charge for assault by strangulation/suffocation — family violence.

“Chris and I are deeply saddened that we have brought negative attention upon our family, friends, and the University of Texas, among others,” the statement reads. “As Chris’ fiance and biggest supporter, I apologize for the role I played in this unfortunate event. I realize that my frustration, when breaking his glasses, initiated a physical struggle between Chris and myself. Chris did not strangle me, and I told that to law enforcement that evening. Chris has stated that he was acting in self-defense, and I do not refute that. I do not believe Chris was trying to intentionally harm me in any way. It was never my intent to have him arrested or prosecuted. We appreciate everyone’s support and prayers during this difficult time.”

Beard’s lawyer, Perry Minton, released the following statement: “Randi is a smart and independent woman. I think everyone should allow her to have her voice in this matter.”

According to the arrest affidavit, the Austin police department responded to a call for service in the 1900 block of Vista Lane in the early morning hours of Dec. 12. When the officer arrived on the scene, the complainant answered the door and said she had been assaulted and strangulated by her fiance.

When the police officer asked her if a verbal altercation had become physical, she said yes, “he just snapped on me and became super violent,” adding, “he choked me, threw me off the bed, bit me, bruises all over my leg, throwing me around, and going nuts.” She said that she called 9-1-1 because “I just did not feel safe.”

She listed the following injuries from the assault:

  • Bite mark to her right forearm (visible teeth marks and redness)
  • Abrasion to her right eyebrow/temple area
  • Abrasion/scrape to her left leg from her knee to her foot
  • Cut to her left thumb with dried blood

The Assault Victims Statement listed the following strangulation symptoms:

  • Difficult to breathe (during)
  • Rapid breathing (after)
  • Shallow breathing (during)

In a general offense document obtained by KXAN, Bead called it a “little disagreement” during which she “began to ‘take a couple of shots’ at him when he defended her off by ‘grabbing her wrists and put her down.’”

The university moved to suspend Beard indefinitely without pay on the day of his booking and then fired with cause in January.

In a letter to Beard’s attorney, the Texas vice president for legal affairs laid out the rational for Beard’s termination.

“Chris Beard engaged in unacceptable behavior that makes him unfit to serve as head coach at our university. Instead of immediately terminating Mr. Beard, the university exercised thoughtful restraint to allow time for additional material facts to emerge. Mr. Del Conte supported Mr. Beard and the program by supporting this pause before action and by presuming his innocence while the facts unfolded. But that support was not a determination regarding Mr. Beard’s conduct — such a decision would have been premature. It is a mistake to view a manager’s support for an employee as a statement of belief in criminal guilt or innocence. We understand that some but not all of the reports of Mr. Beard’s behavior were retracted. It is his actual behavior that we consider, not whether some acts also constitute a crime. Whether or not the District Attorney ultimately charges Mr. Beard is not determinative of whether he engaged in conduct unbecoming a head coach at our university.

“There seems to be an incorrect underlying assumption that the criminal process outcome dictates Mr. Beard’s employment outcome. But these are different processes, where different decision makers are weighing different factors. My call to you, as Mr. Beard’s lawyer, was a courtesy to let you know that Athletics Director Chris Del Conte was prepared to start the termination process of Mr. Beard, that Mr. Del Conte was calling Mr. Beard that morning, and that there was only a short window open for Mr. Beard to resign should he choose to avoid termination. The university does not have a preference for his resignation versus his termination. And again, our evaluation of Mr. Beard’s fitness for service is not contingent on whether he is also convicted of a particular crime or whether those charges are dismissed at some point.

“Additionally, your letter this morning reveals that Mr. Beard does not understand the significance of the behavior he knows he engaged in, or the ensuing events that impair his ability to effectively lead our program. This lack of self-awareness is yet another failure of judgment that makes Mr. Beard unfit to serve as a head coach at our university. For these reasons, the university proceeds to terminate Mr. Beard. The attached letter is his termination notice and will be part of his employee file.”