A Taylor County grand jury indicted ex-ACU junior football player Tyler Chapa last week on a charge of family assault, which means the case against him may now proceed to a trial. If convicted, Chapa may face up to 10 years in prison.
Chapa was arrested Oct. 3, 2014, on a charge of family violence assault by choking – a third-degree felony. According to police, Chapa and his then-girlfriend, Janell Cortez, began an argument that turned physical in his apartment at The Grove Apartments on Sept. 18, 2014.
The decision, made on Feb. 5, means members of the grand jury concluded enough evidence exists against Chapa to warrant a trial.
In a sworn statement to Taylor County police, Cortez stated that Chapa choked her, grabbed her neck and arm and threw her onto the floor and bed after she went to check his cell phone for text messages or phone calls from another woman.
She said once she called the police, Chapa took the phone and canceled the call, then told her she needed to call back and tell police that everything was OK.
When police arrived, they took a statement from Cortez and took pictures of bruising that “showed severe bruising to her neck to the point where finger marks were visible on her neck and face area,” according to the sworn statement.
Chapa was released from the ACU football program Oct. 3. Head coach Ken Collums confirmed in a statement that the assault charge led to Chapa’s removal from the team.
“When (ACU police chief) Jimmy Ellison notified me on Oct. 3 that a warrant was being issued and that the ACU Police Department would be taking him into custody, I told Tyler that he was immediately suspended from the ACU football program,” Collums said.
Chapa recorded 14 tackles in three games for ACU last season and was tied for the team lead during his freshman season with two interceptions, scoring on one.