Former University of Utah football player Tavion Thomas pleads guilty to two third-degree felonies in plea deal

Thomas was originally held without bail on a felony domestic violence charge in April.

(Ashley Landis | AP) Utah running back Tavion Thomas (9) celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the first half of an NCAA college football game against UCLA in Pasadena, Calif., Saturday, October 8, 2022.

Originally charged with assaulting his girlfriend and other crimes, former University of Utah football player Tavion Thomas resolved his case Friday by pleading guilty to two third-degree felonies.

Prosecutors agreed to dismiss eight of the 10 charges against him, in exchange for his guilty pleas to illegally acquiring a bank card and violating a restraining order for his girlfriend.

After accepting the plea deal in 3rd District Court, Thomas said on Twitter, “With humble pride, I take full responsibility for my actions. With the help of my incredible attorneys, my family and my wonderful team of mental health professionals, I am beyond blessed, healed, and driven to be the best me I can be.

His pleas are pending, which means he is not yet convicted. If Thomas, 23, successfully serves three years of probation, the charges will be reduced and his guilty pleas will be entered for two Class A misdemeanors.

The terms of his probation require him to abstain from the use of alcohol and illegal drugs – and prohibit him from being around others who take or drink them. He cannot frequent places where alcohol is the main product sold. He will have to submit to drug and alcohol tests and he will not be able to possess a firearm.

If Thomas violates the terms of his probation, he could be convicted of his third-degree crimes, both of which carry a sentence of up to five years in prison.

Three of the original charges were third-degree domestic violence charges, which alleged that Thomas threatened his girlfriend with a knife on April 4, took away her phone and car keys and told her that if she authorities called, she would be “dead before the police arrive. These charges were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

While he pleaded guilty to one count of later calling the woman in violation of a do not contact her order, three identical counts alleging ongoing calls were dismissed. Two Class A misdemeanors, which alleged that Thomas illegally possessed another person’s identity documents, were also dismissed.

Thomas’ girlfriend argued in an April 21 hearing that he was not a danger to her. Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said Friday his input was considered in crafting the plea bargain.

“Whenever you have domestic violence situations, you rely on the evidence,” Gill said. “And you also try to determine the proportionate response in terms of achieving those goals. When the team got together and evaluated everything with everyone, including our victim, it was decided that this was the best result we could have.

In a joint statement, defense attorney Skye Lazaro and NFL agent Jimmy Gould said, “From the beginning of this case, Mr. Thomas has maintained his innocence regarding the allegations of domestic violence and of aggression. Those charges have now been dismissed with prejudice.

Their statement continued, “We appreciate the work of the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office in bringing this matter to a just resolution. Mr. Thomas easily took responsibility for the charges included in the plea agreement. He took this opportunity to focus on his mental health and prepare for the next stage. Mr. Thomas is deeply grateful to those who have supported him and continue to support him through this process.

As part of his probation, Thomas will be required to complete a mental health and domestic violence assessment in 30 days. He must also take the prescribed medications.

Before the charge was filed, Thomas was considered a major NFL draft prospect. He was invited to the NFL Combine in March after helping lead Utah to back-to-back Rose Bowl appearances. But Thomas hasn’t been drafted since and he hasn’t received any invitations to rookie minicamps so far.

A continuing protective order prohibits Thomas from contacting a former girlfriend, whom he is accused of stalking in Bluffdale. According to a police report obtained by the Salt Lake Tribune, Thomas’ girlfriend told police he stalked her following a breakup, calling her multiple times, sending her direct messages on various apps and sending over 350 text messages after she told him to stop contacting her.

Thomas was charged on January 8 with a class B misdemeanor count of electronic communication harassment.

Court documents did not indicate who owned the financial card Thomas pleaded guilty to illegally acquiring, or the identification he was accused of illegally possessing. Charges said the items were discovered in his possession on April 11, which allegedly happened while he was in jail.

Thomas was held without bond for nearly three weeks in April. Thomas’ girlfriend, who he lives with, told police she suggested they go to sleep after he pointed a knife at her. “She said she didn’t sleep at all because she was scared of Thomas because he had the knife lying next to him in bed,” court documents say.

She was able to leave the next day, April 5, and Thomas was arrested and put in jail. He was ordered not to have any communication with her, but called her more than 21 times between April 6 and April 9, four charges alleged. He pleaded guilty to one of those counts.

There is no longer an order restricting his contact with her. She appeared in court several times and opposed a protective order, saying Thomas needed to start taking his medication.

“Tavion is not a danger to me,” the woman said at Thomas’ April 21 detention hearing. “Your Honor, Tavion, he is my safe space. Couples fight all the time and of course domestic violence is something you never want to happen but you can’t control it when someone has an emotional argument and depression.

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