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Former Utes running back in jail on domestic violence charges

Apr 11, 2023, 10:04 PM | Updated: 10:32 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — A former Utah football star is behind bars Tuesday night facing domestic violence assault charges.

Tavion Thomas announced his intention to declare for the NFL Draft, but right now, he is in the Salt Lake County Metro Jail, being held without bail.

The most recent charges stem from an incident on April 5. But this is not his first run-in with the law involving alleged dating violence. Back in January, a Bluffdale woman filed a dating violence protective order against Thomas.

The timing of the current charges filed against Thomas, a former running back for the Utes, couldn’t be worse. The 23-year-old left the University of Utah in hopes of getting drafted to the NFL.

At practice on Tuesday, KSL TV asked Head Coach Kyle Whittingham about the charges.

“I don’t know a lot of the details,” Whittingham said. “My focus is on this football team here now and the players in my program, and that’s my take on that right now.”

Thomas’s attorney, Skye Lazaro, and agent Jimmy Gould released this joint statement to KSL TV.

”Tavion vehemently denies the allegations contained in the Information filed by the State and maintains his innocence. It is a cardinal principle of our system of Justice that every person accused of a crime is presumed to be innocent unless and until his guilt is established beyond a reasonable doubt. The presumption is not a mere formality, it is a matter of the most important substance. It is unfortunate that the State has levied these allegations and held him without bail at a time when he is at the brink of a career in the National Football League. Under the protections of the Constitution afforded to all, we ask that a rush to judgment be withheld and allow Tavion to exercise his due process rights to the fullest.”

A probable cause statement outlined the three charges against Thomas as one felony count of aggravated assault and two counts of unlawful detention and interruption/interference of a communications device, a misdemeanor.

The victim told police Thomas “pulled a knife on her while in an argument of her trying to leave.” She said he then took her phone and told her, “You’ll be dead before the police find you,” when she threatened to call for help.

She said she was able to get away the next morning with the help of a roommate.

Thomas will go before a judge for a bail hearing on April 21.


Domestic violence resources

If you or someone you know is going through abuse, help is available.

  • Utah Domestic Violence Coalition operates a confidential statewide, 24-hour domestic abuse hotline at 1-800-897-LINK (5465).
  • Resources are also available online at the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition website.

There are several ways the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition can help people. Previous examples include providing financial assistance for funerals, for moving, for a variety of things, counseling that help people find a different path or stay healthy and safe and the relationship they’re in.

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Former Utes running back in jail on domestic violence charges