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Ex-BYU football players accept plea deal for Halloween assault charges

Published March 14, 2013 3:31 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Former BYU football players Joe Sampson and Zachary Stout must pay $400 apiece in court fees and complete an anger management course after pleading guilty or no contest on Wednesday to misdemeanor charges stemming from a Halloween night brawl at the Rancherito's 24-hour restaurant in Provo. Both former players were charged with two counts apiece of Class B Misdemeanor Assault in Provo City Justice Court for their roles in the Nov. 1 brawl, and both originally pleaded not guilty to both counts. However, per an agreement between prosecutors and public defenders Doug Baxter (Sampson) and Grant Nagamatsu (Stout), the second charges were dismissed in exchange for pleas in abeyance to the first charges. If the ex-players adhere to court orders and have no new violations of the law for a year, all the charges will be dismissed. Sampson, a starting safety until he was dismissed from the team and school in early November, attended BYU's spring practice on Wednesday and was greeted by several of his former teammates when they came off the field after the workout. He plans on participating in BYU's Pro Day on March 28 with the blessing of head coach Bronco Mendenhall and said he has been working out the last few months in hopes of landing a free-agent invite to a pro camp. After pleading guilty to the first charge on Wednesday, Sampson was ordered to pay $40 a month for the next 10 months and complete the city's "No Excuse For Abuse" program and provide proof of completion by May 15, 2013. Stout was a reserve linebacker for BYU who gained notoriety when he committed to the school at a news conference in downtown Salt Lake CIty along with quarterback Jake Heaps and receiver Ross Apo.

After pleading no contest to the first charge on Wednesday, Stout paid the $400 fine and complete Anger Management through Court Supportive Services and provide proof of completion by May 15, 2013. The prosecutor has 60 days to submit restitution amount in both cases. A pretrial conference for a third ex-BYU football player involved in the melee, 2010 walk-on Matthew Santos, was rescheduled to April 8.