AUSTIN (KXAN) — Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza dismissed the domestic violence case against former Texas Longhorns head men’s basketball coach Chris Beard.
Garza said Wednesday that, “after a careful and thorough review of the evidence, recent public statements, and considering Ms. [Randi] Trew’s wishes, our office has determined that the felony offense cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Beard was arrested by Austin Police on Dec. 12 and later charged with assault by strangulation/suffocation – family violence following an incident with Trew, his fiancée. The home where the alleged assault happened, owned by Beard, was listed for sale since late January and is still active, according to real estate listings.
He was suspended indefinitely without pay later that day by Texas Athletics as it reviewed the case, and then was fired Jan. 5. Associate head coach Rodney Terry has since taken over as interim head coach of the team.
Beard released a statement Thursday, saying he was “pleased” at the outcome and thanking those who had reached out “to express encouragement and love during this difficult time.”
“While I always had faith and confidence in the truth and this outcome, it has been extremely challenging to wait patiently and not publicly respond. I’m sorry and deeply remorseful to my family, friends, all my players and staff both most recent and past, and everyone at my alma mater The University of Texas, including the fans and supporters who were affected by this situation,” Beard wrote.
In a statement to KXAN Wednesday, Beard’s attorney Perry Minton also said they are “pleased” with the DA’s decision.
“Everyone knows that Coach Beard has maintained his absolute innocence since the moment he was arrested. Today, the district attorney has filed a motion to dismiss the case in the Interest of Justice, which is not common. Additionally, this district attorney has a well-earned reputation for being very tough regarding domestic violence cases. The fact that Mr. Garza’s review resulted in this determination so quickly – says a lot. We are very pleased,” Minton wrote.
“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.”
Garza said the DA’s office has indicted or formally charged over 2,000 people with assault family violence charges since 2021.
In Beard’s contract with the university, it said specifically the university could fire Beard for cause — and not owe him anything — if felony charges were brought against him, meaning he did not have to be indicted or convicted in order for the school to sever ties. The crime he was charged with is a third-degree felony.
Nearly two weeks after Beard’s arrest, Trew released a statement through her attorney saying she believed Chris wasn’t trying to intentionally hurt her and that she never wanted to press charges in the first place.
“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,” Trew’s statement said, in part.
KXAN has reached out to UT for further comment. We will update this story once we hear back.