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Judge issues arrest warrant for ex-U. football player

Published: Friday, July 3 2015 5:15 a.m. MDT

After failing to appear in court, an arrest warrant was issued for former University of Utah football player Koliniasi Mona Leota, who is charged with attacking his wife. () After failing to appear in court, an arrest warrant was issued for former University of Utah football player Koliniasi Mona Leota, who is charged with attacking his wife. ()

SALT LAKE CITY — An arrest warrant has been issued for a former University of Utah football player charged with attacking his wife.

Koliniasi Mona Leota, 25, was supposed to be sentenced Monday, but he failed to appear in court, prompting 3rd District Judge Randall Skanchy to issue a $25,000 warrant for Leota's arrest. Leota, who was facing three felonies and four misdemeanors stemming from an incident on Feb. 17, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, a third-degree felony, in June.

In exchange for his plea, all of the other charges against Leota were dismissed.

Leota missed another court hearing June 3 and also failed to show up for an interview with Adult Probation and Parole, as he had been instructed to do, according to court records.

Leota was charged with aggravated kidnapping, a first-degree felony; aggravated assault, a third-degree felony; and domestic violence in the presence of a child, a third-degree felony. He was also charged with four class B misdemeanors: threat of violence and three counts of domestic violence in the presence of a child.

The charges stem from a Feb. 17 fight at the couple's Salt Lake apartment when Leota became angry and punched his wife in the head and face.

While she was in the bathroom cleaning up, the 6-foot, 4-inch, 278-pound man hit her in the head with a curling iron, then wrapped the iron's cords around his hands and tried to strangle her, charging documents state. He then allegedly ripped a towel bar from the wall, hit her in the head with it and tried to stab her in the throat with the broken end.

The woman told police that each time she tried to run out the door, Leota would grab her by the hair and drag her back inside. Prosecutors say the couple's 2-year-old child was present during the assault.

Leota, a defensive tackle, appeared in 10 games last season and made six tackles. The former Granger High standout transferred to Utah after two seasons at Mt. San Antonio (Calif.) College. Leota was dismissed from the U. football program in February.

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