The UFC recently added another heavyweight to its roster in Legacy FC's Cody East. He's reportedly scheduled to fight Walt Harris on the preliminary card of UFC 197: Cormier vs. Jones 2 on April 23rd. "The Freight Train" has been in the pros since May 2008, compiling a 12-1 record, with 11 of his victories by either knockout or submission, and his 40 second TKO of Kevin Asplund on February 5th will soon be featured on Dana White's "Lookin' For a Fight" series.
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East's signing comes with a lengthy and controversial criminal history, which dates back to his days as a state champion wrestler for Los Lunas High School in New Mexico. The most serious charge he faced (and was ultimately acquitted of) was rape, but he's also served time in prison for multiple other offenses. Here's a news timeline of Cody's violent past:
September 2005 - East arrested on sexual assault charges
Los Lunas Police Detective Capt. Charles Nuanes said 17-year-old Cody East was taken into custody while at school Friday morning. East is being charged with 10 counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor, four counts of criminal sexual penetration of a minor and one count of false imprisonment.
East was being held at the Juvenile Detention Center in Albuquerque and was scheduled to make his first appearance in children's court in Los Lunas on Monday.
According to Nuanes, East's arrest came almost a week after the parents of the girl called to charge that their daughter had been sexually assaulted in a Los Lunas home. Nuanes said after interviewing several witnesses, including the alleged victim, a warrant was issued for East's arrest.
East pleaded innocent to the charges and was reinstated back into his school's wrestling program. After serving a little over a month in juvenile detention, he was placed under house arrest and required to wear a monitoring device on his ankle.
August 2006 - Request to attend out-of-state college denied after repeatedly violating conditional terms
During the recent hearing on changing East's conditions of release, Assistant District Attorney Beverly Taylor told the judge East had violated those conditions several times, even after being warned, the News-Bulletin reported.
A juvenile probation officer testified that East's electronic monitor had shown he was out of range for several minutes at a time on four different days this month and that he was reported out of range two months ago when his parents took him to a hospital in Albuquerque, the paper said.
In 2007, having graduated from high school, East was indicted on "15 counts, including four counts of first-degree rape, four counts of second-degree criminal sexual contact of a minor, six counts of third-degree criminal sexual contact and one count of false imprisonment."
April 2007 - Details on East's alleged rape
Prosecutor Aaron Jordon told jurors in opening Monday that East raped the girl after using a dresser to barricade the door to his bedroom and there was nothing consensual about the sex, News 13 reported.
"She didn't consent to any of this," Jordon said. "She told the defendant no over and over and over again," Channel 13 reported.
But the 4-foot-11 girl was no match for the 6-foot-4 athlete, who weighed 230 pounds, Jordon told jurors.
But according to East's defense attorney Jane Rocha de Gandara, the sex was consensual, and that the churchgoing girl made up the rape story in order not to disappoint her family, Rocha de Gandara told the jury, News 13 reported.
Police say the girl claimed East raped her several times over several hours that night and prevented her from leaving, according to News 13.
East, as noted earlier, was acquitted of the rape charges, although he would soon find himself in trouble yet again just a few months later after a massive fight broke out at a party hosted at his home.
Witnesses told deputies that East became angry at some of the girls, went into a rage and began breaking doors and windows, News 13 reported.
He then allegedly hip-tossed some of the 14- to 15-year-old girls, breaking some of their noses and possibly the arm of one of the girls, and allegedly kicked his mother and attacked his father, KRQE said.
"We understand he kicked his father twice and stomped him in the head," Valencia County sheriff's Detective Aaron Jones told News 13. "While his dad was down begging for mercy, he evidently stomped him."
East was holding a knife when deputies arrived, but eventually surrendered without doing any further injury, later telling deputies he had wanted them to kill him, according to the KRQE report.
Officers had to draw their weapons in order to subdue East, who does cage fighting, and Valencia County sheriff's Detective Aaron Jones told KOB-TV that East told deputies he wanted them to shoot and kill him.
East was wheeled away from the home handcuffed to a gurney and has been placed on mental-health observation at the Valencia County jail, according to Eyewitness News 4.
Jones told KOB-TV that one of the girls allegedly attacked by East may have suffered a broken arm, while other girls had broken noses, and East himself may have broken his hand in three places.
This particular story also implicates Cody's parents, who were charged with buying and serving alcohol to minors, as well as "child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor." Both of his parents received probation sentences, with his mother pleading no-contest to the alcohol charges and having the child abuse charges dismissed. Cody was jailed for the remainder of the year, and his attorney's request for him to be released with electronic monitoring was denied.
With East free on bail and awaiting trial, he was unanimously approved for a license by the New Mexico Athletic Commission to compete in amateur MMA in April 2008. He would make his pro debut just one month later.
According to court records, a mistrial was declared in July 2008, as the jury deadlocked on aggravated battery with bodily harm, as well as not guilty on charges of aggravated battery against a household member, and one count of battery. East was, however, found guilty of three counts of third-degree child abuse, plus a misdemeanor battery. Those child abuse charges carried a maximum sentence of ten years in prison. In November 2008, the jury acquitted East of the battery charge that caused the mistrial in July. As if that wasn't enough, East was convicted of misdemeanor battery for breaking the ankle of a 17-year-old boy in a different party in May 2007.
At the end of 2008, East was handed his sentence by District Judge John Pope, at which time he admitted to having a serious alcohol problem.
December 2008 - East sentenced to 3 years in prison
After apologizing to the court and to the people he's hurt and admitting that he's had an alcohol problem for years, Cody East was sentenced this week to three years in prison on charges of child abuse and battery. East, a former state champion high school wrestler, was found guilty this summer of three counts of third-degree felony child abuse counts and one count of misdemeanor battery. The charges stem from an underage drinking party at his parent's home in July 2007. Several teenage girls at the party reported that East hurt them after becoming enraged.
East, 20, was also found guilty of another count of misdemeanor battery a few months later in a separate case in which he allegedly beat up a former friend at a drinking party at Tomé Hill.
District Judge John Pope sentenced East to nine years in prison, but suspended all but three. East has already served more than eight months in jail, which will be counted toward his sentence.
East was placed on probation and parole supervision in January 2010, but it didn't take long for him to wind up back in jail. He was arrested in August 2010 for violating his probation and parole violations, which included assaulting a household member, and criminal damage to property of a household member. New Mexico court records indicate that East pleaded not guilty to both charges, and the state did not proceed with prosecution. East returned to jail until December 2010, when he was released under supervision.
In 2012, Cody returned to jail for three days after violating his probation when "Probation and parole officers conducting a home visit at East's address last Saturday discovered that East was not residing where he claimed to be."
Unfortunately, Cody's brother Tyler, also a state wrestling champion and an MMA fighter, does not fare much better when it comes to obeying the law. Tyler East was arrested in 2012 on domestic violence charges for allegedly striking his ex-girlfriend in the jaw and knocking her unconscious. The woman also claimed this stemmed from East's cocaine use. He was already on probation for a 2010 aggravated battery conviction.
April 2012 - Tyler East's legal troubles detailed
His legal troubles began in 2009, when he was accused of beating a fellow Belen High School student in gym class. He pleaded no contest to a third-degree count of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and was sentenced in 2010 to three years' probation.
Last August , East tested positive for cocaine -- a probation violation -- after winning a fight at the Pit.
According to a Probation and Parole Division report, East also violated his probation by using a fake ID. In addition, he was accused of harassment by a former girlfriend, and another ex-girlfriend was granted a temporary protective order against him.
Four years ago, the UFC actually denied one heavyweight his Octagon debut due to an incident that initially carried rape charges, but ended with plea deals to reduced charges. Strikeforce heavyweight Devin Cole was on the cusp of a UFC on FOX 4 bout vs. Travis Browne, but a 2008 arrest on charges of first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy, and two-counts of sexual penetration led to the Browne fight falling apart, and with it went Cole's UFC aspirations. Cole plead guilty to fourth-degree assault and sexual harassment, which resulted in a 60-day jail sentence.
Bloody Elbow contacted the UFC on Thursday for any official comment on Cody's prior criminal convictions, but a response has not been issued at the time of this article's publish.
(H/T Suzanne Davis for researching court records info outside of what was published in the articles)