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Months before Sunday’s arrest, TCU’s Turpin charged in New Mexico assault of woman

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Watch KaVontae Turpin's 61-yard touchdown reception against the SMU Mustangs.

Suspended TCU football player KaVontae Turpin has more legal troubles than his arrest this past weekend for assault with bodily injury against his girlfriend.

Turpin was arrested last spring in Las Cruces, New Mexico, on multiple charges including battery against a woman who is believed to be the same girlfriend. The Las Cruces Police Department redacted the victim’s name in the criminal complaint obtained by the Star-Telegram.

Turpin pleaded not guilty to the battery charge, as well as a charge for criminal damage to the property of a household member (under $1,000). Turpin also faces a charge of interference with communications from that arrest.

A warrant is out for Turpin’s arrest stemming from those charges, the Las Cruces Magistrate Court confirmed Monday. Turpin failed to appear for a July 16 pre-trial hearing, and Judge Joel Cano issued a bench warrant July 17.

Kavontae Turpin booking photo.jpg
TCU receiver KaVontae Turpin was arrested in March on charges of battery and damage to property of a family member in New Mexico. Las Cruces Police Department

The incident happened last March during TCU’s spring break. Turpin and the woman were involved in a verbal altercation at first, and police were called to the scene. Turpin left under his own will, but returned to the woman’s apartment later that night.

The argument resumed, according to the criminal complaint, and turned physical. Turpin grabbed the woman’s arms, causing them to bruise, and also ripped her shirt. Turpin also slammed the woman’s cell phone on the counter, breaking the screen, and punched a hole in a door.

Turpin told officers that night they had to take him to jail because “he has nowhere else to go.” Turpin was visiting the woman believed to be his girlfriend during spring break.

TCU has yet to respond to a request for comment regarding Turpin’s arrest last spring, and if he faced any discipline from the university or football program from it.

TCU coach Gary Patterson has suspended Turpin for his arrest Sunday. Turpin got into an altercation with his girlfriend late Saturday night, allegedly dragging her across a parking lot and slamming her to the ground.

Turpin, a senior from Monroe, Louisiana, is having a standout season for TCU. The 5-foot-9, 157-pounder is regarded as one of the top returners in the country.

He had a personal-best 99-yard kickoff return against Oklahoma on Saturday, his second touchdown return of the season. He had a 78-yard punt return for a TD against SMU.

Turpin also had a receiving touchdown in TCU’s 52-27 loss to OU. For the season, he has 29 receptions for 410 yards and three touchdowns.

Turpin ranks second in the Big 12 in all-purpose yards, averaging 132.7 yards a game.

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