The state of Utah filed a motion in court Thursday to dismiss the charges after new evidence came to light.
Salt Lake County District Attorney chief deputy Blake Nakamura told The Tribune that video footage from a gas station where Hatfield is said to have contacted the alleged victim and cell phone “number-spoofing” technology created doubt about Hatfield’s role in the crime.
Hatfield was arrested earlier this month and charged with first-degree felony aggravated robbery. He was accused of posting an online ad under a pseudonym saying he was selling a video game console and stealing $180 in cash at knifepoint from a man who responded to the ad.
Police apprehended Hatfield after the man’s wife called to inquire about a pair of iPhones Hatfield also listed for sale. They arranged to meet at the same location, where officers were waiting, police said.
Investigators are now unsure where Hatfield was the man who committed the robbery, though he may have been otherwise involved in the incident, Nakamura told the Associated Press.
Hatfield was suspended indefinitely by head coach Kyle Whittingham on July 6 and dismissed from the team on July 10 after Whittingham said the team “developed further concerns about [his] off-field behavior.”
Nakamura said his office will investigate the case further and is likely to re-file lesser charges against Hatfield. “Court documents indicated Hatfield admitted to trying to sell phones he found at parties without any attempt to return them to their owners,” the Tribune reported.
Hatfield, who was a rising junior, began his career as a receiver but switched to defensive back early last season. He started 10 games at cornerback, recording 32 tackles and an interception.
- Dan Gartland