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BYU football player faces burglary charges in Orem incident

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Editor's note: Prosecutors dropped the burglary charge against Gabriel D. Giordano on Feb. 6 because the alleged victim recanted her story.

The second Brigham Young University football player to run into trouble with the law just this month faces a more serious charge than his teammate.

But walk-on linebacker Gabriel D. Giordano says he's innocent.Giordano, 22, was charged with burglary, a second-degree felony, in 4th District Court Wednesday. Giordano was arrested in the early morning hours of Jan. 11 after police were called to an Orem residence to investigate a fight. Giordano "started pushing a girl around" after banging on the door and entering the home at 454 N. 100 East, Orem Police Lt. Bob Conner said.

According to court documents, police arrested Giordano for investigation of entering the home without permission, committing an assault and being intoxicated. However, Giordano was only charged with burglary, and he said even that is a farce.

"My only statement is that when all the facts come out, I'm 100 percent sure that I'll be vindicated and shown to be not guilty," he told the Deseret News Thursday. "The whole thing has been blown out of proportion."

Giordano, of La Mesa, Calif., spent four days in the Utah County Jail before his brother, Phil, also a BYU football player last season, posted $1,000 bail to get him out. Gabe Giordano said that as soon as he was released from jail, he met with football coach LaVell Edwards to let him know what had happened.

"I'm not trying to hide it," Giordano said. "There's nothing to hide."

Last week, kick return specialist Jaron Dabney was cited by Orem police for shoplifting. Police said Dabney took a $59 designer shirt from a store at University Mall. Charges have not been filed yet in that case, but Dabney is scheduled to appear in court in March.

The felony count against Giordano is much more serious than the misdemeanor Dabney would likely face if charges are filed. If convicted, Giordano could face a sentence of one to 15 years in prison. He is scheduled to appear in 4th District Court for a waiver hearing Feb. 6.

Giordano told police he was driving in Orem that evening when he saw his female cousin walking home alone. He became upset and took her back to the party at the Orem home to confront those who had forced her to walk home, Conner said.

When police later arrived at the home, they found a female, age unavailable, "shaking and upset" because Giordano had allegedly assaulted her.

Under state statute, a person can be charged with burglary if he or she enters the dwelling of another person with the intent to commit theft, an asault or a felony. Police do not allege that Giordano took anything from the home.

BYU spokeswoman Carrie Jenkins said no disciplinary action has been taken against Giordano, although the school's Honor Code office is working with him. Usually, the Honor Code office waits until legal proceedings finish before taking disciplinary action, except in cases where a student has a prior record with the office and the allegations come from a reliable source, Jenkins said.

Giordano is still listed as a student and a member of the football team.

In a court affidavit, Giordano asked for the court to appoint a public defense attorney to represent him because he is too poor to hire one. He said he is not employed and listed assets of only $100 in a bank account.

Attorney Randy Spencer was appointed to represent him, but Giordano's father has also offered consulting services in the case. Giordano said his father, Peter, has been a criminal defense attorney in San Diego for 25 years. However, he said his father is currently on permanent disability status and doesn't earn enough money to hire an attorney to represent his son.

Giordano played in seven games for BYU during the 1997 season, making five tackles as a reserve and special teams player. He has one year of eligibility remaining and said he plans to play again next year after rehabilitating from a knee injury suffered in last year's Hawaii game. Giordano was a redshirt in 1994, a member of the prep squad in 1995 and played in two games in 1996.

A football team biography says Giordano was student body president at Helix High School and captain of the school's football team. He is listed as a 6-foot, 220-pound linebacker.