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Former U. football player in custody in assault case

Koliniasi Mona Leota
Koliniasi Mona Leota
Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office

SALT LAKE CITY — A former University of Utah football player is in custody five years after police said he attacked his wife and threatened to kill her in front of their children in 2013.

Koliniasi Mona Leota, 29, pleaded guilty in June of that year to aggravated assault, a third-degree felony. Two other felonies and four misdemeanors charges filed against him in 3rd District Court were dropped.

Warrants were issued for Leota after he failed to report for a meeting with probation and parole officers before his sentencing in 2013, according to court documents.

Police said he allegedly punched his wife, tried to strangle her with the cord of a curling iron and tried to stab her with a broken towel bar on Feb. 17, 2013.

Prosecutors said the couple's 2-year-old child was present.

A friend arrived with their two older children, ages 3 and 4, and the mother ran out and got into the car with them, locking the door, according to police. An officer reported Leota threatened to smash the car windows, saying, "I'm going to kill you."

Leota, a defensive tackle, was dismissed from the team.

He was originally charged with aggravated kidnapping, a first-degree felony, and domestic violence in the presence of a child, a third-degree felony. Those charges were dropped, along with four misdemeanors: threat of violence and three counts of domestic violence in the presence of a child.

He is set to be sentenced in April.