Those who saw the Independent Lens film In Football We Trust will remember one of the four student-athletes featured in the film, “Fihi” Kaufusi, who was trying to fight through a rough upbringing to make it as a football player. We wanted to update you on a awful, dramatic, tragic turn to Fihi’s story, as the former Weber State student was formally sentenced for violently abusing his girlfriend. Here’s more from a detailed story by Andreas Rivera for Ogden’s Standard-Examiner newspaper:
On Jan. 21, [Kaufusi] was sentenced in Davis County to 180 days in jail with work release. Judge Joseph Bean said that due to the extreme brutality against the victim he would exceed the recommended sentencing matrix and sentence Kaufusi to 270 days in jail, to run concurrent with his current sentence, adding 90 days in total.
Kaufusi’s attorney Jason Widdison asked Bean for the 120 days in jail to run concurrent with his Davis sentence.
“There’s a lot of people rooting for him. This is Mr. Kaufusi’s first encounter with law enforcement,” Widdison said. “He has represented that he wanted to take full responsibility for what happened.”
Kaufusi suffers from untreated mental illnesses including post traumatic stress disorder stemming from a childhood of abuse, said Widdison, who submitted a medical report to the judge.
“He was a victim of abuse, which has unfortunately led to more victims of abuse,” he said. “He wants to get help. These are deep issues that he needs to wrestle with.”
Willoughby handed Bean photos of the victim and her injuries and described what Kaufusi did to her, which included punches to the face, body, choking and kicking. He said Kaufusi, who weighs 270 pounds, stomped on the chest of the 130-pound victim.
He also said that Kaufusi does not take full responsibility for his actions, telling police and maintaining in court that during the beatings his head would hurt and that he would blackout, not remembering everything that happened. The two were dating at the time, making this a domestic violence issue, he said.
Willoughby asked Bean to sentence the defendant to one year in jail.
Kaufusi addressed the court and apologized to the victim and her family, who were not present. He acknowledged that he does have mental health issues, but said he doesn’t remember much of the day he was arrested and said police led him when they interviewed him.