Craig Carter

Craig Carter

A former University of Arizona  assistant track and field coach accused of stalking and assaulting a student-athlete rejected a plea deal Monday and opted to go to trial.

Craig Carter is scheduled for a 10-day jury trial beginning on March 27, according to Pima County Superior Court records.

Carter has been charged with aggravated assault, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, stalking with fear of death, and disrupting an educational institution- all felonies- stemming from an April 2015 incident. Carter is accused of holding a box cutter to student-athlete Baillie Gibson's throat, threatening her, trying to strangle her and attempting to drag her out of a classroom.

If convicted of all charges, Carter is facing between eight and 27.5 years in prison.

In a second criminal case, Carter is also facing four felony counts of aggravated harassment and violating a restraining order, after a woman affiliated with the UA track team said that he violated an order of protection and contacted her via Facebook and Skype, according to Arizona Daily Star archives.

Assuming Carter is found guilty in the first case, he could spend an additional 33.25 years in prison if convicted of all charges in the second case.

At the start of Monday's hearing, Cooper objected to a request by the television show "20/20" to film the hearing, but after hearing from Cooper and Graig Hoffman, 20/20's attorney, Judge Teresa Godoy denied Cooper's motion to prevent media coverage of the hearing, court records show.

Also during the hearing, Carter rejected a plea agreement before leaving the courtroom to catch a flight.

The plea agreement offered Carter a sentence of one to 3.75 years in prison and would have covered both cases, according to a court spokesperson.

After Carter left, Godoy told Deputy Pima County Attorney Jonathan Mosher that he or Carter's defense attorneys were welcome to subpoena ESPN for transcripts of interviews reporters conducted with Gibson and Carter for an episode of "Outside the Lines."

In June, Cooper cited “five inconsistencies” between what Gibson told ESPN reporters and what she told authorities, but would not specify what the inconsistencies were.

In an August 28 hearing, Mosher told the court that the county attorney's office was considering remanding the case to the grand jury and adding a charge of kidnapping, which would carry a maximum sentence of 21 years in prison.

Contact reporter Caitlin Schmidt at or 573-4191. Twitter: @caitlinschmidt




I'm a watchdog reporter covering local government, the University of Arizona and sports investigations.