WSU athlete faces gross misdemeanor charge

Football player denies allegation, misses his first court appearance

IAN SMAY, Evergreen reporter

WSU redshirt junior defensive lineman Hunter Mattox faces a charge of third degree malicious mischief domestic violence following an alleged incident in October involving his girlfriend.

The Whitman County Prosecutor’s Office filed the charge against 21-year-old Mattox on Oct. 17, said Tessa Scholl, Whitman County deputy prosecutor. The charge came after officers responded to an alleged incident involving Mattox and his girlfriend.

“The reporting party reported that her daughter had been threatened by her boyfriend, Hunter Mattox,” Scholl said, based on the police report. “Officers contacted the victim, and she stated that Hunter Mattox had purposefully dropped her laptop, causing damage to her laptop. Mr. Mattox denied the allegation.”

Bill Stevens, WSU associate director of athletics, said to his knowledge Mattox is still a member of the Cougar football team.

“We consider that a team matter and we will deal with that internally,” Stevens said.

Malicious mischief domestic violence in the third degree occurs when a person “knowingly and maliciously causes physical damage to the property of another,” according to the Revised Code of Washington.

The charge is a gross misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of $5,000 and up to 364 days in jail, Scholl said. However, she said she has not decided what to pursue against Mattox.

“At this point, we haven’t even had him appear in the case,” she said. “It would be premature to have something in mind that I am pursuing in the case.”

Scholl said Mattox missed his first court date on Oct. 30. He has been given a second chance to appear at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Whitman County District Court in Pullman. She said if he misses this date, she will ask the judge to issue a warrant for his arrest.

To her knowledge, Scholl said Mattox has not hired an attorney, but if he hires one before the hearing, the judge would typically send the lawyer a notice of hearing instead of an arrest warrant.