After more than seven months on the run, a former Stephenville Yellow Jacket football standout is reportedly behind bars in Canada.
Various news agencies have reported that Cody Wayne Ledbetter, 37, surrendered to Ottawa police at about 6 p.m. Wednesday.
According to a report in the Ottawa Citizen, Ledbetter, who kicked off his football career in the City of Champions and is also a former Canadian Football League (CFL) quarterback, will remain in custody in Canada until a bail hearing next Wednesday.
The newspaper reported that Ledbetter could be granted bail on Canadian charges next week, but his attorney, Mark Ertel, said Ledbetter has also "been served notice from immigration authorities that they want to deport him as a 'fugitive from American justice.'"
"Texas authorities have 60 days to draft an extradition order, a process that Johnson County Assistant District Attorney Paul Hable said was well under way," The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
Ledbetter had been sought by police in the Canadian capital since allegedly assaulting his pregnant girlfriend Saturday.
According to the Toronto Sun, Ledbetter, "narrowly escaped arrest (Saturday) after Ottawa police responded to an altercation at his home." Residents of Canterbury Square, the apartment complex in Ottawa where Ledbetter reportedly lived and the scene of a domestic disturbance Saturday, said "a bleeding woman was found staggering through the apartment building hallway early Saturday morning."
On Wednesday, a report at star-telegram.com said the victim in the Saturday assault told a reporter with the Ottawa Sun, another Canadian newspaper, that "she took up with Ledbetter in 2007 in Stephenville."
The woman, who was not named, also told the Ottawa Sun that she knew Ledbetter was on the run, but still followed him to Canada with the couple's 11-month-old daughter.
While Ledbetter has been hiding in plain sight in Ottawa, Texas law enforcement officials have been attempting to locate him since a warrant for his arrest was issued in January. Ledbetter is wanted in Johnson County for violating the conditions of a 10-year probationary sentence, which was handed down after he and his Stephenville-based attorney, Garry Lewallen, entered into a plea agreement with the state. Ledbetter pleaded guilty to two counts of having an "improper relationship" with a 16-year-old female student at Alvarado High School, where he was a teacher and assistant football coach.
As a result of the plea agreement, Ledbetter was placed on deferred adjudication probation for 10 years, but according to Lt. Tim Jones, public information officer with the Johnson County Sheriff's Office, the second-degree felony offenses are punishable by two to 20 years in a state penitentiary, a sentence he could receive if his probation is revoked.
Jones was not certain if the charges would be enhanced and add up to a longer sentence since Ledbetter crossed international borders and absconded from justice.
Ledbetter's attorney suggested to the Ottawa Sun that he and his client might fight extradition since the 2005 incident is not a criminal offense in Canada, due to the fact that the student was older than the age of consent.
"If that offense is not an offense known to Canadian law and they're trying to incarcerate him, he's understandably not in a hurry to surrender," to U.S. authorities, Ertel said.
The local search for Ledbetter heated up in March when his fugitive status landed him in the top spot on the the Johnson County (Texas) Sheriff's Office 10 Most Wanted list.
Ledbetter's Texas case involved an Alvarado girl who told authorities that she started having sex with him when she was 16. The encounters between the student and teacher reportedly occurred in Johnson and Tarrant counties, where charges have also been filed.
In Canada, Ledbetter has been charged with assault causing bodily harm and uttering death threats as a result of last weekend's altercation.
Locally, Johnson County Law enforcement officials are working to see that Ledbetter does not escape justice again.
"An innocent person was taken advantage of," Jones said, referring to the 16-year-old girl Ledbetter admitted to having a relationship with. "He (Ledbetter) was given an opportunity to do the right thing, but he did not follow the rules. He should now be made to face the music."