Retired NBA star Jayson Williams has agreed to a plea deal that would send him to prison for up to three years for accidentally shooting a driver at his New Jersey estate in 2002, a person with knowledge of the case told The Associated Press on Thursday.
Williams, who retired in 2000 after playing nine seasons in the NBA for the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets, was to face a retrial in January on a reckless manslaughter count.
The person, who was not authorized to speak about the case, told the AP on condition of anonymity that Williams is to plead guilty Friday to aggravated assault. Because a gun was used in the crime, Williams must serve at least 18 months in prison, the person said.
So, instead of the manslaughter charge he'll plead to aggravated assault which in New Jersey requires some time in jail if a gun was involved. That sounds like a normal plea deal. But what did he actually do, what was his crime?
Witnesses testified that Williams was showing off a shotgun in his bedroom in February 2002 when he snapped the weapon shut and it fired one shot that struck driver Costas Christofi in the chest, killing him. They also testified that Williams initially placed the gun in the dead man's hands and instructed those present to lie about what happened.
The defense has maintained the shooting was an accident and that Williams panicked afterward.
During his trial, the jury deadlocked on the reckless manslaughter count, acquitted Williams of aggravated manslaughter and convicted him of covering up the shooting. He was never sentenced for the cover-up counts, pending the outcome of the retrial, and has remained free on bail.
What is it with these guys who don't know about The Rules? It reminds me of Breda in that video she posted recently in which she clearly violated at least two of the four rules, yet all her supporters ignored that in their enthusiasm to praise her. Shouldn't gun owners, whether they're retired NBA stars or pro-gun bloggers be held to a higher standard of gun comportment?
What Jayson Williams did, unless anyone thinks he really wanted to murder his driver, was nothing more than a stupid accident. What do you think? Is spending a few years in jail a fair sentence for an accident? Do you think the attempt to cover it up should be considered another crime and add to his punishment? Wasn't that nothing more than a panicked reaction?
What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.