Jayson Williams, the former New Jersey Nets player, has been sentenced to a five-year prison term for charges related to his covering up of the fatal shooting of Costas “Gus” Christofi, a limo driver that he had hired. Williams accidentally shot the 55-year-old driver on February 14, 2002.
The fatal incident happened at the former NBA star’s home in Pennsylvania. According to prosecutors, Williams was reckless in the handling of a 12-gauge shotgun that then went off. He and two others were accused of trying to cover up what happened so it would look as if the limo driver shot himself.
In 2004, a jury convicted Williams of four charges of trying to conceal the fatal incident. They acquitted him on the criminal charges of evidence tampering, hindering apprehension or prosecution, witness tampering, and fabricating evidence. However, they could not agree on whether to convict him for reckless manslaughter.
During the criminal trial, the former NBA star admitted that he did not see whether the gun, which was part of his collection, was loaded, whether the safety catch was activated, or what direction the weapon was pointing toward. A mistrial was declared and rather than go through another trial over the reckless manslaughter charge, Williams pleaded guilty to aggravated assault. He has to serve 18-months in prison, concurrent with the 5-year sentence.
In 2003, Williams settled the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Christofi’s family for $2.75 million.
Former NBA star Jayson Williams gets five-year sentence in shooting, CNN, February 23, 2010
Williams Gets 5-Year Prison Sentence, Reuters, February 23, 2010
Related Web Resources:
Violent Crimes, Justia
Jayson Williams, New York Times
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