Witness says J. Williams wiped prints from shotgun

Manslaughter trial enters third week of testimony

Jurisprudence

February 24, 2004|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

SOMERVILLE, N.J. - Jayson Williams wiped his fingerprints off a shotgun with a towel and tried to put it in the hands of the limousine driver the former basketball All-Star shot moments before, one of the people at Williams' home that night testified.

Dean Bumbaco, a Williams acquaintance who was present the night driver Costas "Gus" Christofi was killed, said he entered Williams' bedroom immediately after hearing a shot and heard Williams say, "My God, my life is over" as Christofi lay on the floor.

Bumbaco was the 13th witness for the prosecution at the start of the third week of testimony in Williams' manslaughter trial in New Jersey Superior Court. Williams, 36, is accused of recklessly handling the shotgun that killed Christofi, lying about it and trying to get others to lie about what happened.

His attorneys say the shooting was an accident.

To convict Williams of the most serious charge, aggravated manslaughter, the prosecution must prove that Williams showed "extreme indifference to human life."

Bumbaco, a landscape designer, laid out the events of the evening of Feb. 13, 2002, when a group of about 10 of Williams' friends and acquaintances attended a Harlem Globetrotters basketball game in Pennsylvania, returned to a restaurant in New Jersey and then went to Williams' estate nearby.

Bumbaco said he saw Williams drink wine and Scotch at the restaurant and ridicule Christofi in front of the former basketball player's friends.

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