Williams takes plea deal in shooting

November 20, 2009

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, was to face a retrial in January on a reckless manslaughter count. The person said 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.

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.

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.

Allen Iverson has cleared waivers and is free to sign with any NBA team. The former MVP was waived Tuesday after playing only three games with the Grizzlies.

AP

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