Former New Jersey Nets star, Jayson Williams, was sentenced to five years in prison on Tuesday (February 23) for the shooting death of his limo driver back in 2002.
Williams pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in January, for the 2002 death of limo driver Costas Christofi. In a 2004 trial, was acquitted of aggravated manslaughter, but convicted on four counts of covering up the shooting.
The 42-year-old former NBA player was handed down the sentence Tuesday as tears ran down his cheek, ending an eight-year legal fight in which he dodged a re-trial on a reckless manslaughter count that deadlocked the jury in 2004.
According to The Star-Ledger, Williams gave an emotional public apology to the victim’s sister, Andrea Adams.
“I sincerely apologize for my actions that caused this death,” he said. “I pray that today brings you some comfort.
“Please forgive me for the pain that I have caused to you,” Williams continued. “To my children, you deserve a better father, son, brother than I have been.”
Despite the apology, Adams said, via victim witness coordinator, that she didn’t feel the punishment was enough.
“Put Jayson Williams away now for those 18 months, and when parole time comes up, put him away again and again and again ’til he at least serves the five years,” she wrote.
He must serve at least 18 months of the five-year sentence before he is eligible for parole. Immediately following the sentencing, he was taken into custody.
The former b-ball player hired Christofi to drive his guests back to hisestate after a Harlem Globetrotters game on February 14, 2002. Then later, he was playing with a shotgun giving a tour of his home when the weapon discharged, killing Christofi.
At the height of his career with the New Jersey Nets, Williams landed an $86 million contract with the team. He played nine years in the league before retiring in 2000 after suffering a broken leg.
Today, after a lengthy series of legal battles, he is on the verge of bankruptcy.