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Jayson Williams Get Indicted
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PoohTerp Offline
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Such a waste of all that talent.... <img border="0" title="" alt="[Frown]" src="frown.gif" />

Williams Indicted on More Serious Manslaughter Charge
Faces Up to 40 Years in Prison

.c The ***ociated Press

FLEMINGTON, N.J. (May 1) -- Former NBA All-Star Jayson Williams faces a new, more serious manslaughter charge in an indictment returned Wednesday in the shooting death of a limousine driver at his estate.

Williams was indicted on a series of charges, including aggravated manslaughter, which carries a sentence of up to 30 years in prison. He also was indicted on earlier charges of aggravated ***ault, witness and evidence tampering, and reckless manslaughter, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years.

A friend of the former New Jersey Nets star, John Gordnick, was indicted on two charges, including evidence tampering.

The 34-year-old Williams was charged Feb. 25 in the Feb. 14 death of Costas Christofi.

Williams, who remains free on $270,000 bail, appeared in court on the charges in March. He did not enter a plea and was not required to do so until a grand jury indictment. A date for arraignment was not immediately scheduled.

His spokeswoman, Judy Smith, has said Williams will plead innocent "at the appropriate time.'' His attorney said Wednesday he was pleased the case can now go to trial.

"We remain confident that after a full exploration of the facts the truth will show that the death of Mr. Christofi was a tragic accident but not a criminal event,'' Joseph Hayden said.

Gordnick's lawyer did not immediately return calls for comment.

Prosecutors say Williams was recklessly handling his 12-gauge shotgun and that he and two friends, Gordnick and Kent Culuko, tried to make the shooting look like a suicide.

Prosecutors would have to show Williams demonstrated "extreme indifference to human life'' to prove the aggravated manslaughter charge.

Acting Hunterdon County Prosecutor Steven Lember has said there were reasons to believe that alcohol "is something we need to look into,'' but has not said whether Williams was drinking before the shooting.

In a deal with prosecutors last week, Culuko pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and witnesses and agreed to testify against Williams and Gordnick.

Christofi, 55, was apparently invited on a tour of Williams' mansion in Alexandria Township after picking up the former NBA All-Star's friends at a Harlem Globetrotters game in Bethlehem, Pa., prosecutors said.

The 6-foot-10 Williams was once among the NBA's best rebounders, but leg injuries ended his career and he retired from the Nets in 2000. Since the shooting, he has been suspended from his job as an NBA ****yst for NBC.

05/01/02 15:07 EDT
05-01-2002 03:41 PM
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