Jayson Williams Sentence Requested, but Does He Need Jail Time or Help?

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By Javier Lavagnino, Esq. on May 27, 2009 12:07 PM

Former NBA star Jayson Williams might finally be doing some jail time, and it may be due to his recent behavior as much as the convictions hanging over his head. Briefly recapping the sad, long-running story of Jayson Williams, he was accused of aggravated manslaughter in the fatal shooting of his driver, Costas Christofi, in 2002 (the AP story has more of the details). Although Williams ended up getting acquitted of that charge, he did get convicted for covering up the fatal shooting, and there was a mistrial on a reckless manslaughter count.

Despite Williams' convictions, the judge in the case delayed sentencing pending his retrial for reckless manslaughter. Further complicating the issue of actually sentencing Williams are allegations of racial bias against the prosecution. The AP noted that in 2007 it was discovered that "an investigator in the prosecutor's office used a racial slur to describe Williams in 2002." Defense attorneys for Williams have since been trying to have the cover-up convictions overturned (presumably to the great annoyance of prosecutors).

However, matters have gone steeply downhill for Williams this year, with his wife filing for divorce, police using a Taser on an allegedly suicidal Williams at a hotel, and an arrest stemming from a barfight. Perhaps not surprisingly, New Jersey prosecutors are jumping on this opportunity stating, "[Williams]'s escalating acts of unlawful and aberrant behavior must incur consequences that he has thus far evaded as the clear result of never having been sentenced on his convictions."

On the other hand, Williams' estranged wife, Tanya Young Williams, apparently may feel he needs jailing less than he needs some psychiatric help, per the New York Daily News. Of course, the ongoing divorce proceedings might give her a different reason for making that claim, but considering Williams' recent string of activities, as well as their background, some might still be inclined to agree with her.