Jayson Williams to Remain Free on Bail

By BETH DeFALCO
|  Monday, Jun 22, 2009  |  Updated 10:37 AM CDT
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Williams played nine seasons in the NBA for the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets until his retirement in 2000.

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Former New Jersey Nets and St. John's star Jayson Williams will remain free on bail.
    
A judge in New Jersey Monday rejected a prosecutor's request to revoke Williams' bail and send him to prison for covering up the shooting of a hired driver more than seven years ago.

The judge says Williams, 41, hasn't been convicted of anything since his 2004 trial. The judge also denied a request to increase his bail.
    
The prosecution argued that Williams no longer lives in New Jersey and is going through a divorce in which his estranged wife has claimed he's abusive and had a drug problem. Prosecutors also pointed to an April incident in which police used a stun gun on Williams during an altercation in a New York hotel room. And in May, Williams was arrested in North Carolina and charged with assault for allegedly punching someone in a barroom dispute.

Williams has been free on bail since the 2002 killing of the driver, 55-year-old Costas Christofi. Witnesses said Williams took a loaded 12-gauge shotgun from a cabinet in his bedroom in front of several people and cracked it open, then snapped it closed. The gun fired once, hitting Christofi in the chest.

Williams was acquitted of an aggravated manslaughter charge, but convicted on four counts of trying to cover up the shooting.

Sentencing has been delayed pending his retrial on the reckless manslaughter count.

Williams began his NBA career with the Philadelphia 76ers, but later played seven seasons with the Nets and was one of the team's top players in the 1990s. He'd averaged about 15 points per game in three seasons at St. John's after playing at Christ the King High School in Queens.

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