N.J. – Attorney General Paula T. Dow
and Criminal Justice Director Stephen J.
Taylor announced that former NBA basketball
player Jayson Williams was sentenced to
state prison today in the shooting death
of limousine driver Costas “Gus”
Christofi in 2002.
to Director Taylor, Williams was sentenced
to five years in state prison, including
18 months of parole ineligibility, by Superior
Court Judge Edward M. Coleman in Somerset
County. The sentence was pursuant to the
plea agreement Williams entered last month
with the Division of Criminal Justice.
pleaded guilty on Jan. 11 to a charge of
aggravated assault by recklessly causing
bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon.
That amended charge, which replaced the
remaining reckless manslaughter charge in
the indictment against Williams, carried
a mandatory sentence of 18 months without
possibility of parole as a gun offense under
the state’s Graves Act.
addition, Judge Coleman ordered Williams
to serve a concurrent sentence of five years
in state prison on the four charges of which
he was convicted at trial in 2004 related
to his attempt to cover up the shooting.
Attorney General Steven B. Farman, who represented
the Division of Criminal Justice at the
sentencing hearing, recommended the five-year
concurrent sentence under the plea agreement.
Williams agreed not to appeal the trial
this sentence, Jayson Williams is being
held accountable for his criminal recklessness
in the death of Mr. Christofi and for his
attempt to cover up the crime,” said
Attorney General Dow. “After eight
years, Williams is finally going to prison
for his senseless crime.”
was convicted at trial of four of the eight
charges in the indictment: tampering with
a witness, tampering with evidence, fabricating
evidence, and hindering apprehension or
prosecution. He was acquitted of aggravated
manslaughter, aggravated assault and possession
of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. The
jury did not reach a verdict on the reckless
manslaughter charge. The Hunterdon County
Prosecutor’s Office handled the trial.
The Attorney General’s Office superseded
the case in October at the prosecutor’s