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Jayson Williams Sentenced - 5 Years Behind Bars

2/23/2010 10:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Former NBA star Jayson Williams was just sentenced to five years in prison for the 2002 shooting death of his limo driver, Costas Christofi, and will be available for parole after 18 months.

Jayson Williams Sentenced - 5 Years Behind Bars

During the hearing, Christofi's sister held up a photo of him, while a rep for the family stood up and said Jayson had never apologized to the family for killing Christofi. The rep begged the judge to make Jayson serve all five years in prison without probation.

Jayson eventually stood up, teary-eyed, and apologized to them ... along with his own family, church and the NBA.

Jayson was eventually handcuffed and taken out of the courtroom. We're told he'll be taken to the Hunterdon County Correctional Facility ... where he could remain for weeks until he's moved to his permanent lodging.

We were live inside Somerset County Courthouse in New Jersey during Jayson's sentencing this morning, below are the highlights from the hearing ... video to follow.

UPDATE 9:35 AM ET: It has begun. The prosecutor just asked the judge to sentence Jayson to 5 years behind bars with a minimum of 18 months with parole. The prosecutor told the judge Jayson has a "dark side."

UPDATE 9:44 AM ET: The prosecutor asked the judge to take in consideration Jayson was convicted in 2004 of 4 "cover up" charges related to the shooting.

UPDATE 10:11 AM ET: Christofi's sister just held up a photo of her brother, while a rep for the family stood up and said Jayson has never shown remorse over the shooting, and has never apologized to her family. The rep said Jayson should have to serve all five years without parole.

: Jayson's lawyer is up now. He's explaining about how hard Jayson's life has been ... including the deaths of his sisters from AIDS. He's also talking about Jayson's charity work and donations.

UPDATE 11:00 AM ET: Jayson just stood up and apologized to Christofi's family. He said he knows there's nothing he can do to bring him back. Jayson teared up, and apologized to his family, his church and the NBA.

UPDATE 11:03 AM ET: The judge is addressing Jayson directly. He thanks him for the apologies ... but said Jayson will pay the price for his actions.

: The judge just sentenced Jayson to 5 years in prison, with parole available after 18 months. Jayson has 45 days to appeal. Jayson was just taken out of the courtroom in handcuffs.

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Aggravated assault - WOW.. the Christofi family should be aggravated..Guess some people just get away with murder for tossing a ball in a basket..such a great contribution to society.

1647 days ago


Why has it taken 8 years for this case?

1647 days ago


To #11 - I was wondering about the white spot twins as well?? Perhaps it's a signature style trend.

1647 days ago


Good Conduct? Have you seen his record since 2002?

5 years is a small price to pay for taking someone's whole life. Just sayin ....

1647 days ago


He's black of course he'll get the max. Black men are convicted more and sentanced longer for the same crimes...FACT! I'm talking about regular folks mind you not celebs so he might get an OJ break.

1647 days ago


I thought double jeopardy applied to this case or was it a hung jury I dont remember but they were gonna get this dude regardless. Dont play with guns kids.

1647 days ago


i dont live in the us so i'm not really used to ur laws and court processes, but if he doesnt get the max it will scream that there is a massive problem with ur justice system.

1647 days ago


I wonder if the boys are taking bets on who is gonna get a piece of that first. He's gonna make someone a real pretty boyfriend while in jail. POS.

1647 days ago

becca cole    

people he didnt just kill him ! he was giving a tour of his house o people from his charitable organisaztion, d decesed was the driver that brought them. The shot gun went off mistakenly, he didnt point the gun and boom shot the guy. this has nothing to do wih him being a famous NBA player, its the law. The family that just read all this things about him already collceted $2.75 million dollars !( u can check wilikipedia) it was not an intentional incident, it could have happened to anyone, star or not

1647 days ago

oliver 61    

who cares about his sisters and how generous he was to homeless boys in newark? he's a murderer, send his ass to freaking jail.

1647 days ago


Its kinda sickening to have his lawyer go on and on about how bad his life was and what good he did since, fact is he killed someone,and has been out for 8 years, walking talking breathing, his victim is dead.

1647 days ago


Jason fought a long and costly battle to avoid the incident going to trial rather then admit his guild and responsibility.

Was he doing charity work of any substance before the incidence.

Jason repeatedly acted out with poor judgment over the years and now his attorney is attempting to make Jason out to be a sympathetic down on his luck guy.....NOT.

1647 days ago


i like how a murderer has gangster attitude when the the Prosecuter speeks and shows no remorse..however, when the Defense speaks he plays the role of the victem..he needs to be in jail for at least 20-25yrs..don't do the crime if you can't the time..all of his history is irrelevant and has no bearing on the actions he has commited. He SHOT and KILLED someone. We all have been through LIFE and it's hardships - this does not give me or anyone the right to take a LIFE. How would you feel if this was a close family member or friend...???

1647 days ago


I didn't ask a racist question Wombat. What's wrong with you?

1647 days ago


Jayson's tough life? Give me a break!

1647 days ago
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