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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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trash collector    

I get it now! If I pick up trash along the road I get a free pass to murder someone.

1600 days ago


He will be in trouble as soon as he gets out of Jail . He has constantly got in trouble since the case ended. I feel sorry for both families.

1600 days ago


PITY PARTY - We should have a national holiday and a statue put on the mall in Washington, DC!!!!!!!!!!

He not will become a saint!!!!!!!

1600 days ago


Come on...end this. Why does the judge have to go through everything again! This has been long enough.

1600 days ago


Stoney, that wasn't a racist comment! How the hell else do you think God gets them out of the toaster? Jesus, if you wait until the automatic pop-up happens they'd be burnt to a crisp! Was he suppose to put them in head first and pull them out by the feet? I guess he could have done that...but God moves in mysterious ways, ya know.

1600 days ago


the attorney for Jayson is a relative of mine and it has been a long hard fought battle i'm sure. The Hayden family has long been involved in legal situations. District Attorneys, lawyers and even a judge in NJ. Very repsectible family I'm sure he is doing his best with what he has to work with.

1600 days ago

Andre J.    

If he was white he wouldn't have gotten anytime. He would have gotten probation for 5 years... Thank god he was a NBA player..

1600 days ago


blah blah blah...just give him the verdict. holy crap. does the judge get paid by the word? he pled guilty....already

1600 days ago


Is she sleep talking?

1600 days ago


to the stupid beotch wearing all the bling, where the f did you think you were going- a casino? Whatta stupid idiot. Its a court room!

1600 days ago


At least he got 5 years. 8 years of fighting the charges proved helpful to him and the time he will serve.

Image 5 years and probably out in 18 months for killing someone.

1600 days ago

Allen Ridak    

Holy Crap!! That was amazing, thanks TMZ.

Did I hear that woman in the audience ( I think it was Costas' mom) say at the end "he's only sorry he got caught"???

1600 days ago


Number I saw her I was like where does she think she is, in a club? That may be wife..soon to be ex.

1600 days ago

joseph cecil smith    

what a disgraceful sham. Jayson Williams KILLED a human being because Jayson was drinking and showing off, and being a low-life carelessly handling a GUN. he killed a man, then covered it up with many people. it's a living outrage that he gets off with 5 years, or 18 months, after 8 years living large since the killing. this is a sick display of wealth and power getting off a criminal.. jayson is no star, he's a killer, albiet not a serial killer, but just a regular lowlife killer.

not many people kill men, even accidentally. My family had guns for 50+ years, and we NEVER shot one accidentally, NEVER pointed it at any man, NEVER killed a man accidentally.

1600 days ago

Mac Ambo    

A fair and equitable resolution to this case. Had there been a retrial, Jayson would have been facing a much greater sentence - and without funds, the possibility of having the Public Defenders office taking over in light of the way his relationship with his unpaid attorneys of 2 years were going, would have been a gamble that no reasonable person would undertake. I'll bet he is paroled after the mandatory 18 months.

1600 days ago
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