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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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Jayson's lawyer is 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.

So that makes it OK to kill someone.

I wish Jayson would get AIDS. Have fun in the big house JayJay.

1700 days ago


Hey #39 - That is extremely racist. The fact that he was black, gave him an edge. How many NBA name drops did you count. If he was a white boy - he would have gone down for 20yrs.. Stop it with that BS..that guy is getting the VIP service..Take your racism somewhere else..

1700 days ago


First off, he didn't murder the man. The shooting was not deliberate and there was no malice toward the victim. It was accidental and the result of drunken stupidity and consequent poor choices. I feel sorry for both families.

He obviously has a problem with alcohol and with all that he has been through, I can understand why he might have been tempted to turn to the bottle for help.

On another note-what is with all of the repugnant racist comments? If you don't have anything valid to leave as a comment then piss off.

1700 days ago


There are many more people behind bars and for much longer sentences than Jayson received for doing drugs and only hurting themselves. We need to retink our priorities as a society.

1700 days ago


Y U ahl B'z piken onda brudda ? He'z unli doins wutz he'z wuz tougt bi da peeps dat birtded hym. Wez ahl gotsta B dankfool dat dis piez ofa feces haz myt eh jus faet. et wud hev bin betta ifa hez axed 2 B lef ehlon witz eh hawyte womanz B4 goinz 2 jeil.

1700 days ago


Lesson to all the idiots out there: do not compound a problem by commint another wrong.
Jayson could/should have man up immediately after the incident. He would have done his time long ago. Instead he tried to cimmit another worng by trying to cover up the incident.

People take a page from David Letterman's book: confess your sins right away, especially if you what you did was an accident.

BTW - how come Vick got 23 months compared to Jayson's 18?
And Vick killed animals not a human being!
Especially when the normal time for dogfighting is 6months. Someting for all the people with the racist remarks to think about!

1700 days ago


Maybe now Jayson will have serious time to reflect and get his life together. I feel that he is truly hurting inside for his wreckless behavior that lead to the death of a wonderful man. That type of guilt is truly hard to deal with, especially when you are accustomed to having everything your way. I hope both families can finally have some peace.

God Bless Us All!

1700 days ago

Lenn K.    

I am soo amazed how race is always the first comment out of some people mouth if the person isn't white. This is not about race, it's a power and money. If Donald Trump did this it would about a rich guy not a rich white guy. Jayson Williams is going to jail, but that not the only thing that's happen to him, he's lost everything and that's a good thing. Gus's family got 2 million dollars, that won't bring back Gus, but it's more than most people get when someone kills their love one.

1700 days ago


Wow...where was this judge during the OJ trial??

1700 days ago


Well..I don't know all the details of this case...but it sounds like it was due to reckless behavior. It all goes to intent. Obviously they could not prove that Jayson had intent to kill this person. That is why the aggrivated assault charge, it was due to his reckless behavior that ended with his driver dead. So he did get the maximum for that, 5yrs is exactly what the prosecutor was asking for and Jayson got it. I doubt very much that he will be out in 18 months, he is only eligible for parol after 18 months, doesnt mean he will get it.

For those saying race played a role. It just amazes me how white people are always being blamed by black people of being racist, yet, if you read the comments it is usually always black people that are playing the race card. Wake up..race played no role in this, neither did his star status. He got the maximum. Any white person would have also. It doesn't matter your color...if anything Jayson was able to pay for lawyers that a regular person like you or I could likely not afford. So, money does play a role sadly. Those that can afford top lawyers are more likely to get off or lesser sentences. I am white and not famous, and I can guarantee if it were me, the charge probibly would have been manslaughter, meaning, no intent, so no murder charge, but he was lucky in that his high paid lawyers, were able to get the lesser charge of aggrivated assault instead of manslaughter. Either that or the prosecution just didnt have enough evidence to go for manslaughter. But lets be clear...race no role...fame no big role...i predict he will do at least 2 and half yrs before being parolled...Lets hope he uses his time wisely, and is able to turn himself around...As far as the vic analogy..they very seldom get an animal cruelty case that is high profile and garners alot of press, so they definatley made an example of Vic to get a message out there...if it were you or I, we likely would not have gotten as steep a punishment as Vic. Sometimes status plays into your hand as a positive, but, sometimes it does the opposite and is detrimental.

1700 days ago


If Socialized medicine is so great and wonderful, then why is the Canadian Premier opting for the U.S. healthcare system instead?

More liberal lies and propaganda being exposed as the frauds that they are. Liberalism continues to fail and it's beautiful

1700 days ago


#59 So True. My daughter is a lead at her highschool for OSAID. A students against Impared driving. She was in the mock crash they did, and video. It has made a huge diff. at her school. They did a very graphic piece and the students, including guys were in tears. You are so right that they should show video of real cases that involve alcohol, not only driving, but also sadly, things like this, ppl dying. It would show even more reasons to kids not to get involved with drugs and alcohol, not just driving!!!

1700 days ago


At least they were blinded by his stardom... once a street thug .. always a street thug! I love that he is broke and in prison. He deserves this for taking a hard working mans life. hope someones hits that dirt ditch with a 10 incher while he is in prison lol

1700 days ago


They gonna have fun with that pretty boy in prison. Assume the position or get your ass kicked.

1700 days ago


I am a Correction Officer in NJ where Jason Williams was sentence he will do a mandatory 85% of his 5 years So I don't know where the media gets this 18 months and he's out of prison. Not going to happen

1700 days ago
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