Former NBA player Javaris Crittenton pled guilty to manslaughter in the 2011 shooting death of a 22-year-old mother of 4 ... and was sentenced to 23 years in prison.
As we previously reported, Crittenton -- a 1st round pick in the 2007 NBA Draft -- was initially charged with murder for killing Julian Jones in a drive-by shooting in Atlanta.
But Crittenton struck a deal with prosecutors in which he agreed to plead guilty to the lesser voluntary manslaughter with a weapon charge and aggravated assault with a firearm. In exchange, prosecutors dropped the murder charge and Crittenton got 23 years in the clink.
During the hearing, Javaris apologized for the killing -- started to cry -- and said it was all a terrible mistake.
In the past, officials said they believed Javaris was out for retaliation against a rival gang member on the day of the shooting ... but ended up shooting Jones instead, who had just put her kids to bed.