Jayson Williams was a professional basketball player. He played college basketball at St. John’s University from 1988-1991. In 1991, he was drafted as the second overall pick in the NBA draft by the New Jersey Nets. In 1996, Williams broke his right leg in a motorcycle accident and never returned to form afterward.
In February 2002, he shot and killed a limo driver named Costas “Gus” Christofi with a 12-gauge shotgun while showing it off to friends at his estate in Alexandria Township, near Pine Hill, New Jersey. If convicted of murder, Williams faced 30 years to life imprisonment.
The Wildest Story in Sports History
He played in the NBA for 13 years, winning two championships with the Philadelphia 76ers.
On December 5, 2004, he was arrested outside his home in the Wellington section of Alexandria Township for cocaine possession and drunk driving. He later pleaded guilty to aggravated assault for ramming a man’s head into a mailbox during this arrest.
In 2011, Williams was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame. Later that same year, on February 14th, he shot and killed a limo driver with a shotgun at his estate near Pine Hill in South Jersey.
What happened the night he shot his limo driver to death?
The driver was there to pick up some people who had been at a charity event held by Jayson Williams at his mansion earlier that night. Witnesses stated after the shooting occurred they saw the victim holding both hands up in front of him as if to show he was not armed when the shooting occurred.
After the trial, he has been successfully sued by the murdered man for $2.75 million in 2014. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison on October 20, 2004. The sentence came with 3 years of parole ineligibility. He served out his term at South Woods State Prison before being released in August 2008 to live at home under electronic monitoring until December 2009 when his ankle bracelet was removed.
His final release from parole ended one month early due to good behavior and time served while incarcerated.
What did Jayson Williams do
Jayson Williams has two children, both from a previous marriage. He is currently married to Tanya Young Williams.
Now 44 years old, he lives in Wayne, New Jersey, and runs his charitable foundation (the Jayson Williams Foundation) which helps underprivileged youth get involved in athletics and reach their goals. He also works for ESPN as an analyst on Friday Night Fights.
Since retiring he has had a couple of failed business ventures. Although these are not why everyone remembers him now.
Jayson Williams had already made big headlines several times by the time this incident occurred. He was drafted as the second overall pick in the NBA draft by the New Jersey Nets where he played most of his career before being traded to Philadelphia 76ers for Sam Cassell and Chris Gatling.
While with these two teams he also won two championships each. After retiring from professional basketball, Jayson Williams set up a charitable organization called The Jayson Williams Foundation whose aim is to help underprivileged kids get involved in sports especially hockey which is not so popular yet in some communities. His foundation also offers physical education and mentoring programs.
Although he has been out of the limelight for a while, Jayson Williams is still known for his infamous 2002 shooting accident which took place at his estate of South Jersey where he accidentally (or not) shot his driver in the stomach with a shotgun while drinking alcohol and showing off firearms to friends one night.
It became more famous because both men were black and all their friends present around them that evening was white. Which caused some debate about race relations in New Jersey back then when it happened.
The main reason people remember Jayson Williams now though is because he was sentenced to 5 years in prison on October 20th, 2004 after pleading guilty to aggravated assault six times earlier that year. He also pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in August 2004 when he tried to cover up the shooting instead of calling for help.