NBA Star Jayson Williams Faces 3 Years in Plea Deal

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Former New Jersey Nets star Jayson Williams will cut a deal that could send him to prison for three years for the accidental shooting of his driver nearly eight years ago, according to a report.

The reported deal could resolve all charges stemming from the 2002 shooting at Williams' New Jersey estate in a case that has dragged out for nearly eight years. 

The former Nets standout and St. John's University fan favorite who retired in 2000 after playing in the NBA for nine seasons must serve at least 18 months because a gun was involved in the crime. He will likely plead guilty to aggravated assault tomorrow, a source told the Associated Press. 

The jury on his 2002 trial was deadlocked over the manslaughter count and convicted him of covering up the shooting. Williams, who played for the Philly 76ers as well as the Nets, had remained free on bail.

According to witnesses, Williams was showing off a shotgun in his bedroom and snapped the weapon shut when it fired a shot, striking driver Costas Christofi and killing him. He then put the gun in the driver's hands and told everyone in the room to lie about the incident, witnesses said.

The defense said the shooting was an accident and that Williams panicked.

Williams went from the hardscrabble streets of the Lower East Side where he would dribble a basketball up the stairs of his high-rise apartment and shrug off criticism of his speech impediment to one of the city's top ball players in high school. Despite the death of his two sisters, both felled by AIDS, the young phenom went on to be a stand-out ball player at St. John's University.

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