Thursday , Apr , 22 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Prosecutor’s illness delays closings in Williams case

Somerville, NJ (Sports Network) – The illness of a prosecuting attorney in the
Jayson Williams manslaughter trial has delayed closing arguments for the case
until next week.

Summations scheduled for Thursday have been postponed until Monday because
Hunterdon County assistant prosecutor Katharine Errickson is ill. Jury
deliberations will begin on Tuesday.

Last Thursday, Superior Court Judge Edward M. Coleman rejected a defense
argument to dismiss all charges due to an evidence dispute. The defense
claimed prosecutors intentionally withheld evidence, a charge the prosecution
denied.

Williams’ defense team was seeking a mistrial over the evidence dispute,
which started when the prosecution said it had discovered photos and notes
from its weapons expert that it was obligated to send to the defense months
ago.

Williams is facing multiple charges, including aggravated manslaughter, in the
shooting death of limousine driver Costas “Gus” Christofi on February 14,
2002. He faces 55 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

Evidence about Williams’ shotgun is key to the defense, which claims that the
gun misfired when Williams snapped it shut while showing friends his mansion
in early February.

The 36-year-old Williams is accused of recklessly handling the gun that
killed Christofi and then trying to make the shooting look self-inflicted.
Williams told all the guests they must agree the shooting was a suicide, and
he wanted them to lie to police.

Two witnesses eventually reached a deal with prosecutors to testify against
Williams to avoid charges of tampering with evidence and lying to
investigators.

The 6-foot-10 Williams spent nine years in the NBA, averaging 7.3 points and
7.5 rebounds. His career ended in 1999 when he broke his right leg and injured
his right knee.

NJ