Javaris Crittenton, a former NBA player and one time Georgia Tech basketball star, was indicted Tuesday on a slew of murder and gang charges.
Javaris Crittenton, 25, and his cousin, Douglas Gamble, were charged in a 12-count indictment in the death of Julian Jones from Atlanta and the attempted murder of a man, the Fulton County District Attorney’s office said.
Julian Jones, a 22-year-old mother of four, was gunned down in a drive-by shooting in southwest Atlanta while walking with a group of people in August 2011. Authorities say that incident and a second shooting were gang-related.
Officials say the shootings may have been retaliation after Javaris Crittenton was the victim of a robbery in which $50,000 worth of jewelry was stolen.
In April 2011, Javaris Crittenton was robbed at gunpoint of a diamond watch, a diamond necklace, an iPhone and other valuables, and prosecutors say the NBA player was determined to avenge the heist.
Javaris Crittenton, a former Georgia Tech guard, was a first-round draft pick of the Lakers in 2007 and has also played for the Washington Wizards and Memphis Grizzlies.
The sportsman was suspended for 38 games during the 2009-10 season for pulling a gun in the Wizards’ locker room.
While nursing an injury, Javaris Crittenton and Gilbert Arenas were involved in a dispute stemming from a card game on a team flight.
Gilbert Arenas brought four guns to the locker room and set them in front of Javaris Crittenton’s locker with a sign telling him to “PICK 1”.
Javaris Crittenton then took out his own gun.
He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge on January 25, 2010, and received probation.
After being released on bond in the 2011 shooting, Javaris Crittenton was arrested in February 2012 for speeding in the Atlanta suburb of Riverdale and refusing to get out of his Porsche when police told him to. Authorities said he also refused to sign his speeding ticket.
Javaris Crittenton’s attorney, Brian Steel, says his client is not guilty in the shooting.
“Mr. Crittenton and I look forward to proceeding to a jury trial, where the jury will be able to hear and see all of the evidence and reach a lawful, just, and proper verdict of not guilty,” Brian Steel said Tuesday night, adding that he disputes the notion the ex-NBA player was involved in any gang activity.
Prosecutors say Javaris Crittenton joined the notorious Mansfield Gangster Crips, a Los Angeles gang, shortly after being drafted by the Lakers.
“This is very concerning to our office that gang activity extends beyond the street level, but actually ventures into professional sports and what type of message that actually extends to the young people here in the city of Atlanta,” said Fulton County Assistant District Attorney Gabe Banks, according to Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
On August 19, 2011, police say Julian Jones was walking with a group of people outside her Macon Drive home in southeast Atlanta when she was shot in the hip in a drive-by shooting. The woman later died during surgery.
Authorities believe Javaris Crittenton was in the black Chevrolet Tahoe and that he was retaliating for the April 21 jewellery robbery in which he believed a person on the sidewalk was responsible.
Initial reports suggested Julian Jones was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Later reports said she knew the two men.
Two men with Julian Jones fled and were not injured, and investigators believe one of those men was the intended target.
Julian Jones’ boyfriend of ten years, Harel Butler, told AJC he planned to propose to her the same night she was shot.
Less than a week before Julian Jones’ death, authorities say the NBA player shot at but missed Demontinez Stephens, the brother of a man believed to be a member of a local Bloods gang affiliate called R.O.C. Crew.
Prosecutors also believe that while running with the Mansfield gang, Javaris Crittenton was a witness to another murder in California, the fact of which may come out during the trial.
He has been free on $230,000 bond since his 2011 arrest.
Javaris Crittenton, an Atlanta native, was a standout at Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy and later went on to average 14.4 points per game at Georgia Tech before being selected 19th overall by the Lakers, Patch Cascade reported.
As a college freshman, Javaris Crittenton helped lead Georgia Tech to a 20-12 record and a spot in the NCAA Tournament in 2007 before going pro the following year, according to WSB-TV.
During his two seasons with the NBA, Javaris Crittenton averaged 5.3 points per game in a total of 113 games played with three different teams.