Judge refuses to dismiss indictment against Jayson Williams

Updated: August 7, 2003, 5:42 PM ET

FLEMINGTON, N.J. -- A judge refused Thursday to throw out a manslaughter indictment against former NBA star Jayson Williams, who is charged in the shooting death of a limousine driver.

Judge Edward Coleman said defense attorneys failed to prove Williams was a victim of bias or vindictiveness by prosecutors. The same judge denied a similar request in December.

Williams, 35, is accused of recklessly handling a shotgun that killed Costas Christofi on Feb. 14, 2002, at Williams' home in Alexandria Township. He could face nearly 55 years in prison if convicted on all charges, which include aggravated manslaughter, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purposes, aggravated assault, and witness and evidence, tampering.

Also Thursday, the judge granted a defense request that gun manufacturer Browning be ordered to present all records on accidental discharge claims for shotguns since 1980. The gun involved in Christofi's death was a Browning 12-gauge shotgun.

Defense lawyers successfully lobbied for a hearing to examine the reliability of techniques used by a prosecution witness to estimate Williams' blood-alcohol level at the time of the shooting.

The hearing is scheduled for the week of Oct. 6.

Williams' trial is expected to begin in January.

The 6-foot-10 Williams was among the NBA's best rebounders when leg injuries led to his retirement from the New Jersey Nets in 2000. After the shooting, he was suspended from his job as an NBA analyst for NBC.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index