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Former NBA star sells estate for $8 million

11/1/2005 - NBA

NEWARK, N.J. -- Former NBA star Jayson Williams got $8 million for the sale of his estate, where a hired driver was shot to death more than three years ago.
The price for the 27,000 square foot mansion, set on 65 acres,
is a record for a single-family home in Hunterdon County, The
Star-Ledger of Newark reported Tuesday.
The buyer is John Lionetti, of Colts Neck, owner of Lorca
Petroleum Services in Elizabeth. Williams signed papers on Oct. 13
in Beaufort County, S.C., where he and his wife Tanya own a home in
Hilton Head, the newspaper said.
A Williams spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment
from The Associated Press.
Williams and his wife appeared in New Jersey on Oct. 18 to hear
his lawyers argue that he should not be retried on a reckless
manslaughter charge stemming from the fatal shooting because a jury
already acquitted him of three other charges resulting from the
same shotgun blast.
Williams, 37, has remained free on bail since his April 30,
2004, conviction on four charges relating to a failed attempt to
cover up the killing.
While the Somerset County jury acquitted him of the most serious
charges, including aggravated manslaughter, it could not reach a
verdict on a reckless manslaughter charge. Prosecutors are seeking
a retrial.
The shooting happened early Feb. 14, 2002, while Williams was
giving friends and driver Costas "Gus" Christofi a tour of the
estate in Alexandria Township. While in the master bedroom,
Williams took a 12-gauge shotgun from a case and snapped it closed,
according to testimony. It fired once, hitting the 55-year-old
Christofi in the chest. Christofi died within minutes.
Williams, who had retired as the New Jersey Nets center in 2000,
then wiped down the weapon and placed it in the wounded man's
hands, stripped off his own clothes, handed them to a friend and
jumped into his indoor pool, testimony revealed.
The Williams defense maintained the shooting was an accident,
and that he panicked afterward.
The sentencing on the four cover-up charges has been on hold
until the retrial issue and other matters are resolved. Williams
also plans to appeal those convictions. Collectively, the four
charges carry up to 13 years in prison, but the actual term could
range from probation to about five years. Reckless manslaughter
carries up to 10 years in prison.
Williams and his father helped build the mansion in 1997.