Baxter sentenced to two months in jail
WASHINGTON -- Former NBA player Lonny Baxter was sentenced Wednesday to two months in jail after pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges of carrying a gun a few blocks from the White House.
Baxter, who played with the Charlotte Bobcats last season, has been in jail since his arrest Aug. 16, when uniformed Secret Service officers responded to reports of shots being fired from a white sport utility vehicle.
Officers found a gun and spent shell casings in the SUV that Baxter was driving. The 27-year-old player and his passenger, Francis I. Martin, 35, were charged with carrying a handgun without a license and other firearms charges. Prosecutors dropped the case against Martin on Wednesday.
Baxter appeared Wednesday before District of Columbia Superior Court judge Craig Iscoe and apologized for the "careless, selfish, stupid act that I committed."
Iscoe sentenced the former Maryland star to nine months in jail, then suspended all but 60 days. Baxter also was fined $2,000, plus court costs, and put on probation for 18 months. Sentencing for a felony charge was deferred until August 2007 under a plea agreement with prosecutors. To avoid further jail time then, Baxter must not own or possess any guns and avoid any arrests.
Iscoe said he imposed the jail sentence because of Baxter's previous firearms charge. In July 2004, Baxter was arrested at his Washington condominium after his shotgun went off and a bullet shattered a neighbor's window across the street. No one was injured.
Baxter, a native of Silver Spring, Md., had been scheduled to play this fall with Montepaschi Siena, a pro team in Italy. But that could be in jeopardy.
Several hours before Baxter was sentenced, Siena general manager Ferdinando Minucci said: "If (Baxter) arrives soon there won't be any problems. But if he can't come for a month or two, we can't wait that long. The season starts in October."
The judge indicated in court that Baxter might be allowed to leave the country during his probation. The final terms of Baxter's probation will be determined later, defense attorneys said.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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