SOMERVILLE, N.J. – Former NBA star Jayson Williams (search) will be retried on reckless manslaughter charges in the death of a limousine driver two years ago, a prosecutor said Friday.
The announcement, which was expected by the victim's family and legal experts, came less than a month after a jury delivered a mixed verdict in Williams' trial.
The judge set a tentative trial date for Jan. 10, 2005.
The former NBA All-Star was cleared of aggravated assault and a weapons charge, but convicted on four counts stemming from a failed effort to conceal the shotgun shooting of Costas "Gus" Christofi.
Williams' defense maintained the shooting was an accident, and that the weapon misfired.
Christofi, 55, was among a group of friends and Harlem Globetrotters (search) touring Williams' mansion in the early hours of Feb. 14, 2002.
He had driven some of the players from their hotel to a late dinner at a restaurant with Williams and his friends, and then took some of them to the estate.
Williams, 36, has remained free on bail. Because of the possibility of retrial, state Superior Court Judge Edward M. Coleman set no sentencing date on the four convictions, including witness and evidence tampering.
Collectively, the four charges carry up to 13 years in prison. The actual term on those charges could range from probation to about five years, the maximum for the most serious count. Williams lawyers plan to appeal the convictions.
Testimony in the 12-week trial showed that Williams took a loaded shotgun from a cabinet in his bedroom, cracked it open, turned, uttered an obscenity at Christofi and snapped the weapon closed. It fired once, sending 12 pellets into Christofi's chest. He died within minutes.
Several witnesses testified that Williams then wiped down the shotgun and placed it in the victim's hands.
The houseguests also testified that Williams persuaded them to tell authorities that they were downstairs at the time of the shooting, and that Christofi shot himself.
Defense lawyers asserted that Williams was so distraught afterward he could not organize a cover-up.
Williams retired from the New Jersey Nets (search) in 2000 due to leg injuries.