Washington Wizards' Player Javaris Crittenton Pleads Guilty to Weapons Charge

Jan 25, 2010, 17:02 ET from U.S. Department of Justice

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Javaris Crittenton, a 22-year-old member of the NBA's Washington Wizards, has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of possession of an unregistered firearm, U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips and Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy L. Lanier announced today. The guilty plea follows an investigation in which it was determined that Javaris Crittenton had brought a firearm to the Verizon Center in December 2009. This incident followed an argument Crittenton and teammate Gilbert Arenas had on a plane two days earlier.

Crittenton entered his plea this afternoon before Senior Judge Bruce Beaudin in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia. Following the guilty plea, Senior Judge Beaudin sentenced Crittenton to one year of unsupervised probation, and required Crittenton to perform community service through the NBA'S Haiti project, and to further perform community service with a children's organization in Washington, D.C.

"Possessing a firearm unlawfully in the District of Columbia can lead to nothing but trouble and can have serious consequences" said U.S. Attorney Phillips. "We commend Mr. Crittenton for accepting responsibility and hope he fully appreciates the gravity of his actions."

According to the factual proffer presented at the plea hearing, on Dec. 19, 2009, into the early morning hours of Dec. 20, 2009, Crittenton and Arenas became involved in a verbal exchange following a card game. In a heated exchange, Arenas stated he was too old to fistfight and threatened to shoot Crittenton in the face. Crittenton responded that he would shoot Arenas in his surgically-repaired knee. On the shuttle bus from the airplane to the terminal, Arenas further stated that he was going to burn or blow up Crittenton's car when they came to practice the following Monday. According to Crittenton, he believed that Arenas intended to harm him.

On Dec. 21, 2009, at approximately 9:00 a.m., Crittenton arrived at the Verizon Center, 601 F Street N.W., Washington, D.C., to receive medical treatment and attend Wizards' practice. According to Crittenton, before he left his home in Virginia for practice that day, Crittenton had placed a lawfully owned, unloaded handgun into his backpack because he believed that Arenas would carry out his threat to shoot him that day.

Once Crittenton entered the Wizards' locker room, he put his backpack in his locker and went to a separate room to see team trainers and medical personnel. When Crittenton returned to the locker room, he saw Arenas walking away from the area in front of Crittenton's locker. On the chair located directly in front of Crittenton's locker, Arenas had placed several handguns with a piece of paper with the message "PICK 1." According to Crittenton, he believed that Arenas intended Crittenton to select a firearm with which Arenas would carry out his threat to shoot Crittenton. Arenas has claimed he placed the guns on Crittenton's chair as part of a practical joke.

Crittenton asked Arenas "[w]hat is this?" and told him to get the guns off his chair, picking up one of the firearms by its extended clip and tossing it along the floor away from his chair. According to Crittenton, he feared for his own safety, so he told Arenas he had his own gun. Crittenton took his handgun out of his backpack and, without pointing it at anyone, showed it to Arenas, holding it below his waist pointed downward.

There is no evidence that Crittenton's firearm was loaded when he pulled it out of his backpack or that Crittenton ever loaded the firearm with ammunition. There also is no evidence that Crittenton ever chambered a round, pulled back the hammer, raised or pointed the firearm, or otherwise brandished the firearm in a threatening manner at any time during this incident. After deciding that Arenas did not intend to shoot Crittenton at that time, Crittenton placed his firearm back in his backpack and went from the locker room to the trainer's room.

Crittenton arranged for the voluntary surrender of the firearm involved in this incident, an unloaded silver and black nine millimeter semi-automatic Taurus with magazine, which is now in possession of law enforcement. Crittenton, who was 21 years old at the time of the incident, has no criminal record, has never been arrested, and has been cooperative and forthcoming with law enforcement.

Gilbert Arenas plead guilty in connection with this case on Jan. 15, 2010, to carrying a pistol without a license before Judge Robert Morin in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia. Arenas is scheduled to be sentenced before Judge Morin on March 26, 2010.

In announcing today's guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Phillips praised the work of MPD Detectives Robbie Saunders, Timothy Smith and Joseph Oh, Officer Jeff Janczyk, and Sergeant James Black of MPD's Intelligence Branch. He also acknowledged the efforts of members of his own staff including investigators Christopher Brophy and Larry Grasso, paralegal Kalisha Johnson-Clark and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Kavanaugh, who handled the investigation and prosecution of this matter.

SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice