ATLANTA (AP) - A former NBA player who is accused of shooting an Atlanta woman to death appeared to be retaliating for being robbed of $55,000 worth of jewelry, police said.
Javaris Crittenton, who was suspended from the NBA along with his ex-teammate Gilbert Arenas for having guns in a locker room, was arrested late Monday at a Southern California airport. He has been charged with murder in the Aug. 19 shooting death of Jullian Jones outside her house in Atlanta, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
Crittenton’s attorneys have said he will exonerated.
Crittenton told police he and a friend were leaving a barbershop around 10:50 p.m. April 21 when two teenagers surprised them as they returned to their car, according to police report released to The Associated Press.
One teenager held Crittenton at gunpoint and ordered him to “give me what you got,” he told police. He said he handed over a $25,000 black diamond necklace, a $30,000 black diamond watch, an iPhone and $25 cash, according to the report.
Jane Robison of the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said prosecutors expect to charge Crittenton Wednesday with being a fugitive from justice and he may be arraigned later that day.
An Atlanta Police spokeswoman said the timetable for Crittenton’s return depends on whether he waives extradition.
Jones, a 23-year-old mother of four, was outside her house with 18-year-old Trontavious Stephens when a black Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid pulled up and opened fire. Authorities have said they don’t believe Jones was the intended target, but they haven’t said who they think the gunman was after.
Stephens told The Associated Press he had never met Crittenton and wasn’t involved in the robbery.
“I didn’t know him at all,” said Stephens. “I didn’t know he existed and he didn’t know I existed. I hadn’t seen him a day in my life when he pulled up and started shooting.”
Crittenton’s defense attorney Eldridge Suggs said his client wasn’t in the vehicle and was eager to clear his name. Brian Steel, another attorney who says he represents Crittenton, didn’t return several phone calls and emails Tuesday, but said earlier that his client would be exonerated.
Family and friends of Jones set up a makeshift memorial for her on the side of the road where she was gunned down. June Woods, her adoptive mother, said Jones was a hard-working mother of four who spent her days working at a fast food restaurant and nights caring for her four children, she said.
“She wasn’t involved in any trouble. She tried to keep herself away from trouble,” said Woods. “I don’t understand why it happened. I don’t know why. Her kids could have been outside. They could have been shot. I’m still looking for that one answer to that one question: Why?”
Crittenton was with the Washington Wizards in December 2009 when he and Arenas had a dispute over a card game. Two days later, Arenas brought four guns to the locker room and set them in front of Crittenton’s locker with a sign telling him to “PICK 1.” Crittenton then took out his own gun.
Crittenton pleaded guilty in January 2010 to a misdemeanor gun charge and received a year of unsupervised probation. Arenas entered his guilty plea on Jan. 15, 2010. He served a short time in a halfway house.