By Keith L. Alexander and Mike Wise
WAshington Post Staff Writers
Monday, January 25, 2010; 4:20 PM
Wizards reserve guard Javaris Crittenton pleaded guilty in D.C. Superior Court on Monday to a misdemeanor gun possession charge stemming from his locker room confrontation with Gilbert Arenas at the Verizon Center last month.
As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors agreed to drop a second misdemeanor charge and recommend a sentence of probation. Senior Judge Bruce Beaudin on Monday agreed with the prosecutor's suggestion and sentenced Crittenton to one year of unsupervised probation and $1,250 in fines. Crittenton also agreed to begin a mentoring program to District children and work with the NBA on relief for Haiti earthquake victims.
Crittenton, 22, was charged this afternoon with unlawful possession of a firearm and attempting to carry a pistol without a license, both misdemeanors. Each charge carried a maximum year in jail.
Crittenton's attorney, in a statement, acknowledged the plea deal. "Mr. Crittenton, who was 21 years old at the time of this incident, has never before been arrested or charged with any crime, and with today's misdemeanor plea to possession of an unregistered firearm, accepts responsibility for his conduct," the lawyer, Peter White, said. "He looks forward to explaining his actions to the NBA and returning to the basketball court as soon as possible."
Crittenton said in court that he took Arenas's threats seriously and brought the gun into the Verizon Center for protection.
Arenas, 28, pleaded guilty to a felony charge earlier this month and faces sentencing March 26. As part of Arenas's plea agreement, prosecutors agreed not to seek more than six months in jail. The NBA has suspended Arenas indefinitely without pay.
Prosecutors say on Dec. 19, the team flew on a chartered flight to the Washington area from Phoenix. Arenas and Crittenton got into an argument over a card game. Crittenton suggested a fistfight. But Arenas said he was too old to fight and instead said he would burn Crittenton's vehicle or shoot him in the face. Crittenton then told Arenas he would "shoot the [expletive]" out of Arenas and shoot Arenas in his surgically repaired left knee, prosecutors said. Arenas later told Wizards employees that he was joking about the threats.
On Dec. 21, about 9:30 a.m., Arenas arrived at the Verizon Center for practice. He came into the locker room wearing a black backpack with a silver Smith & Wesson .500 magnum revolver inside. He then placed four guns on the chair directly in front of Crittenton's locker. Arenas wrote "PICK 1" on a piece of paper and placed it on Crittenton's chair near the guns. Arenas said he also was joking about that.
When Crittenton saw the guns, he said, "What is this?"
Arenas told Crittenton, "You said you were going to shoot me, so pick one." Crittenton said he did not need Arenas's guns because he had his own, prosecutors said in court papers. Crittenton picked up one of the guns from the chair and threw it across the locker room. Crittenton then displayed his own silver-colored, semiautomatic handgun, prosecutors said.
White, in his statement, said Crittenton felt threatened. "There has been a great deal of misinformation published about this event and about Javaris Crittenton," White said. "Mr. Crittenton brought a lawfully owned, unloaded handgun into Washington, D.C. only because he legitimately feared for his life. The government's proffer of facts to be filed today acknowledges that his handgun was not loaded and that he never threatened anyone with it. The gun was legally purchased, but bringing it into the District, even for self defense, violated the city's strict gun control laws."
Crittenton is a 6-foot-5 point guard who hasn't played this season because of injury. The Wizards have declined to pick up his fourth-year option, making him a free agent next summer.
On Jan. 14, Arlington and D.C. police searched Crittenton's home looking for the gun, according to sources familiar with the investigation and court papers. Police did not find the gun or seize any other evidence at his Arlington home, Crittenton's attorney and the court papers said at the time.
Staff writer Michael Lee contributed to this report.