Cleveland Cavaliers guard Delonte West pleads guilty to weapons charges

By Ruben Castaneda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 16, 2010

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Delonte West pleaded guilty Thursday to two weapons charges and was sentenced by a Prince George's County judge to eight months of home detention, two months of probation and 40 hours of community service.

The sentence, which was part of a plea bargain and begins July 26, will allow him to play this NBA season.

West had been charged with six weapons offenses and two traffic violations. He pleaded guilty to carrying a dangerous weapon -- an eight-inch bowie knife -- and illegally transporting a handgun.

At a court hearing in Upper Marlboro, West's attorney, C. Todd M. Steuart, said his client was taking the weapons from his mother's home in Brandywine to his house in Fort Washington when he was stopped by a Prince George's police officer on the Capital Beltway in the Landover area, miles away from either home.

West was carrying two handguns, a shotgun, the knife and more than 100 shotgun rounds.

West told Circuit Court Judge Graydon S. McKee III that he felt remorse for the incident. "I want you to know how apologetic I am to you and all the other professionals in here who do the right thing," he said. West said he often speaks to Washington area youth who have been in trouble. "I'm able to share my experiences with them," he said. "I'm able to relate to them. If I never dribble a basketball again, I think I found my calling."

Following the hearing, State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey said the sentence will allow West to travel to Cleveland for his job with the Cavaliers. West will be allowed to attend practices, home games and away games, Ivey said.

Prince George's prosecutors typically ask for a year in jail for defendants convicted of a weapons offense. Judges usually sentence defendants with no prior convictions -- such as West -- to probation or home detention, Ivey said. The terms of West's plea bargain ensure he is being treated no differently than any other defendant in similar circumstances, Ivey said.

The judge also ordered West to undergo counseling and alcohol screening, and West also will be in unsupervised probation for two years. West also will have to wear an electronic bracelet, and officials did not know whether he would be required to wear it during games.

West pleaded guilty in connection with an incident that occurred about 10 p.m. Sept. 17 as he was traveling north on the Capital Beltway on a three-wheeled motorcycle.

Authorities said West cut off a county police canine officer, who pulled him over near Route 214 in Prince George's County.

As the officer approached, West told him he had a handgun in his waistband, officials said. The officer called for backup and searched West and his vehicle.

Three guns were found -- a 9mm Beretta in West's waistband, a Ruger .357 Magnum strapped to his leg, and a 12-gauge shotgun in a guitar case slung over his back, authorities said.

West also had additional shotgun shells in a backpack, investigators said.

It was not clear why West was so heavily armed. Shortly after his arrest, West's father, Dmitri West, said in an interview his son was "looking behind his back and protecting himself."

West is a 6-foot-3, 180-pound shooting guard. He graduated from Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt in 2001, the same year he was named The Post's All-Met Player of the Year. West played at Saint Joseph's and was drafted 24th overall by the Boston Celtics in 2004. West was traded from the Seattle SuperSonics to the Cavaliers in 2008.

Last year, West got married and purchased a $1.05 million home in Fort Washington.

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