© St. Petersburg Times, published August 23, 2002
FLEMINGTON, N.J. -- A second man pleaded guilty Thursday to charges he helped cover up Jayson Williams' role in the shooting death of a limousine driver and will testify against the former Nets forward.
John W. Gordnick told the judge he took the clothes Williams was wearing when the driver was shot, hid them in a car and did not turn them over to authorities for several weeks.
"I guess I just saw Jayson in a difficult situation. I wasn't thinking straight and I, I reacted," Gordnick said.
He pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence, and prosecutors will recommend probation. He could have faced almost 12 years in prison if convicted.
Williams has pleaded innocent to first-degree manslaughter and charges he tampered with witnesses and evidence in the driver's Feb. 14 shooting at his mansion. Prosecutors accuse Williams of recklessly handling the 12-gauge shotgun that fired and hit Costas Christofi in the chest, then trying to make it look as if the driver fired the gun.
If convicted on all charges, Williams could face almost 45 years in prison. He remains free on $270,000 bail. A status hearing was scheduled for September.
Kent Culuko, waived by the Nets in 1997, pleaded guilty in April to tampering with evidence and witnesses.
LOS ANGELES -- Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal decided to have surgery on his right foot, and might not be ready for the start of the season. Agent Perry Rogers expects O'Neal to have surgery in 2-3 weeks and said his recovery could take six more. The Lakers open the season Oct. 29.
O'Neal will have surgery as soon as a viral infection that caused his 103-degree temperature and a swollen liver has subsided, Rogers said. O'Neal will have bone spurs removed in a joint that has caused pain and restricted his motion.
U.S. VS. CHINA: Yao Ming, playing his first game in the United States, had 13 points and 11 rebounds as the Chinese national team lost 84-54 to the U.S. team before 19,873 in Oakland. Michael Finley led the U.S. team with 19. China was without 7-footer Wang Zhizhi, who flew in from Los Angeles and met with team officials at the arena in an effort to be placed back on the active roster. Wang angered the Chinese federation by refusing to return home for national team training. He is listed as an alternate on China's preliminary roster for the World Championships that begin Thursday in Indianapolis.
WASHINGTON 79, N.Y. 74: Chamique Holdsclaw had 20 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists and the host Mystics took Game 1 of the best-of-three East final. Top-seeded New York hosts Game 2 on Saturday. Tari Phillips, who dominated in the paint until the final 10 minutes, led the Liberty with 21.
L.A. 75, UTAH 67: DeLisha Milton scored 17 and the visiting Sparks took a 1-0 lead in the West final. Utah hosts Game 2 on Saturday. Natalie Williams led the Starzz with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
USA SQUAD COMPLETE: Phoenix forward Jennifer Gillom was added to USA Basketball's roster, completing the squad for the World Championships on Sept. 12-25 in China.