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Prosecution Rests in Williams Trial

March 18, 2004

SOMERVILLE, N.J. (AP) _ A weapons expert at the trial of former NBA star Jayson Williams said Wednesday that the shotgun that killed Williams’ limousine driver was working just fine, contrary to defense claims that it malfunctioned.

The prosecution rested after state police Detective Sgt. James Ryan testified that the double-barreled shotgun that killed Costas ``Gus″ Christofi worked properly in eight types of tests, some of which were done up to 10 times.

On cross-examination, defense attorney Michael T. Kelly questioned what scientific protocol Ryan used during the tests, and Ryan said there was none.

Williams, 36, is charged with firing the shotgun blast that killed Christofi at Williams’ mansion in 2002. His attorneys claim that the shooting was purely accidental and that the gun was prone to malfunction.

Williams is also charged with trying to make the shooting look like a suicide.

The charges carry up to 55 years in prison all together.

Prosecutors claim Williams was handling the shotgun recklessly after drinking with friends. Witnesses said he held it in one hand and snapped it shut, after which it fired.

Defense attorneys have said the weapon’s mechanism was fouled with debris and ``gook.″

Ryan said he believes wood chips found as the gun was disassembled were shaved off as the stock was being removed, and had not been in the weapon’s mechanism before that.

After prosecutors rested, the defense entered a motion to dismiss, arguing that not enough evidence was submitted to warrant a trial. The judge set arguments for Monday and Tuesday.

Prosecutors presented 36 witnesses over 15 days of testimony.

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