Jayson Williams's Team Offers House Tour
Jayson Williams's lawyers in his manslaughter trial want jury members to visit his 65-acre, 41-room home in rural new Jersey so they can retrace the steps of the ex-New Jersey Nets star, 36, on the night a gun he was holding fired and killed chauffeur Costos "Gus" Christofi.
"Here, the scene is critical to understanding what happened," defense lawyer Joseph A. Hayden Jr. argued in court on Monday, a day in which the jury was not present, reports the Associated Press.
Hayden argued that a tour would help the jury understand the sightlines, angles and distances, especially in the master bedroom, where Christofi was shot during the early hours of Feb. 14, 2002, while Williams was showing friends his mansion.
"It would give the jury a better understanding of the case," said the attorney. "It would help them determine who saw what."
Hayden also said that he wants the jurors to get a first-hand view of the amenities they had heard about during testimony: a skeet range, a lacrosse field and a former barn that's now a garage for antique cars.
But assistant prosecutor Katharine Errickson opposes Hayden's invitation, says AP, arguing that over the trial's six weeks the jury already had the assistance of more than 100 pictures and a videotape.
She also said it would be impossible to make the house look exactly as it did two years ago, and such a tour would reveal "a lot more than the crime scene," such as mementos and pictures of Williams posing with other players and celebrities -- adding up to character testimony that prosecutors would be unable to cross-examine.
State Superior Court Judge Edward M. Coleman will rule on the tour request once the jury returns on Wednesday.
The jurist also will rule on a routine defense motion to acquit Williams, given his lawyers' claims that the 36 witnesses presented by the prosecution failed to produce sufficient evidence to pin the fatal shooting on Williams.
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