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Javaris Crittenton appears in court, waives extradition proceedings

August 31, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Former Laker Javaris Crittenton made his first court appearance Wednesday morning.

It was a quick hearing. Crittenton waived his right to an extradition hearing and now heads back to Atlanta to face murder charges.

"It was told when Mr. Crittenton comes to Atlanta in the airport, he'd be taken into custody, which was fine," said Brian Steel, Crittenton's attorney. "Law enforcement officers decided otherwise, and that's what finds us here in California, and we look forward to getting back to Atlanta where it was that we were trying to get to in the first place."

The judge said Crittenton will be returned to Atlanta between Sept. 15 and Sept. 30, but Steel said he would seek to have him returned sooner.

The FBI arrested Crittenton at John Wayne Airport in Orange County on Monday about 8 p.m. after checking in for a flight to Atlanta. He was booked at LAPD headquarters.

"He has also been charged as of [Tuesday] morning with a federal violation of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution," said Laura Emiller from the FBI. "On Aug. 24 we have evidence that a ticket was purchased to Los Angeles from Georgia by Crittenton."

An FBI fugitive task force had been looking for Crittenton. He was wanted in the Aug. 19 shooting death of 22-year-old Jullian Jones, a mother of four. She was gunned down outside her Atlanta home.

Investigators say 23-year-old Crittenton shot Jones while targeting someone else he thought had stolen jewelry from him.

"We believe that Ms. Jones was walking down the street with another individual," said Major Keith Meadows from the Atlanta Police Department. "At some point Mr. Crittenton pulled up and we believe that he did discharge his weapon outside of a black Chevy Tahoe, striking Ms. Jones."

Authorities charged Crittenton with murder last Friday, and knew he had connections in Southern California from his time with the Lakers.

"We received information over the weekend that he was somewhere in Los Angeles," said Scott Garriola of the FBI. "We believe he had contacts here. He used to live here in Los Angeles, and believe he has quite an arrangement of friends."

Crittenton was chosen by the Lakers in the first round of the 2007 NBA draft, but was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies in 2008.

In Dec. 2009 while a member of the Washington Wizards, Crittenton and teammate Gilbert Arenas drew guns on each other in the locker room after an argument over a gambling debt.

Both players were suspended by the NBA for the rest of the 2010 season.

Crittenton's lawyer maintains that he had planned to surrender before the arrest.

He is being held in downtown L.A. until his first court appearance, which will likely be on Wednesday. He is expected to be extradited to Atlanta in the coming weeks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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