Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NBA [Print without images]

Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Updated: June 21, 1:42 PM ET
Case resolved as Jackson pleads guilty in strip club fight

ESPN.com news services

INDIANAPOLIS -- Stephen Jackson pleaded guilty Wednesday to a felony count of criminal recklessness for firing a gun outside a strip club last fall and was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and perform 100 hours of community service.

Stephen Jackson
Stephen Jackson takes questions as he leaves a court hearing in Indianapolis. He will not go to jail and said he's relieved to have his criminal case behind him.

Misdemeanor counts of battery and disorderly conduct were dismissed as part of the agreement with prosecutors, and a judge added a year of probation to Jackson's sentence.

Jackson, whom the Indiana Pacers traded to the Golden State Warriors in January, said after the brief court appearance that he would have done the community service anyway.

"Community service has always been a part of my life," he said.

But prosecutors intend the work to be punishment, which is why they chose the community center Christamore House for Jackson.

David Wyser, Marion County's chief trial deputy prosecutor, said he was confident that Christamore's director, Olgen Williams, "will ensure that Mr. Jackson performs his community hours doing work of cleaning, of painting, whatever it is he has to do as opposed to helping youths play basketball, something he enjoys doing."

Williams said the center, located in a lower-income neighborhood just west of the city's downtown, works with people performing community service every day and that Jackson might clean restrooms, shovel mulch, move furniture or plant flowers, among many possible tasks.

I'm not going to put him down in the gym playing basketball. He may be in the gym, but he'll be in there sweeping.

Olgen Williams, director of the center where Stephen Jackson will perform community service

"I'm not going to put him down in the gym playing basketball," he said. "He may be in the gym, but he'll be in there sweeping."

An NBA spokesman told the Indianapolis Star that league officials will review Jackson's case and decide whether the charge of criminal recklessness amounted to a violent felony. If so, an immediate suspension of at least 10 games is possible, according to the conduct guidelines in the NBA rulebook.

Jackson was charged in connection with the Oct. 6 fracas outside Indianapolis' Club Rio. He told police he fired shots in the air from his 9mm pistol to try to break up a fight.

In February, Deon Willford, who hit Jackson with a car during the incident, was convicted of felony battery and sentenced to two years in prison, two years on probation and 100 hours community service.

Willford hit Jackson with his car after the fight started. He claimed self defense at his trial, testifying that Jackson was walking toward his car and pointing a gun at him. But other witnesses said Jackson was walking away from Willford's car and had no weapon out when he was hit.

Jackson chipped some teeth that night and underwent plastic surgery on his lip.

The fight started after Willford's cousin got into an argument with a group of people who accompanied Jackson to the club. That group included current Pacers Jamaal Tinsley and Marquis Daniels, who were not charged.

Because he had no prior felony convictions, Jackson was eligible to receive misdemeanor sentencing despite pleading guilty to the felony. Wyser said that Jackson received a stiffer sentence than most people facing a similar charge.

"I thought it was appropriate due to the fact that Mr. Jackson is held out as a role model to many individuals and youths in the community that look up to him," Wyser said.

At the time, Jackson was on probation in Michigan after pleading no contest to misdemeanor assault and battery charges for his role in the 2004 brawl between Pacers players and Detroit Pistons fans.

A Michigan judge had ruled that the Indiana charges constituted a violation of Jackson's probation. But Jackson's attorney, Jim Voyles, said the case was resolved last week, and Jackson will serve 10 days of community service.

Jackson said after Wednesday's hearing that he was happy to resolve the latest criminal case.

"I'm ready to move on," he told a small crowd of reporters. "I'm in a great city with a great new team, had a great year, as all y'all seen. I'm ready to experience another one."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.