HUFFINGTON POST
08/31/2011 02:36 pm ET Updated Oct 31, 2011

Ex-NBA player Crittenton waives extradition in murder case

By R.T. Watson

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Former professional basketball player Javaris Crittenton waived his right to challenge extradition to Georgia on Wednesday to face a murder charge in the drive-by shooting death of a mother of four.

Crittenton, 23, was arrested by police and FBI agents on Monday night at a Southern California airport as he was about to check in for a flight to Atlanta. He was jailed in Los Angeles on a charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

He made his first court appearance on Wednesday during a brief hearing before a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge, who ordered Crittenton to remain held without bail until he is returned to his home state.

Crittenton, wearing a black polo shirt, said little and spoke softly as he answered procedural questions posed by the judge. He confirmed he is the same Javaris Crittenton who is wanted in Georgia and that he had signed paperwork waiving additional extradition proceedings.

The judge, Upinder Kalra, said authorities in Georgia have until September 15 to pick up Crittenton and bring him back to Atlanta.

Crittenton's lawyer Brian Steel said afterward that he had arranged for his client to fly back to his hometown and turn himself in on Tuesday to authorities there, but Crittenton was arrested instead.

He was sought in connection with the August 19 shooting death of Julian Jones, 22, who witnesses said was gunned down in Atlanta with an assault rifle by someone driving a dark-colored sport utility vehicle, according to the FBI.

Several days later, Crittenton, of Fayetteville, Georgia, purchased a one-way airline ticket to Los Angeles, where he has friends and family, the FBI said. Crittenton has been charged by Atlanta police with murder, and the FBI had issued an arrest warrant for him.

Crittenton was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2007 and played two seasons in the National Basketball Association, ending his career with the Washington Wizards after a stint in Memphis, according to the league website. He played college ball at Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

In January 2010, the NBA suspended Crittenton and Wizards teammate Gilbert Arenas without pay for the rest of the season for bringing guns into the locker room after a dispute over a poker game on a flight home from a game.

Crittenton pleaded guilty to a criminal charge and received a sentence of one year of probation over that incident.

(Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)