Long before Jayson Williams’ life devolved into the violent, mentally ill horror show it appears to be today, and long before he pulled the trigger on the shotgun that killed limo driver Gus Christofi in 2002, the ex-NBA forward has had a long and complicated relationship with violence and weapons. Despite a pre-shooting reputation as a gregarious character who raised millions for charity, the dark side of Jayson Williams popped out throughout his college and NBA career - bar fights, gun mishaps, assault charges, etc.
Most of them could be shrugged off at the time as the immature revelry of a careless pro athlete; plenty of his coworkers had been down that road before. But yesterday, when former NBA player Dwayne Schintzius joined sports radio station WDAE 620 in Tampa, he told a horrific story about his former teammate that suggests it’s almost a miracle Christofi has been the only person to die at Williams’ hand.
An acquaintance in Tampa sent along a transcript of the interview, conducted by host Rock Riley. This account, jotted down as the story was told, should be considered sic‘d, but it fits with what Schintzius had told prosecutors back in 2004:
“I was spending the weekend with Jayson. He had recently suffered a career ending injury, and cashed in his $87 million insurance policy from Lloyds of London. He lived in a 31,000 square foot mansion on 300 acres. It was like a compound. Anyway, one night we are hanging out, and he had this 150 pound rottweiler named Duke. Anyway, Jayson was talking about how tough Duke was, and I bet him $100 that I could drag Duke out the front door by his back legs. The front door was about 15-20 feet away.
Anyway, so he agreed to the bet, and the game was on. Suddenly, Jayson started shouting attack commands to Duke, trying to get him to maul me. I started baby talking Duke, ‘Come on big fella, how are you Duke?’, etc. So Duke lays down on his side for me to scratch his belly, and so I scratch his belly and drag him out the door. I said to Jayson ‘OK now pay up’. Jayson says ‘OK I’ll be right back’ and goes back inside the house and upstairs.
After a minute or two, Jayson comes back down with a double barrel shotgun. Without a word, he pumps a round into Duke’s side and then blows his head off with the next shot. He then reloads, points the shotgun at my head from a foot away and says ‘Schintz, get this ******* dog cleaned up and out of here, or you’re next.’ I said ‘Please Jayson, just don’t kill me.’
His brother and I ended up picking up Duke and taking him to a spot on the property and burying him. Jayson had gone to bed by the time we got back to the house. The next morning I woke up, walked into the kitchen, and there was Jayson wearing a ‘Kiss the Cook’ apron, making pancakes with a big smile on his face, acting like nothing had happened.”
No, this is not the first time this story has been told; in fact, the prosecution in Williams’ first trial attempted to submit it as evidence but was denied. However, this is the first time we’ve seen it told first-person in such terrible detail. It’s shocking to think that this guy is on the streets, still allowed to consume alcohol and get in fights. Williams’ retrial on manslaughter charges can’t come soon enough.