Javaris Crittenton had the potential to be a major NBA star. He was a standout at Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy, and put up good numbers as the starting point guard for Georgia Tech. In 2007, he was drafted in the first round by the Los Angeles Lakers, whereupon he moved to Los Angeles and celebrated his newfound fame and dream job by joining a street gang.
In 2011, Crittenton’s cousin drove him around some neighborhoods in Atlanta, looking for a rival gang member that had reportedly robbed them. Crittenton fired shots, but missed the man and instead shot and killed 22-year-old Julian Jones, an innocent bystander and mother of four. Attorneys argued that while Crittenton was actively participating in a drive-by shooting, he shot Jones by accident. Because he had intended to shoot the man he claimed that robbed him, Jones’s murder wasn’t premeditated, Crittenton’s lawyers actually argued. Amazingly, the judge reduced the charge from murder to manslaughter. As part of that deal, Crittenton plead guilty and was sentenced to 23 years in prison.