Man who hit Stephen Jackson with car convicted

INDIANAPOLIS -- A man who hit former Indiana Pacers guard
Stephen Jackson with a car during a fight outside a strip club last
fall was convicted Monday in a ruling by a judge.

Deon Willford waived his right to a jury trial, allowing Marion
Superior Court Judge Patricia Gifford to render a verdict. She
found the 23-year-old man guilty of felony battery and failure to
stop at a scene of an accident, a misdemeanor.

He will be sentenced Feb. 28. He faces two to eight years in
prison for the felony and up to a year for the misdemeanor.

Jackson, who now plays for Golden State, left the courtroom to
catch a flight to Denver. He showed up at halftime of the
Warriors-Nuggets game Monday night and was on the court when the
second half started.

"I leave everything in God's hands and continue to work on
playing basketball," he said.

Jackson was booked into jail Oct. 12 and has been free since on
$10,000 bond. He has pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of
criminal recklessness and misdemeanor counts of battery and
disorderly conduct in the fight outside Club Rio on Oct. 6. His
trial is April 12. The criminal recklessness charge carries a
prison term of six months to three years.

Willford's car hit Jackson after the fight started. The
defendant testified Monday that the 6-foot-8 player was walking
toward his car and pointing a gun at him.

"I thought he was trying to kill me," Willford said.

Other witnesses said Jackson was walking away from Willford's
car and had no weapon out at the time. Jackson said he was hit by
the car after he fired shots in the air from his pearl-handled 9 mm
pistol to try to break up the fight. He had chipped teeth and
bruised knees and needed plastic surgery on his lip after being hit
by the car, he said.

Jackson testified that when he was walking from the club to his
car, a man approached him shouting, "dump, dump!'"

"Where I'm from, 'dump' means pull out your gun and shoot," he

Pacers guard Jamaal Tinsley testified that he also grabbed his
gun and put it in his pocket when he heard "dump." He did not
fire any shots and was not charged.

Jackson said the man, identified by prosecutors as Willford's
cousin, Quentin "Fingers" Willford, had one hand in a back pocket
and another in his shirt. The fight started after Jackson and those
with him realized Willford had no weapon.

"It was like an all-out brawl," Jackson said. "I started
seeing more and more faces I didn't know."

He said he fired a couple of shots in the air to break up the fight, and then the car
hit him.

Besides Tinsley, Pacers swingman Marquis Daniels and former
Pacer Jimmie Hunter were with Jackson at the club during the fight
but not charged.

At the time, Jackson was on probation for his role in a brawl
between Indiana Pacers players and Detroit Pistons fans in 2004.
Jackson pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault and battery
charges in September 2005 for his role in the 2004 brawl.

A Michigan judge ruled that the Indiana charges constituted a
violation of Jackson's probation. Jackson, who was traded earlier
this year, faces up to 30 days in jail on the probation violation.