Javaris Crittenton returning to Atlanta

ATLANTA -- Former Washington Wizards basketball player Javaris Crittenton will be returned to Atlanta from Los Angeles on Thursday to face a murder charge, police said.

Crittenton, a former star player at Georgia Tech, will be transported to jail by a fugitive unit of the Atlanta police department, spokesman officer John Chafee said Wednesday.

Authorities said Crittenton was being returned to face the charge in the death of 22-year-old Julian Jones, a mother of four who was hit by gunfire during a drive-by shooting. Police said the shots were aimed at someone walking with her. Crittenton denies involvement.

Crittenton was detained at the John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif., two weeks ago when he was about to board a flight to Atlanta.

Defense attorney Brian Steel said when Crittenton appeared in court in Los Angeles that his client had agreed to return to Atlanta voluntarily and had even bought a plane ticket, but law enforcement authorities decided to arrest him anyway.

He waived extradition to Atlanta and has been held in Los Angeles pending his return. Crittenton lives in the Atlanta suburb of Fayeteville.

He pleaded guilty to a gun charge after a locker room altercation with Wizards teammate Gilbert Arenas last year and served a year of unsupervised probation.

After starring at Georgia Tech, Crittenton was the 19th overall pick of the 2007 NBA draft, selected by the Los Angeles Lakers. He is on the roster of an NBA developmental league team.