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Sports

Javaris Crittenton to return to Ga. to face murder charge

LOS ANGELES — Former NBA player Javaris Crittenton waived California extradition proceedings Wednesday and will be returned to Georgia in connection with his arrest in a murder case in Atlanta.

Crittenton appeared before Superior Court Judge Upinder Kalra and said he had voluntarily signed the waiver.

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The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office had charged Crittenton with being a fugitive from justice for the purpose of holding the extradition-waiver hearing.

Crittenton, who wore civilian clothes, appeared calm and answered, ‘‘Yes,’’ in a soft voice when the judge asked if he had signed the waiver papers.

Defense attorney Brian Steel said outside court that Crittenton had earlier agreed to return to Atlanta voluntarily and had even bought a plane ticket, but law enforcement authorities decided to arrest him anyway.

Steel said he wants to get his client back to Atlanta to clear up the matter.

‘‘Crittenton wants to do everything lawful because he did nothing,’’ the attorney said.

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Steel said his client is being falsely accused and the facts will come out at the preliminary hearing.

The judge said Crittenton will be returned to Atlanta between Sept. 15 and Sept. 30, but Steel said he would seek to have him returned sooner.

Asked why Crittenton had flown to California, Steel said that would come out at the preliminary hearing.

Crittenton was taken into custody Monday night at John Wayne Airport in Orange County.

Police in Atlanta had obtained a murder warrant for Crittenton in the Aug. 19 shooting of Jullian Jones, 23, a mother of four young children, as she was walking with two men.

Crittenton, 23, was wanted on a federal arrest warrant after the FBI learned that he traveled on a one-way ticket to Los Angeles, where he was known to have family and friends, several days after the shooting.

Jones was outside her house with 18-year-old Trontavious Stephens when a black Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid pulled up and gunfire erupted. Authorities have said they don’t believe Jones was the intended target, but they haven’t said whom they think the assailant was after.

Crittenton was with the Washington Wizards in December 2009 when he and teammate Gilbert Arenas had a dispute over a card game. Two days later, Arenas brought four guns to the locker room and set them in front of Crittenton’s locker with a sign telling him to ‘‘PICK 1.’’ Crittenton then took out his own gun.

Crittenton pleaded guilty in January 2010 to a misdemeanor gun charge and received a year of unsupervised probation. Arenas entered his guilty plea on Jan. 15, 2010. He served a short time in a halfway house.

Crittenton was the 19th overall pick of the 2007 NBA draft, selected by the Los Angeles Lakers. He played little with Los Angeles and was sent to Memphis in the Pau Gasol deal his rookie year. He was traded to Washington in December 2008. Crittenton is on the roster of the NBA developmental league’s Dakota Wizards.

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