22-year-old Nickey Maxwell Van Exel, the son of former NFL player, Nick Van Exel is facing 60 years in jail for killing a friend in Garland, in December 2010.
Dallas News relayed that Van Exel was charged with capital murder, planning to take Bradley Eyo's life when he found out the victim would testify against him.
Eyo was scheduled to appear in front of Harris County authorities to confess to a series of armed robberies committed along with the suspect.
Prosecutor Elaine Evans noted that the defendant applied a “snitches get stitches” policy when deciding to shoot the victim. “In this case, he’s dead,” she concluded her case on Thursday.
“The evidence in this case proves that he is guilty of manslaughter, nothing more and nothing less,” defense attorneys Paul Johnson and Rick Harrison argued.
While Van Exel was not convicted of capital murder, he was found guilty of murder in the first-degree, a felony charge that isn't accompanied by a mandatory life sentence. Had his charges been reduced to manslaughter, he would have been out of jail in 20 years maximum.
“Is that accidental? Is that somebody who pulled the trigger he didn’t think was loaded?” prosecutor Josh Healy asked the court, describing the suspect's actions after the crime.
Van Exel tried to hide his best friend's body by wrapping him in plastic and attempting to transport him. He placed the body in the back of his sport utility car and drove it out to the Ray Hubbard Lake area, where he dumped it.
More so, he attempted to clean up any traces of the shooting from his bedroom and the stairway of the house. After he was done, he got rid of the murder weapon by throwing it into the North Dallas creek.
The jury did not take long to deliberate in the case, Dallas News adds. At 5:48 p.m. yesterday, February 1, the young man was read his sentence.
[Update, February 8 2013]: The blog post above erroneously states that Nick Van Exel is a former NFL player. As my readers note in the comments section below, he played in the National Basketball Association (NBA).