By Steve Visser
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
On Monday, former NBA All-Star Daron “Mookie” Blaylock was sent to prison for killing a woman in a crash on Tara Boulevard…
The 47-year-old former Atlanta Hawk, was sentenced to 15 years but with only three to actually serve in prison for vehicular homicide and other charges in the death of Monica Murphy — a mother of five — in a head-on collision in Clayton County on May 31, 2013.
The fall from NBA standout to prison was one of basketball honors and DUI convictions. Blaylock starred in the NBA All-Star game 20 years ago, had his Oklahoma Sooners jersey retired in honor 2001 and retired a feted player — twice on the NBA’s All-Defense Team — despite a bumpy ending with the Golden State Warriors in 2002.
The negotiated plea came on the day jury selection was to start for his trial, his attorney Amanda Palmer told the Atlanta Journal-Constitutution.
The plea was for seven years in prison and eight on probation but allows for prison sentence to be suspended after three years as long as he completes requirements including: 1,500 hours of community service, treatment for alcoholism, including twice weekly Alcoholic Anonymous meetings, and doesn’t drive for the entire 15 years, Palmer said.
“He has admitted he has a problem with alcohol and he is getting treatment for that,” she said.
The toxicology screens showed no alcohol in Blaylock’s system at the time of the crash, Palmer said. The reckless driving, vehicular homicide charges arose because doctors had told him not to drive because he was prone to seizures attributed to alcoholism, she said. He had been arrested for DUI a month before the crash and he had “several past DUI convictions,” Palmer said.
Blaylock was seriously injured in the wreck and temporarily on life support, but he was released from the hospital days later. After the accident, his lawyers blamed the collision on a blackout caused by a medical condition.. A family member told police Blaylock was under treatment for seizures.
Blaylock has been in treatment at Potter’s House in Jefferson, a long-term residential program for treatment of addiction run by Atlanta Mission. He apologized to Frank Murphy, the husband of the 40-year-old victim, in court before being taken into custody.
“He said something to the effect that the accident had changed him, and I think he was referring to his drinking,” Palmer said. “Mr. Murphy spoke and said he understood it was a negotiated sentence….I can’t say he went so far to let say he was OK with it but I guess he let the court know he didn’t oppose it.”