Nickey Maxwell Van Exel, the son of former NBA player Nick Van Exel, was sentenced to 60 years in prison on Friday for a murder in Texas. The younger Van Exel was found guilty of murdering his friend Bradley Bassey Eyo.
The Dallas jury took slightly more than two hours to convict Van Exel Thursday of fatally shooting Eyo, who was 23-years-old when he was killed in 2010. Prosecutors said the motive was Van Exel’s desire to prevent the possibility of Eyo talking to police about a string of robberies the two committed together.
“Snitches get stitches,” said prosecutor Elaine Evans during closing arguments. “In this case, he’s dead.”
Defense attorney Paul Johnson told the Dallas Morning News that Van Exel should be charged with manslaughter, calling Eyo’s death a “tragic accident” that came after the two were playing with a shotgun when it accidentally fired into Eyo’s chest. Van Exel dumped the body into Lake Ray Hubbard in the eastern area of Dallas.
After Nickey Van Exel, 22 at the time of the crime, was convicted, his father took the witness stand to testify on his son’s behalf.
“I’m really sorry to the Eyo family,” he said as he looked at the family across the courtroom with tears streaming down his face. “Nobody should have to go through something like this. Nobody.”
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