Byron Houston Sentenced To Four Years
Monday, September 17th 2007, 2:05 PM CDT
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A judge sentenced former Oklahoma State basketball star Byron Houston to four years in prison Monday for violating probation on indecent exposure convictions.
Houston was on probation for four previous convictions when he was arrested in Oklahoma City this summer for the same offense.
Wearing wrist and leg shackles and dressed in a jail-issued uniform, Houston hung his head and spoke quietly, apologizing to his victims and asking District Judge Ray Elliot for leniency.
``I want to apologize to whoever I affected, the victims,'' Houston said. ``I never meant to hurt anybody, physically or emotionally.
``I'm truly sorry.''
Elliott said Houston was given numerous chances at rehabilitation.
``Mr. Houston, I gave you every opportunity at the rehabilitation process,'' Elliott said. ``At some point when the rehabilitation prong fails, the punishment prong has to come to the forefront.''
During Monday's hearing, Elliott heard from defense witnesses who said Houston suffers from bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses. A hearing scheduled last month to revoke Houston's probation was delayed so that he could undergo a mental health evaluation at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.
Beverly Amos, who accompanied Houston to Tennessee and is familiar with his evaluation, said in addition to bipolar disorder, Houston suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder linked to physical abuse he suffered as a child.
``I believe he needs help and that he hasn't received the help he's needed,'' Amos said.
Richard Anderson, Houston's attorney, said the former OSU star is destitute and couldn't afford the medication he needed to control the bipolar disorder when the most recent allegations surfaced.
Also testifying on Houston's behalf was his biological father, Curtis Perry, who told the judge he never had an opportunity to get to know his son.
Perry, who played for eight seasons in the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets, urged the judge to consider treatment for his son.
Graham Guhl, the chief prosecutor in the case, said millions of Americans suffer from mental illness without committing criminal acts.
``What makes him different is that he hasn't sought treatment,'' Guhl said. ``He has sought out victims and exposed himself to them.
``This is not a victimless crime. There are truly victims in this case.''
Houston still faces a Jan. 14 trial on the additional felony charge of indecent exposure.
In the latest incident, a woman told police she saw Houston masturbating in his vehicle at an intersection in northwest Oklahoma City on June 13. Officers who arrived at the scene found Houston in his vehicle with his shoes and underwear on the floorboard of the vehicle.
Houston, OSU's career leader in scoring and blocked shots, was selected by the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the 1992 NBA draft. He averaged 3.9 points and 3.0 rebounds per game during a four-year NBA career with Golden State, Seattle and Sacramento.