Iverson to be charged in gun case

Friday, July 12th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Allen Iverson was ordered to stay on the grounds of his $2.4 million home until next week, when his lawyer returns from Europe to defend him on charges he forced his way into his cousin's apartment with a gun.

The NBA star will be charged with assault and other offenses, prosecutors said Thursday. He will be permitted to surrender to police Tuesday. Until then, he must remain inside his suburban mansion, Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson said.

``If Iverson is seen on the street or out partying, we will arrest him,'' Johnson said.

Iverson and an uncle are accused of barging into a cousin's apartment on the morning of July 3 as the Philadelphia 76ers' guard searched for his wife, Tawanna. Iverson is said to have thrown her out of their house naked during a dispute, according to tapes of a 911 call obtained by The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Police searched Iverson's mansion and his uncle's home Thursday, looking for the gun and other evidence.

Iverson, a former NBA MVP, will be charged with criminal trespass, simple assault, terrorist threats and gun offenses, District Attorney Lynne Abraham said. Four of the counts are felonies. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 54 years in prison.

Iverson's uncle, Gregory Iverson, 39, was also charged with criminal trespass, simple assault, terrorist threats and other offenses.

``We had two complaints we felt were credible. Detectives did a very thorough, complete and professional investigation,'' Johnson said.

Sixers coach Larry Brown and general manager Billy King said they would support Iverson during the legal process. Brown spoke to Iverson on Thursday and said his star player is ``hurting.''

``I'm hopeful this thing gets resolved and this kid can move on with his life,'' Brown said. ``He's part of our family and will always be a part of our family.''

Iverson didn't find his wife and cousin Shaun Bowman when he went with his uncle to the Cobbs Creek Court apartment complex, authorities said. Bowman has lived there since March.

Bowman's roommate, Charles Jones, 21, told police the men forced their way into the apartment and demanded to know the whereabouts of Tawanna and Bowman, according to a police affidavit. A friend of Jones also was in the apartment.

Iverson ``continuously threatened harm to the complainants and wanted Charles to make numerous phone calls to locate Tawanna and Shaun,'' court documents said.

The 27-year-old player also ``showed the complainants a black handgun'' that had been tucked into his waistband, according to the documents. Iverson has no gun permit nor does he have a gun registered in Pennsylvania, police said.

Jones made the 911 call more than 10 hours after Iverson arrived, the Inquirer said. It wasn't clear how Jones obtained his information about the Iversons' dispute.

Iverson and his uncle eventually left the apartment and drove to a motel where Tawanna had rented two rooms, police said. After hotel officials failed to reach her, Iverson and his uncle began circling the parking lot looking for her SUV.

Police confronted the men and Iverson said he was looking for his wife, court documents said.

Iverson and his wife have not commented publicly. The two married in August, two months after Iverson led the 76ers to the NBA Finals for the first time in 18 years.

Iverson's dazzling play has made him one of the most popular NBA players, and his jersey is the league's top seller. But he's also been in trouble with his team and the NBA, squabbling with his coach and making a rap CD in 2000 that drew harsh criticism for disparaging women and gays.

Iverson's new lawyer is Richard Sprague, one of Philadelphia's most prominent defense attorneys. A former prosecutor, he investigated the assassinations of President Kennedy and Martin Luther King for Congress and won a multimillion-dollar libel case against The Philadelphia Inquirer in 1996.

Iverson was arrested as a teenager in a Hampton, Va., bowling alley brawl in 1993 and spent four months in prison before then-Gov. Douglas Wilder granted clemency. The conviction was overturned on appeal in 1995.

In 1997, Iverson pleaded no contest to a gun charge after police near Richmond, Va., stopped a car in which he was a passenger and found a gun belonging to Iverson and two marijuana cigarettes. A marijuana-possession charge was dropped.

Iverson completed 100 hours of community service, two years of drug testing and three years' probation, after which his record was expunged.