Wed, Nov 21, 2007 - Page 18 News List

Tyson sentenced for possession of cocaine and DUI

AP , MESA, ARIZONA

Mike Tyson was sentenced on Monday to 24 hours in jail and three years' probation for cocaine possession and driving under the influence.

The former heavyweight champion had pleaded guilty in September to a single felony count of cocaine possession and a misdemeanor DUI count.

"I take responsibility for my actions," Tyson told Superior Court Judge Helene Abrams in an almost inaudible voice before she handed down the sentence.

Tyson, who was to begin serving his jail time yesterday morning, left the courthouse without speaking to reporters.

Tyson had faced a possible maximum sentence of four years and three months in prison. Prosecutor Shane Krauser had recommended one year in prison on Monday, saying that Tyson was a multiple offender who previously had been convicted of a violent crime and that only now had he sought treatment for his drug addiction.

"Judge, by my calculations, this is his fourth or fifth chance," Krauser said.

The latest charges stemmed from a traffic stop in Scottsdale on Dec. 29 after the boxer had spent the evening at Scottsdale's Pussycat Lounge and was seen driving erratically. An officer said he saw Tyson wiping a white substance off the dashboard of his black BMW, and that his speech was slurred.

Authorities said they found bags of cocaine in Tyson's pocket and in his car.

Tyson told officers later that he used cocaine "whenever I can get my hands on it," and that he preferred to smoke it in Marlboro cigarettes with the tobacco pulled out, according to court documents. He also told police that he used marijuana that day and was taking the antidepressant Zoloft, the documents state.

Since his arrest, Tyson checked himself into an inpatient treatment program for what his lawyer called "various addictions."

Tyson attorney David Chesnoff said his client had taken 29 drug tests without a relapse since his arrest and that he's attended Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings.

Two of Tyson's former wives also wrote letters to the court asking for leniency.

Abrams said Monday that she was impressed that Tyson was seeking therapy for his drug addiction. "You worked to address your addiction and self-destructive behavior," Abrams said.

Tyson also will have to pay a fine and serve 360 hours of community service, including at least 20 hours per month.

County Attorney Andrew Thomas had said after the plea was entered that Tyson should be put in prison, noting that Tyson was convicted of rape in Indiana in 1992 and pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault charges in Maryland in 1999.

In 1986, Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history when, at 20, he knocked out Trevor Berbick. He lost his title four years later when he was knocked out by James "Buster" Douglas.

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