Son of former NBA star Nick Van Exel, Nickey Van Exel had already confessed to the murder of Bradley Bassey Eyo all the way back in December of 2010. He received his sentence Friday: 60 years in prison.
According to the younger Van Exel, he and long-time friend Eyo were playing with what they thought was an unloaded shotgun when Eyo was shot and killed. Then, in a panic, Van Exel moved Eyo’s body from the house to a nearby lake in the Dallas area.
The jury did not buy the story, convicting Van Exel of murder rather than manslaughter. Van Exel’s prosecution had actually been working for a capital murder conviction.
The strangest part of this story is that by all accounts, Eyo and Van Exel were good friends. The elder Van Exel testified to the strength of their friendship, recalling one instance in which all three of them had gone to Miami to attend a 2006 NBA Finals game between the Heat and the Dallas Mavericks, whom he’d played for during his career.
It’s as sad as it is hard to believe that a friendship supposedly so close could end so tragically.