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Distrito pleads guilty

KobeWanKenobiKobeWanKenobi Basketball Fan ✭✭✭
Distrito pleads guilty

By Ronnie Nathanielsz

FORMER Philippine Basketball Association star Rudy Distrito has entered a plea of guilty to manslaughter in the death of a 24-year-old Mexican Juan Amaya in an apartment complex several blocks east of the Las Vegas strip.

Distrito was accused of stabbing Amaya following a heated argument at Dekow Lane Apartments in Las Vegas on Nov. 24, 2004.

A native of Bacolod City, Distrito fled the scene, but gave himself up 10 days later to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Los Angeles.

Distrito was visiting his family in Las Vegas, when the stabbing took place. His wife Joceyln, from whom he has been separated for nearly five years, was reportedly living with her mother, Illuminada Villadolid in Long Beach, California along with their four children.

Prosecutors claimed the stabbing was a deliberate act of revenge while Distrito’s defense lawyers said it was an act of self-defense.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Bill Berrett told Clark County District Judge David Wall during Distrito’s first appearance in the state court, that the ex-pro basketball player started the fight, although defense lawyers argued that there was a considerable amount of contradictory evidence and said they believed it was self-defense. Unable to post bail of $500,000, Distrito was held at the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas.

Distrito’s lawyer Dan Silverstein informed Viva Sports/Standard Today that Distrito, who was charged with murder, pleaded guilty to “the lesser offense.” Silverstein said Distrito will be sentenced on March 16 and is “eligible for probation.”

Silverstein indicated that he wanted to present “a compelling argument to the judge as to why Distrito should be given a chance at probation,” and was looking for all the help he could get from those who played alongside or against him in the PBA, league officials and media personnel, who covered the pro league games or knew him well.

Distrito, who was nicknamed “The Destroyer,” was suspended for a flagrant foul against Jeffrey Cariaso in 1995, and his license revoked for that season by the Games and Amusements Board. He never applied for renewal the following season and migrated to the United States with his family.

The 5’10” Distrito is best remembered for an amazing, off-balanced, buzzer-beating shot that enabled Ginebra San Miguel, led by playing-coach Robert Jaworski to win the seventh game of a classic championship series in the 1991 First Conference, where Ginebra came back from a 1-3 deficit to beat Shell.


  • KobeWanKenobiKobeWanKenobi Basketball Fan ✭✭✭
    A prayer for Rudy

    By Ronnie Nathanielsz

    RUDY Distrito played the game of Philippine basketball with fire in his eyes. To him, the hardcourt was a battleground for warriors and not for the fainthearted. Basketball was a contact sport and making contact was part of the game. If he transgressed beyond what the rules allow, there were referees to hold him responsible and impose the corresponding sanctions.

    Today, Distrito, who was accused of murder, awaits sentencing after he entered a plea of guilty to a lesser offense, manslaughter. He had been charged with murder for the killing of a 24-year-old Mexican, whose questionable background raised serious doubts about the validity of the murder rap. But it’s done and Rudy, as well as his family, friends and fans have to live with it.

    Unable to raise the whopping amount of $500,000 for bail, much less find the money to pay high-priced defense lawyers that would give him a fair chance of acquittal, he did, what many believe was the only sensible thing, and that was to plead guilty to a lesser offense and fervently hope that his lawyer, Dan Silverstein, can get him out on probation.

    Although Distrito was nicknamed “The Destroyer,” he was never an instrument of war out to cripple an enemy with his sheer power because he was, in fact, rather small by modern-day standards, although he was dynamite on the court—a big blast in a small package. Distrito played the game in the manner and tone set down and glorified by the architect of the never-say-die spirit, Robert Jaworski. And the millions, who followed the game during its glory days, worshipped those who played a brand of blood-and-guts basketball and never ever surrendered no matter how great the odds or how big the margin until the final buzzer sounded.

    If public support is a measure of success, then the era of Jaworski and Distrito that followed the early years of the memorable Crispa-Toyota rivalry, stands out as an endorsement of how the fans want the game to be played. The hordes that sometimes even broke down the gates to enter the arena or paid ridiculously high prices to buy tickets from scalpers, was an indication of the brand of play that fired the imagination and thrilled millions both at the venues and followed the action on nationwide television and radio.

    Distrito had his faults, no question and while he may have transgressed beyond the bounds of the hardcourt laws at times, he was often the victim of perception rather than reality. Those who disliked Jaworski and Distrito probably because they subscribed to a squeaky clean, clinical brand of basketball washed in antiseptic rules and their implementation, cheered when Distrito was banned, but to us it was a cruel punishment hardly commensurate with his transgressions.

    Distrito was tough on the hardcourt but deep down inside him— and off the court—he was a kind and gentle human being, who loved life and knew how to treat people. We all enjoyed the games he played and at this critical time in his life, we need to do our share no matter how small to help Rudy when he needs help the most. Maybe, just a simple prayer that the judge would see through the false image of a bad guy and look deeper into a simple individual, who played hard but tread gently outside the basketball arena would surely help because God is a forgiving God.

    The application of the law must always be tempered with compassion and while justice needs to be done to the family of the slain Mexican, justice should also serve Distrito and his family, who still have a life to live.
  • DI10DI10 Member ✭✭✭
    well i guess nasa dugo na nya yang mga ganyan... sobrang dami nyang sinaktan na players, deliberately during his time.
  • he's the DESTROYER indeed...
  • scherzoscherzo Member PExer
    buhay ang inutang, buhay din ang kabayaran.
    we dont need this kind of person lurking our streets, hurting the one we love.
    we dont give compassion to criminal like him.
    pairalin ang hustisya.......
  • bastebaste Member ✭✭✭
    i'm thinking kailangan ng defense attorney ng help via testimonies from players he played with and AGAINST... bka naman makatulong pa mga yun sa presecution
  • bchoterbchoter Member PExer
    I already met Distrito in person and he seems nice off the court. I hope he gets a good lawyer who will help his cause.
  • KobeWanKenobiKobeWanKenobi Basketball Fan ✭✭✭

    I think the lawyer Distrito got was the best his money could buy. Which means what he got wasn't a top notch lawyer.

    According to press reports, Distrito said that he killed the victim in self defense. Assuming that it is true, the reason why he plead guilty to the lesser crime of manslaughter instead of fighting for his freedom using the self defense alibi is the fact that the prosecution would use his PBA persona of being "The Destroyer" against him.

    So it would be better to plead guilty to a lesser sentence than be punished for a more serious crime (Murder) that could result in life imprisonment or even death penalty.
  • bchoterbchoter Member PExer

    I hope the lesser charge sticks and that he will put on probation. He is not a hardened criminal inspite of his on court persona.
  • KobeWanKenobiKobeWanKenobi Basketball Fan ✭✭✭
    The lesser charge will stick because Distrito already plead guilty to the charge of manslaughter. No need for both sides to argue that fact.

    What Rudy needs now is for witnesses to prove that he deserves probation. But even if he is still imprisoned, part of his incarceration since the time he got arrested is already counted so basically the punishment of imprisonment would be less the actual time already spent in jail.

    In addition, manslaughter carries a jail term of eight to 20 years. If a person has good behaviour inside the penal colony, he'll be basically allowed to go on parole for half the time. Compare that with life imprisonment for murder which makes a person eligible for parole only after 20 years.

    So basically, the minimum Rudy can get is 4 years assuming he gets out on parole for good behaviour. Compare that to 20 years minimum for murder.
  • KobeWanKenobiKobeWanKenobi Basketball Fan ✭✭✭
    Distrito needs fans’ help

    RUDY Distrito, the backcourt spitfire who scored an unforgettable, off-balanced buzzer-beater to give crowd darlings Ginebra San Miguel an epic come-from-behind victory in Game 7 of their All-Filipino Conference championships against Shell in 1991 after being down 1-3 in the series, needs your help.

    In an overseas telephone conversation with Viva Sports/Standard Today from the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas, where he is awaiting sentence on March 16 after pleading guilty to a charge of manslaughter in the death of 24-year-old Mexican Juan Amaya on Nov. 24, 2004, Distrito said he was well and thanked all those who continue to help him.

    Distrito’s lawyer Dan Silverstein said Distrito is eligible for probation, but would need people to “write a letter on his behalf to help Rudy get probation.” He said letters from fans and people who used to know him will be of help in his plea. Silverstein also requested a copy of the tape of Distrito’s title-winning shot and any other PBA features on Distrito, which provided an insight into his good and decent family life, which he planned to play in court.

    The letters could be sent to lawyer Dan Silverstein, 309 South 3rd Street, Room 226, Las Vegas, Nevada 89155, USA.

    Letters could also be addressed to Ronnie Nathanielsz, Viva Sports, 7th Floor, East Tower, Tektite Building , Pasig City and we would be happy to forward the letters to Atty. Silverstein.

    “Please thank them for everything, especially Commissioner Jun [Bernardino] and Commissioner [Noli] Eala,” who had both agreed to testify about his kind and gentle off-court character when Silverstein was preparing to take depositions from league officials, players and fans who knew Distrito.

    Former Senator Robert Jaworski, Distrito’s Ginebra playing-coach and the PBA’s Living Legend, said he visited Distrito some time and spent some 30 minutes with him and it was heart-rending. He said he would also prepare a statement attesting to the character of Distrito. Ronnie Nathanielsz
  • BailBail Deep Thought PExer
    Karma na siguro yan sa ginawa niya kay cariaso.
  • The GodfatherThe Godfather Banned by Admin PExer
    Pareng Kobe, American citizen naba si Rudy Distrito when that crime happened? What's the law in Nevada about his case? Would he be deported after serving his jail term?

    I think the best letter of support would be coming from Jeff Cariaso, stating that Rudy Distrito flagrant foul against him was just part of Pinoy basketball -- nothing personal since he could write sweet-little-lies in his letter that Rudy Distrito visits him several time and apologize before flying to US!
  • poknatpoknat Member ✭✭✭
    but hey, the off balance fade away shot over benjie paras to win the game was really an amazing shot no?
  • ai#3ai#3 we talkin' bout practice?! PExer
    parehas pala sila ng kaso ni Jayson Williams.
  • KobeWanKenobiKobeWanKenobi Basketball Fan ✭✭✭
    Pareng Kobe, American citizen naba si Rudy Distrito when that crime happened? What's the law in Nevada about his case? Would he be deported after serving his jail term?

    I'm not sure about his status. He could either be an immigrant or an American Citizen. If he is an immigrant, once released, the INS will pick him up and immediately send him to the Philippines.
  • KobeWanKenobiKobeWanKenobi Basketball Fan ✭✭✭
    Rudy Distrito draws manslaughter

    By Musong R. Castillo
    Last updated 07:27am (Mla time) 03/18/2007

    MANILA, Philippines -- Rudy Distrito, who shone as a tough, aggressive player in the Philippine Basketball Association, has been sentenced to a prison term of 4 to 12 years in a Northern Nevada jail for manslaughter resulting from a stabbing incident in November 2004.

    Based on information gathered by the Inquirer, judge David Wall found the 49-year-old Distrito guilty of killing Mexican Juan Amaya following a confrontation over alleged Amaya’s romantic involvement with Distrito’s wife Jocelyn.

    Distrito had earlier claimed self defense in the killing of Amaya, whom he accused of being the lover of his 24-year-old wife. The prosecution, meanwhile, sought the capital punishment for the Filipino.

    It was learned that Distrito, who had pleaded to a lower sentence last month, became emotional after his sentence was read.

    Asked by Wall if he wanted to say something, Distrito apologized to the family of Amaya, and to his family and fans in the Philippines.

    “I apologize to the family of Juan Amaya, to my wife and children,” Distrito said. “Please give me one last chance to regain my life,” added Distrito, who was also ordered to pay Amaya’s family the sum of $10,000 (around P485,00).

    Amaya’s mother, Maria Gonzales, who was present during the sentencing said:

    “For me, my son was good.”

    The Inquirer source said Distrito got a lift from several respected Filipinos in the community, who had testified that the 5-foot-10 guard known in the PBA as the “Destroyer” was a good person off the court and “was just forced by the circumstances.”

    He said Abe King and Rino Salazar, former PBA player-friends of Distrito, came to Las Vegas from different parts of the US for the sentencing. King was teary-eyed and Salazar looked stunned when Distrito was led out of the courtroom and back to the county jail.

    Another Distrito friend said the verdict was a happy development since Rudy could be available for parole in two years and he could be deported by then because he is not an American citizen.

    Distrito first gained notice as a University of the East Warrior.
  • KobeWanKenobiKobeWanKenobi Basketball Fan ✭✭✭
    Light sentence for Distrito

    By Beth Celis
    Last updated 07:28am (Mla time) 03/18/2007

    MANILA, Philippines -- At first I thought the news about Rudy Distrito traveled halfway around the world, Las Vegas the starting point, going to Carson City where the former cager’s family resides all the way to Alaska where Rino and Rose Salazar are now based.

    However, a second look at Elmer Yanga’s text message clarified some details.

    According to Elmer, Rino Salazar had called from Las Vegas at 3 a.m. yesterday to announce the punishment imposed by the judge on Rudy, who was being tried for murder.

    “Rudy has been sentenced to a term of six years imprisonment,” Elmer texted, which could be considered good news, because he could’ve gotten a life sentence.

    * * *

    Later that morning, I had a chance to talk with colleague Ronnie Nathanielsz on radio and he wasted no time relaying the information I had just gotten from Elmer.

    “Before anything else, I’d like to announce that the Distrito trial is over. The judge sentenced him from 4 to 12 years. He will be eligible for parole in two years,” announced Ronnie, who was happy with the decision because he believes Distrito will be deported to the Philippines even before his eligibility for parole comes around.

    “That’s exactly what everyone wants to happen and I think it will because Rudy is not an American citizen,” he said.

    * * *

    Ronnie added that his report on the length of the sentence is the correct one and not the one which came from Rino because it came from Rudy’s wife, Jocelyn, and his lawyer whom he had talked with in Las Vegas at dawn.

    “Everyone was very happy and grateful for the support and assistance Rudy’s friends both here in the Philippines and in the United States, had extended, especially in the form of testimonials. The lawyer said the testimonial from past and present senator Robert Jaworski and Jinggoy Estrada, in particular, carried a lot of weight.”

    The two senators attested to Rudy’s good character off the hardcourt, which Ronnie feels is tantamount to committing political suicide.

    Rudy played for Ginebra under coach Sonny Jaworski and for Jinggoy’s team in the now defunct MBA, San Juan Knights.
  • ceedeeceedee istambay sa Rio PExer
    for me, it was a good decision. hope we can see him back in the Phils in 2 years time.
  • KobeWanKenobiKobeWanKenobi Basketball Fan ✭✭✭
    He already spent time in jail while the case is pending. Due to that, the time spent in jail would be deducted from his prison term.
  • mccoy26mccoy26 Member PExer
    Paano na ang---

    Distrito Collection

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