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Crime

Roommate Allegedly Killed Former NBA Prospect then Accepted Donations for His Daughter: Police

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Michael Lebrecht /NBAE/Getty

Two men were charged Tuesday in the death of a former New York Knicks draft choice whose body was found in his car on a Brooklyn street last November, Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal announced Wednesday.

Mark A. Holdbrooks, 59, and alleged accomplice David Victor, 35, have been charged with murder and other offenses after a yearlong investigation into the killing of 35-year-old former University of Arizona basketball star Michael Wright, authorities said.

Holdbrooks, Wright’s longtime roommate, allegedly reported him missing on November 8, 2015, Grewal said. Wright’s body was found two days later in Brooklyn, covered by a large garbage bag inside his own car. Grewal did not specify a motive or mention how Wright was killed but said he had suffered “head trauma.”

Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office
Bergen County Prosecutor's Office

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Authorities said their investigation determined that Wright had allegedly been drugged and murdered in the Closter, New Jersey, home he shared with Holdbrooks and the men’s two respective young daughters, Dave Paladino, a New Jersey-based trainer who helped Wright rehab from injury during his career, told NBC. Holdbrooks and Victor then allegedly loaded Wright’s body into Wright’s white Lexus before Victor drove it to Brooklyn and abandoned it, authorities said.

Paladino said he collected donations at his gym in the wake of the tragedy and allegedly handed $1,300 over to Holdbrooks, authorities said, according to NBC.

“It’s really strange I handed this man money on Mike’s behalf, for his daughter,” Paladino told NBC.

Paladino recalled visiting with Holdbrooks after Wright was found dead.

“Mark answered the door, hugged me, told me Mike loved me, spoke highly of me,” Paladino told NBC. “And that was the same man that [allegedly] murdered him.”

Both Holdbrooks and Victor were charged with murder, possession of a weapon, desecration of human remains, hindering apprehension and possession of Gama Hydroxybutyrate, Grewal said. They are each being held on $3,000,000 bail, Grewal said.

It is not known whether either has entered a plea or retained an attorney.

According to NBC, Wright was drafted by the New York Knicks in 2001 a standout career at the University of Arizona. He was waived by the team before playing a regular season game, but he enjoyed a successful career in European leagues.