Former UCLA Player Billy Knight Found Dead After Being Accused of Sexually Abusing a Child
Former UCLA basketball player Billy Knight — who was facing multiple charges for sexual abuse against a child— was found dead on a Phoenix roadway just days after he released a disturbing video where he expressed feeling remorse about having lived “a life of sin.”
Knight, 39, was found unresponsive just before 3 a.m. on Sunday morning and pronounced dead by the Phoenix Fire Department a short time later, PEOPLE confirms. There are currently no signs of foul play, Sergeant Vince Lewis of the Phoenix Police Department tells PEOPLE, and Knight’s cause of death is now being determined by the Maricopa County Medical Examiner.
The former basketball player’s death comes just weeks after he was charged with six felonies for the sexual abuse of a child, PEOPLE confirms.
The indictment — filed on June 13 at Maricopa County Superior Court — states that between April 1, 2017, and March 31, 2018, Knight engaged in multiple acts of sexual intercourse or sexual contact with an underage girl. Knight was accused of abusing the victim on a couch as the two watched movies and while the child was asleep in her mother’s bed.
On Wednesday, TMZ Sports reported that the child was just 9 years old.
Just days before he was found dead, Knight posted a video to YouTube, titled “I am Sorry Lord,” where he expressed regret about having hurt those around him, though he didn’t go into specifics.
“This is probably my last message on Earth,” Knight said in the now deleted video, according to CBS News. “I just want to say that I lived a life of sin. I lied. I cheated, and I stole from many people. I was a taker. That’s why my life ended up where it is now.”
Knight, who played for UCLA’s men’s basketball team from 1998 to 2002, said he felt isolated from friends and family.
“Life is not a game,” he said. “You can’t play around with life. It’s serious, and I wasn’t honest with a lot of people, even my mom, my brother and my family members. I isolated myself from my family members. I isolated myself from my friends, and that’s not something you should do.”
In the video, Knight admitted to hearing voices and urged others to seek treatment if they were experiencing similar feelings.
“I’m lost in life, and I feel like there’s no hope,” he continued. “I have no friends with me here. I have no wife, girlfriend. I have nothing, and I just feel like I can’t continue on.”
UCLA Basketball released a statement to Twitter following Knight’s passing.
“Our hearts are heavy after learning Billy Knight has passed away,” the statement, which was released before Knight’s felonies came to light, reads. “We ask that the Bruin family keep Billy’s loved ones in their thoughts during this difficult time.”
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After finishing his tenure at UCLA, Knight was not selected in the 2002 NBA Draft and went on to play professionally in the NBA’s developmental league and overseas.
Knight’s death comes shortly after the passing of another ex UCLA player, Tyler Honeycutt, who died during a shootout with the Los Angeles Police Department on Friday afternoon. Honeycutt was drafted to the NBA in 2011 by the Sacramento Kings. After two seasons, he was traded to the Houston Rockets, before being released shortly after.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “help” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.