News / USA

Florida Man Found Guilty of Killing NFL's Sean Taylor

Eric Rivera, Jr. is moved to the courtroom holding room for the start of the fourth day of jury deliberation - and later found guilty - in the murder trial of Washington Redskins football star Sean Taylor, in Miami, Nov. 4, 2013.
Eric Rivera, Jr. is moved to the courtroom holding room for the start of the fourth day of jury deliberation - and later found guilty - in the murder trial of Washington Redskins football star Sean Taylor, in Miami, Nov. 4, 2013.
Reuters
— A Florida jury on Monday convicted 23-year-old Eric Rivera, Jr. of second-degree murder in the 2007 slaying of Washington Redskins football star Sean Taylor during a botched burglary at his Miami-area home.

Rivera also was found guilty of armed burglary.

After confessing to law enforcement agents that he killed Taylor, Rivera testified during the trial that authorities had pressured him into the confession. He blamed the killing on one of the four co-defendants in the case.

Prosecutors said Rivera, who was charged with first-degree murder, and the four co-defendants hatched a burglary plot after one of the group visited Taylor's house and saw him give his sister $10,000 in cash.

“The truth is he's guilty,” state prosecutor Reid Rubin argued during closing arguments last week, disputing the defense claim that police coerced the confession from Rivera, who was 17 when he was arrested for the shooting.

“He admitted it under oath and he admitted in court,” said Rubin.

During the two-week trial, prosecutors presented cell phone records showing calls relayed to and from Rivera's phone through a tower near Taylor's home and a print of a Nike Shox sneaker found near the concrete wall around the house.

While Rivera confessed to owning a pair of such sneakers, defense attorneys said the videotaped confession came after a lengthy interrogation during which Rivera was denied food and phone calls.

“They created a secret interrogation situation away from family, away from friends, away from parents,” defense attorney Chris Brown told the court during the trial. “They counted on the fact that you would say 'they're police officers, I believe them.”'

Rivera was arrested less than a week after the shooting. Defense attorneys argued that investigators ambushed Rivera outside of his home, confiscated his cell phone and shuttled him to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement building, the location of which was not widely known.

Rivera was one of five young men charged with murder, home invasion and burglary, and the first to face a jury after years of legal delays.

One defendant, Venjah Hunte, now 25, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 2010 and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. Still awaiting trial are Charles Wardlow, 24; Jason Scott Mitchell, 25; and Timothy Brown, 22.

Taylor was an All-American at the University of Miami who led the nation for interceptions in 2003. The Washington Redskins drafted him fifth overall in the 2004 National Football League draft and he became a starter after three games.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid