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

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid