Accused of the murder of Canes, Redskins star Sean Taylor finally heads to trial – Miami-Dade – MiamiHerald.com
Jury selection begins Tuesday for Eric Rivera, who is charged with murder for shooting the former University of Miami football star during a botched burglary in November 2007
Tuesday marks the opening of jury selection for Eric Rivera, the first person to go to trial in the high-profile November 2007 slaying. He is one of five men accused of breaking into Taylor’s Palmetto Bay house during a botched burglary that turned deadly.
Rivera, 23, is facing life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder and armed burglary,
Awaiting future trials: Charles Wardlow, 24, Jason Scott Mitchell, 25, and Timothy Brown, 22. The fifth defendant, Venjah Hunte, 25, already has pleaded guilty and may testify against the others.
The sudden, senseless death of the home-grown star and new father triggered an outpouring of emotion in South Florida. Some 3,000 people, including the entire Washington team and the commissioner of the National Football League, attended Taylor’s funeral in Miami, which filled an auditorium at Florida International University.
The Redskins defense took to the field with only 10 men for a first play in their next game — a tribute to the hard-hitting free safety.
But since the suspects were arrested a few days after the killing, the case has slowed to crawl.
Scheduling conflicts and Rivera switching attorneys several times have delayed court-room proceedings. Police, lawyers and even Taylor’s relatives have been prohibited from speaking to the media because of a gag order issued by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Dennis Murphy soon after the arrests.
Jury selection is expected to last most of the week.
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