Man gets 57 years in prison in death of Redskins’ Taylor

  • Associated Press
  • Thursday, January 23, 2014 2:49pm
  • SportsSports

MIAMI — The man who prosecutors say fired the shot that killed Washington Redskins star Sean Taylor during a botched 2007 burglary was sentenced Thursday to more than 57 years in state prison.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Dennis Murphy imposed the sentence on Eric Rivera, 23, one of five Fort Myers-area men charged with Taylor’s death after they broke into his house looking to steal cash. One has pleaded guilty and three others are still awaiting trial.

Rivera confessed to police on videotape that he shot Taylor after the NFL player confronted them at his bedroom door with a machete. In the confession, Rivera also said the group didn’t realize Taylor would be home with a knee injury instead of playing a Redskins game against Tampa Bay.

“He lost his life defending and protecting his family,” said Assistant State Attorney Reid Rubin in a closing statement. “They kicked the door in and they shot him and killed him, for no good reason.”

Testifying in his own defense last fall, Rivera claimed the confession was false and improperly coerced, and that someone else in the group shot Taylor with a 9mm handgun. A jury convicted him of second-degree murder and armed burglary. He was originally charged with first-degree murder but was ineligible for the death penalty because he was 17 at the time of the killing.

In a brief statement, Rivera told members of Taylor’s family he was sorry for the killing and that Taylor was “a good man.”

“I live with his death every day. I’m going to have to deal with the consequences,” he said.

Several Rivera family members pleaded for leniency, noting that Rivera was still a minor at the time and that he had never been in trouble with the law before. But Rubin said Rivera had committed perjury in his testimony and tried to influence the testimony of others in his case.

“He’s a sophisticated, manipulative criminal. There’s no good reason to believe he will change,” Rubin said.

Rivera could have gotten life behind bars. His lawyers are planning to appeal his conviction.

Taylor, a first-round pick by the Redskins in the 2004 draft, was a hard-hitting Pro Bowl safety who had previously starred at the University of Miami. He was shot during the November 2007 confrontation in the upper thigh, damaging his femoral artery and leading to massive blood loss. Taylor was 24 when he died.

His girlfriend at the time, Jackie Garcia Haley, and their then-18-month old daughter were in the room with Taylor when the confrontation occurred. Garcia Haley, in a statement read by Rubin, said Taylor’s death was difficult to bear — particularly for their daughter, also named Jackie.

“You only get one dad and hers is gone. It breaks my heart to pieces to go through each day and each milestone without him,” she said.

The gun was never found. Police said it was stuffed in a sock and thrown into the Everglades.

Several witnesses at Rivera’s trial testified that Taylor often kept large sums of cash in the house. One of the other men charged in the slaying, 25-year-old Jason Mitchell, attended a birthday party a few weeks earlier for Taylor’s half-sister, who testified Taylor gave her a purse containing $10,000.

The half-sister, Sasha Johnson, lived in Fort Myers and knew Rivera. In his testimony, Rivera said the group thought they could steal between $100,000 and $200,000 in cash by burglarizing Taylor’s house.

More in Sports

Lake Stevens girls show grit in 66-58 win over Glacier Peak

The Vikings rally from 13 down at half to take over sole possession of 1st place in Wesco 4A.

Friday’s prep basketball scores, recaps

Once again, a variety of local high school basketball players turned in… Continue reading

Bearcats pull away from Jackson in 79-67 win

Monroe’s Colby Kyle scores 24 points in his return from injury and Spencer Davidson tacks on 21.

Silvertips set to host pair of East Division powerhouses

Brandon and Swift Current make rare appearances in Everett this weekend.

‘Fear’ drives UWs Carter III back to the gym every single day

The freshman PG tries to get in 500 shots a day on his quest to be a success on the floor and in life.

Friday’s prep stars of the night

George Reidy, G, Cedar Park Christian Reidy, a senior, scored 38 of… Continue reading

Everett’s Stephan Erosa, left, competes against Arlington Brantly StupeyThursday night at Arlington High School in Arlington on January 18, 2018. The Eagles won 37-25.(Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Arlington wrestlers scrap to 37-25 win over Everett

Aggressive lineup moves pay off for the Eagles in a big Wesco 3A North win over the Seagulls.

Additions of Murray, Sharp give Silvertips depth

After a ‘crazy busy’ week upon being traded to Everett, the new duo is finally settling in.

Coupeville boys basketball celebrating 101st anniversary Friday

The Coupeville High School boys basketball program is celebrating its… Continue reading

Most Read