MIAMI (CBSMiami) – After fewer than five days of testimony, prosecutors rested their case Monday morning against accused killer Eric Rivera as the medical examiner described how a single 9-millimeter slug killed Washington Redskins football star Sean Taylor.
Pathologist Dr. Satish Chundru testified that the bullet struck Taylor in the femoral artery of his right groin, and that the strapping defensive back essentially bled to death on the bedroom floor of his Palmetto Bay home in November, 2007.
“When he arrived at the hospital, he had no pulse,” the coroner told jurors.
“After a few minutes of blood loss brain cells get no oxygen and the body shuts down,” the M.E. testified.
As the doctor recounted Taylor’s fatal injuries, Jackie Garcia, his high school sweetheart and the mother of their 18-month-old daughter, who shared the Palmetto Bay home with Taylor, lowered her head and softly wept.
Rivera and four pals, prosecutors say, drove from Fort Myers to the Taylor home in Miami-Dade County intending to burglarize the house in an effort to make off with tens of thousands of dollars in cash they believed they would find there.
The group also mistakenly believed that no one would be home, because Taylor had a football game that Thanksgiving weekend. An injury, however, kept him away from the game.
The life ebbed from Taylor’s body as his girlfriend cried over him, and cried out for help in a call to 911.
The evidence against Rivera includes a tennis shoe print on the kicked in door of Taylor’s bedroom that matches shoes Rivera was wearing, cell phone records that put Rivera in the area, testimony from acquaintances from Fort Myers, and a video taped confession that Rivera gave police.
The defense is expected to call Rivera’s father and several police detectives in an effort to show the confession elicited from the suspect was, in fact, coerced.
Three of the five defendants in the Taylor murder case await trial. A fourth plead guilty earlier, accepting a 29 year sentence, and agreeing to cooperate against the others if called to testify.
If convicted, Rivera faces life in prison. Because he was a teenager at the time of the alleged murder, the death penalty is not an option.