MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Jury deliberations are done for the day in the trial of a man accused of fatally shooting former UM star and Washington Redskins player Sean Taylor during a botched robbery in 2007.
The jury concluded their 2nd day of deliberations with no verdict. The group is going home for “Halloween Festivities.”
The 12-person jury panel began considering the case of Eric Rivera Jr. Wednesday evening
In a closing argument, a prosecutor urged the panel to rely primarily on Eric Rivera Jr.’s confession days after the crime, but Rivera testified in his own defense that police pressured him to confess and insisted that he didn’t even go inside Taylor’s Miami-area home that night. Assistant State Attorney Reid Rubin said Rivera’s story was full of holes and jurors should consider his Nov. 30, 2007, videotaped confession overwhelming evidence of his guilt.
Rivera, 23, told the jury he stayed in the car during the botched burglary and that another man, Venjah Hunt, was the shooter.
Testimony showed Taylor was fatally shot during a failed burglary at his Miami-area home by a group of young men from Fort Myers. They tried to burglarize the Pro Bowl player’s 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 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 that videotaped confession that Rivera gave police.
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.
Rivera faces charges of 1st degree murder, but the jury can also convict on lesser included charges of 2nd degree murder, manslaughter, burglary with a battery, and trespassing. 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.