MIAMI (CBSMiami) – One of the men jailed in the shooting death of Washington Redskins player Sean Taylor was back in court Friday.
Under terms of a plea deal, Venjah Hunte pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against the others at their trials. In return he was sentenced to 29 years. A hearing has been scheduled to address Hunte’s request for a reduction in prison time since he did co-operate with the state. He asked that his sentence be reduced to 20 to 25 years.
Prosecutors balked at this notion. They claim he had written letters to the families of his co-defendants saying the shooting didn’t happen the way it was portrayed in court.
The state claims the sending of the letters was a violation of the plea agreement and opposed any reduction in prison sentence.
During the hearing Hunte made an emotional plea to the court to not add any more time onto his sentence. His mother asked the judge for a reduction.
In the end, the judge let the terms of the plea agreement stand and maintained Hunte’s 29 year sentence.
In January 2014, the man who actually shot Taylor during a botched burglary attempt was sentenced to 57.5 years in prison. He had been facing life in prison. Death penalty was not an option because Rivera was a teenager at the time of the murder.
According to court testimony, Hunte, Rivera and three young men drove over from Ft. Myers on Thanksgiving weekend in 2007 with the intention of burglarizing Taylor’s Palmetto Bay home. They thought the house would be empty since he would be away for a game.
The night of the burglary, Taylor was home due to an injury. When he tried to protect his high school sweetheart Jackie Garcia and their daughter, Rivera shot him.
Jason Mitchell, the alleged mastermind of the burglary plan, was found guilty of first degree murder and armed burglary in 2014 and given a life sentence.
Charles Wardlow was sentenced to 30 years in prison on April 1, 2015. Wardlow’s cousin, Timmy Brown, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 years.