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Sean Taylor’s Murder Trial Finally Begins
- Updated: October 15, 2013
After several delays, jury selection began Tuesday for Eric Rivera Jr’s first-degree murder trial. Because Rivera, now 23, was only 17 at the time of the crime, he faces life in prison instead of the death penalty if convicted. Jury selection is expected to take about four days.
Four other people were also charged in the case. One of them, Venjah Hunte, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and burglary charges and is expected to testify against Rivera. The other three are scheduled to go to trial later on lesser charges. Hunte’s plea deal calls for a 29-year prison term instead of life.
Taylor’s murder was a shocking event that shook the Washington Redskins at it’s very core seeing as Taylor was not only the best player the burgundy and gold had, but also their leader. Taylor had also became a loving father and dear friend to many within in the organization.
Santana Moss, said he still says “a little prayer” for Taylor every time he takes the field. “I have a few people that have passed away in my life as friends that have meant something to me, and I’m always constantly speaking to them. That’s just something I do. He’s one of those guys,” Moss said.
The Redskins gave $500,000 to a fund for Taylor’s young daughter after he died and, in the first game after his slaying, the team’s defense took the field against Buffalo with only 10 players on the first play — leaving Taylor’s free safety position vacant to honor him.
To many fans, players and others connected with both the Redskins and the “U” at Miami, it was heartbreaking to see such a talented player’s life and career cut short so brutally.
“He was a young man who was learning quickly how to be a great human being, and, to me, he was the best football player I’ve ever seen in person,” said former Redskins tight end Chris Cooley, a nine-year veteran who now does broadcasts for the team. “He was the most physical, the most gifted, the hardest-working guy that I’ve been around, and it was such an unfortunate thing.”