23-year-old found guilty in Sean Taylor's shooting death

Nov. 4, 2013 at 4:29 PM
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MIAMI, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- A 23-year-old Florida man was found guilty of second-degree murder Monday in the 2007 shooting death of Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor.

Eric Rivera of Fort Myers had been charged with first-degree murder but the jury concluded 16 hours of deliberations over four days with a guilty verdict on second-degree murder and armed burglary.

Rivera could be sentenced to life in prison for the convictions. The death penalty isn't an option in the case because Rivera was a teenager when Taylor was killed.

Taylor, 24, was away from the Redskins recuperating from a football-related injury when he was shot during a break-in at his home in Palmetto Bay, Fla., on Nov. 26, 2007. He was hit in the femoral artery in his leg and was declared dead the next day at a Miami hospital.

Rivera, who was 17 at the time of the incident, was among five people arrested in the case. One suspect, Venjah Hunte, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 29 years in prison in an agreement in which he was to cooperative if called to testify against the others.

Three defendants are yet to stand trial.

Taylor was the fifth overall selection of the 2004 NFL draft and made the Pro Bowl in two of his four seasons. He was voted all-pro and to the Pro Bowl in 2007 after he died. The Redskins inducted Taylor into the team's Ring of Fame in 2008.

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