After several delays, Eric Rivera, one of Sean Taylor's alleged killed finally faces trial starting today. In the opening statements, prosecutors painted Rivera as an incompetent criminal whose plans with four friends to "score some easy cash" by burgling Taylor's home went awry when they found the former Miami Hurricane and NFL all star at home.
On November 18th, 2007 Rivera along with Venjah K. Hunte, Jason Scott Mitchell, Timothy Brown and Charles Kendrick Lee Wardlow, drove over to Miami from Fort Myers in hopes of stealing from Taylor's home. The Washington Redskins were playing that night they assumed Taylor wouldn't be home, but were surprised when the broke in to find Taylor, his girlfriend, and their child sleeping. Taylor was recovering form an injury at the time.
The group had earlier visited Taylor's Palmetto Bay home and saw Taylor give his sister $10,000 in cash. They figured there must be more cash sitting around in the home.
"The plan was drive a few hours, break into the house and find the money," state attorney Ray Araujo said in his opening statements.
"Sean Taylor, defending himself, his family, his home, was shot by this defendant," he continued.
Rivera is believed to be the gunman who shot Taylor in the femoral artery. Taylor later died due to blood lose.
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Rivera later confessed to the killing in police questioning, but the defense claims that the confession was forced and that Rivera is innocent.
Rivera is the first to actually face trial, though because he was 17 at the time of the shooting he will not face the death penalty.
Hunte had previously entered a guilty plea. Mitchell, Brown and Wardlow are still awaiting trials.