It has been almost six years now since Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor was shot and killed in his own home by intruders. On Tuesday, a Florida jury convicted Eric Rivera, Jr. of second-degree murder in the botched burglary attempt.
Taylor, a rising star and Pro Bowler at the time of his death, was shot on Nov. 26, 2007 and died two days later, a stunning loss to his friends and teammates in the organization. But even with a verdict in for what should be the first of several trials of the five accused burglars, there was little solace for Taylor’s friends.
“I haven’t been following it. I feel whatever happens to [Rivera, Jr.], whatever it comes down to, whatever the verdict is - as long as justice sees its way through that,” Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss said. “I feel like whatever is done is done. There’s nothing for me to sit back and keep poring over and letting it play over and over in my head. It wasn’t something that you want to remember.”
Taylor, who died at 24, was out with a knee injury at the time and back at his home in the Miami area with the Redskins playing across the state in Tampa Bay earlier that day. Taylor’s girlfriend, Jackie Garcia Haley, and 18-month-old daughter were also home at the time. Taylor was shot in his bedroom. Three of the five remaining defendants still await trial while another pleaded guilty and is already serving 29 years in prison.
Rivera, Jr. originally confessed to the shooting, but later recanted and claimed that he never entered the Taylor house. The 12-person jury needed 16 hours to deliberate his fate over four days. Rivera, Jr. is not eligible for the death penalty.