In 2007, intruders shot and killed safety Sean Taylor in his home. Nearly seven years later, only one of the defendants has gone to trial. The second defendant faces a judge and jury this week.
According to David Ovalle of the Miami Herald, 25-year-old Jason Mitchell’s trial begins Tuesday. Mitchell is the accused mastermind of the burglary gone horribly wrong, with the criminals believing Taylor wasn’t home before entering the residence.
Eric Rivera, the suspected shooter, was convicted last year of second-degree murder. A jury could not unanimously agree that Rivera pulled the trigger. He nevertheless received a sentence of 57-1/2 years.
Prosecutors contend Mitchell got the idea for robbing Taylor’s Miami home after attending a birthday party for Taylor’s sister there. She has testified that Mitchell saw her open a gift from Taylor that included $10,000 in cash. The theory is that Mitchell, who owns a shoe that matches a print found at Taylor’s house after the shooting, decided to return at some point to get some money of his own.
Taylor wasn’t supposed to be there. The incident happened during football season, but a knee injury resulted in Taylor being allowed to go to Miami at a time when he otherwise would have been with his Washington teammates.
Two other defendants await trial — 24-year-old Charles Wardlow and 22-year-old Timothy Brown. 26-year-old Venjah Hunte previously pleaded guilty; he could be testifying against Mitchell.
Regardless of the outcome, this case is another example of the reality that the wheels of justice in many cases barely move at all. And it could be a sign of just how long it will take for former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez to see his day in court for not one but three charges of murder.