Trial begins for alleged mastermind of Sean Taylor burglary

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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.

30 responses to “Trial begins for alleged mastermind of Sean Taylor burglary

  1. Could have been one of the best. People forget how good this guy was. Had the coverage ability of an Ed Reed but hit light a truck. The year he died, even though he only played in half the games he was still one of the league leaders in INTs. Such a sad story…

  2. “She has testified that Mitchell saw her open a gift from Taylor that included $10,000 in cash.”

    Never flaunt wealth around as it only breeds jealousy & hate & bad intentions by others, potentially. Never make it rain either.

  3. It’s a joke this scum is still alive , all this time will end up leading to a key piece of evidence to get lost. A young man lost his life on the SPOT this guy has already gotten an extra 7 years + another 2 for the trial and 18 years on death row. He’ll be close to a 45+ year old man before he’s put down like a dog.

  4. un freaking real… does the gov’t do ANYTHING efficiently? 7 years.. thats ridiculous.. I couldnt imagine, if someone in my family was killed, waiting that long for the POS to face trial

  5. It’s sad when you think about what an amazing career he could have had. You look at his highlight videos and you’d think he had a 15 year career.

  6. Do the math, and the guys on trial or awaiting trial were all between 17 and 20 years old at the time of the crime. That’s something disturbing to consider.

  7. The wheels of justice move so slowly because the system is entrusted to flim-flam politicians, lawyers and judges. It’s a multi-billion dollar corporation and everybody wants a piece of the pie.

  8. These guys have nothing to lose by stretching it out. They get to spend their time in the county lockup rather than a prison upstate and who knows, a witness could die or be convicted themselves for some heinous crime. Even when he is found guilty, the time he has done in the county lockup will be subtracted from his time upstate. In the meantime he is close to his family and things a bit looser than on Death Row.

  9. If I bought a new car and the wheels didn’t spin right round round round then I would complain and contest that what I have is not a car by definition. I wish more people were upset with the legal system so that things could be changed.

  10. Come on, after how that all went down, it’s clear nobody in that crew was a “mastermind”. At best, he’s the idiot that came up with the awful idea.

    Ashame that a young man with all the talent of Taylor had to lose his life because these morons want money and are too stupid to wait until game day, or when he’s on the road, and you know he’s not home.

    But I thought this happened in Maryland? If so, they don’t need to worry about death row, as was mentioned above. They no longer have the death penalty in Maryland

  11. They were never going to get a death sentence sumkat, their intent wasn’t to kill anyone, just to steal. I was sick as hell when this all went down, Taylor was my favorite player the year he was drafted and was one of the premier safeties at his death. These guys deserve punishment, but even my hawkish, pro death penalty, self doesn’t see the need for a death sentence here. What I do see as needed is justice for Taylor’s family, 7 years? Come on man!

  12. These were kids when this happened. They made a stupid decision but did not premeditate murder. It’s fair that the shooter got 2nd degree murder and 50+ yrs due to his previous record. The other boys should get attempted burglary and breaking / entering but not life sentences. There was no intent to kill. I wouldnt want my son to go to jail for a stupid juvenile decision to still money.

  13. “These were kids when this happened. They made a stupid decision but did not premeditate murder….There was no intent to kill. I wouldn’t want my son to go to jail for a stupid juvenile decision to [steal] money”

    A stupid decision for sure, but it doesn’t change the fact that Taylor died from a burglary gone horribly wrong. They were accomplices to a murder, and the only one who deserves a “reduced” sentence (read: not life in prison) is the guy who had pleaded guilty and will likely testify against one of the other defendants. They’re all going to jail for most, if not all, of their remaining lives.

    No parent would want his or her son to be in jail for most of his life, but these guys made their life choices on their own. They had all planned out this burglary and wanted to rob Taylor, thinking he wasn’t home at the time. Intent isn’t a deciding factor in how long these guys should be behind bars.

  14. Its crazy its been that long. I remember getting a text on my flip phone from espn when I was a junior in high school. I’ve got two kids and bills out my arse now. The judicial system is a joke. 21 deserves better.

  15. Only in Florida, just look at the countless my blowing crimes and trials and outcomes!!! And unless Hernandez is tried in Florida his won’t take 3/4 as long as this joke of justice has.

  16. If they thought he wasn’t home, Why were they carrying for arms?
    burglary and armed robbery are different

  17. I find the “they did not intend to kill anyone” extremely hallow. Why did they have the guns, a negotiation tactic?

    When I was younger, I knew guys who did similar things (as far as burglary). There were 2 types, the type that carried a gun, and the type that didn’t. The type that carried them, didn’t carry them as show pieces. Just having the gun adds 10 years to the charge in most jurisdictions. They know this. They don’t bring it if they don’t have intent on using it

  18. STILL my favorite player. Named my dog after him. Such a shame that the idiots of this world have to ruin it for the rest of us. We’ll ride for you all the way until the end in DC. ST21 FOREVER!

  19. Florida has done crazy laws and sentences! These fools were 16-17 year old kids! Taylor was great and all, but 57.5 years and he was not proven to be the shooter?! No wonder Aaron Hernandez shot so many. He wanted to be sure that when caught he actually deserved the buck Rogers he was going to get!

  20. Freaking unbelievable….it has been seven long years since Taylor was murdered and some of these dudes are still waiting to be tried?????? They must really have some scumbag lawyers and judges in this case. Whatever happened to the constitutional right to a speedy trial??? Think of all of the money the FL taxpayers have doled out on this one. Unbelievable…..this one ought to be in the Guiness Book.

  21. Why are these type cases not treated like car jackings. Currently FED law dictates that if someone is killed during an act of a car jacking, they are automatically eligible for a capital murder or first degree murder charge because the death occured during the commission of another crime. I was under the assumption that this was also true if a murder occurred during the act of robbery. The FEDS changed the law I believe to get the maximum sentence for offenders who rob banks and other business establishments and kill an employee in the process.

    I am a firm believer in “MOST” youngsters know well before the age of 17 of right and wrong and what constitutes breaking the law. However, greed, jealousy and laxed parental guidance can lead a young person to think they can get away with robbery or burglary in this case.

    So Sad!…Regardless of if their intent was to kill him or not, they need to pay for him losing his life even if it means they give up the right to whats left of theirs.

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