Alleged Sean Taylor Shooter Arraigned, Seeks Plea Deal

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Four suspects indicted on murder and burglary charges in the slaying of NFL star Sean Taylor began their journey through the courts on Wednesday.

Court documents say the youngest, Eric Rivera, Jr., 17, is alleged to have fired the fatal shot. He appeared briefly on Wednesday morning.

Eric Rivera was indicted as an adult and Judge John Thornton found probable cause to support charges of first degree felony murder and burglary.

Three other suspects - Venjah K. Hunte, 20, Jason Scott Mitchell, 19, and Charles Kendrick Lee Wardlow, 18 - appeared Tuesday in a Miami court.

Eric Rivera Mug Shot

Eric Rivera, Jr., 17, is alleged to have fired the shot that killed Sean Taylor.

The four Sean Taylor suspects wore thick green vests, which defense lawyers said were suicide safety smocks. They were ordered held without bail at the Pre-Trial Detention Center in Miami and are under suicide watch.

Eric Rivera was armed during the alleged burglary, and "during the course of the commission of the offense ... discharged a firearm and as a result of the discharge, death or great bodily harm was inflicted upon [Sean Taylor]," the indictment says.

Sawyer Smith, who with his father Wilbur is representing Eric Rivera, said his client was admitting no wrongdoing and wants to work with prosecutors:

"We would like to sit down and begin discussion with the State attorneys so we can move towards a resolution in the case that has the best interest of all parties in mind We want to minimize the impact of case resolution on the Taylor family and find a result that's in the best interest of justice. Plea negotiations are typical in criminal cases. However, we don't know when or if that will occur."

The four suspects were arrested Friday. Sean Taylor, 24, died a day after he was shot during thge apparent burglary at his home. Miami-Dade police said they believe the burglars thought the house was empty when they broke in.

An estimated three thousand mourners attended the Washington Redskins Pro Bowl safety's funeral Monday at Florida International University's arena.

Sean Taylor and his girlfriend, Jackie Garcia (niece of actor Andy Garcia), were awakened by noise coming from the living room early November 26.

The football star got up and locked the bedroom door, but the door was kicked in and two shots were fired, police said. One struck Taylor in the leg, causing the football star severe loss of blood, from which he never recovered.

Jackie Garcia and the couple's 18-month-old daughter, who is also named Jackie, were not hurt during the suspects' intrusion, authorities said.

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Sean Taylor Mug Shot Sean Taylor is a safety for the Washington Redskins of the NFL and a former standout at the University of Miami. Sean Taylor has a... More »
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