MIAMI (AP) — The man accused of fatally shooting Washington Redskins star Sean Taylor during a botched 2007 burglary testified Tuesday that he never went into the player’s home that night and cast his confession as coming only under police pressure and amid purported threats to his family.
Testifying in his murder trial, Eric Rivera Jr., 23, blamed the shooting on another member of the group of five that drove from Fort Myers to Miami, supposedly to steal large amounts of cash they thought Taylor kept around. Rivera said he and a friend never even got out of the car parked outside Taylor’s house.
“I just thought they was going to go in and get the money and come back out,” Rivera testified. “I was just sitting in the passenger seat.”
Rivera said another member of the gang, Venjah Hunte, had a gun and acknowledged firing the fatal shot. Hunte has pleaded guilty in the case but did not admit to shooting Taylor. Three others charged in the case face trial later.
Under questioning by defense attorney Janese Caruthers, Rivera flatly denied shooting Taylor and denied that he disposed of the 9mm handgun by throwing it into the Everglades. He also denied wearing the type of Nike shoes that left prints around Taylor’s house and said the idea of burglarizing Taylor’s home was not his.
It wasn’t until the group was driving across Florida that Taylor’s name came up.
“I found out, they was just saying that Sean Taylor had money in his house, they were just going to go in and get it. They already know where it’s at,” Rivera testified.