Florida man sentenced to almost 60 years for killing NFL star
MIAMI (Reuters) - A 23-year-old man convicted of second-degree murder in the 2007 killing of Washington Redskins football star Sean Taylor was sentenced to 57-1/2 years in prison on Thursday.
Eric Rivera Jr. had also been found guilty of armed burglary in the slaying of Taylor during a botched burglary at the football player's Miami-area home.
Convicted by a jury in November, Rivera admitted in a videotaped confession to police that he shot Taylor, but he later testified during the trial that authorities pressured him into the confession.
Wearing a prison jumpsuit, Rivera apologized to members of Taylor's family before his sentencing. He faced as much as a life sentence.
"My words may not mean much," Rivera said. "Over these past six years, I learned Mr. Taylor was a good man and I'm not making excuses for my decisions or my actions. But I just wanted to say that I live with it everyday and I'm going to have to live with the consequences and I'm truly sorry for your loss."
During an 11-day trial, prosecutors said Rivera, who was charged with first-degree murder, and four co-defendants hatched a burglary plot after one of the group visited Taylor's house and saw him give his sister $10,000 in cash.
Rivera was arrested less than a week after the shooting.
Prosecutors also presented cellphone records showing calls relayed to and from Rivera's phone through a tower near Taylor's home and a print of a Nike Shox sneaker found near the concrete wall around the house.
While Rivera confessed to owning a pair of the sneakers, defense attorneys said the videotaped confession came after a lengthy interrogation during which Rivera was denied food and phone calls. Continued...