Thursday, December 6, 2007

Attorney: No talk of plea deal

FORT MYERS: The law firm representing Eric Rivera says a published report claiming they are seeking a plea deal in the murder of NFL player Sean Taylor is wrong.

The statement, which is attributed to attorney Sawyer Smith, was reportedly made after the hearing for the 17-year-old Rivera in Miami Wednesday morning.

News outlets across the country picked up the story, including Fox Sports, MSNBC and CBS Sports.

The story originated from The Associated Press, and quotes Smith as saying:

"When the State Attorney's Office is ready, we would like to sit down and begin discussion with them so we can move towards a resolution in the case that has the best interest of all parties in mind," Smith said. "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."

Smith says any talk of a plea deal is premature.

"It is too early to discuss defenses in the case or case strategy," Smith told NBC2.

Rivera was transferred from juvenile detention in Lee County Tuesday night. At the court appearance Rivera was denied bond.

The other three suspects in the case, Charles Wardlow, Jason Mitchell and Venjah Hunte, were also denied bond during hearings Tuesday. They were also placed on suicide watch.

All four were formally charged with first degree felony murder and armed burglary with assault and firearm.

Rivera, who has been identified by prosecutors as the triggerman in Taylor's death, will be tried as an adult but is not eligible for the death penalty.

Authorities say the suspects broke into Taylor's home early November 26th, but that the killing was unplanned because the four didn't think the football star would be home at the time of the burglary.

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