Monday, May 12, 2008

No death penalty in Sean Taylor case

Sporting News staff reports

The four men charged in the murder of Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor will not face the death penalty, the Fort Myers News Press reports. Rather, prosecutors are asking for life in prison without parole.

Florida lawyer and Taylor family spokesman Richard Sharpstein explained to the Washington Post that the prosecutors' decision is no surprise to the Taylors. The crime was committed in Miami, and Florida law prohibits the death penalty in cases where the shooter is a juvenile -- even if co-defendants are not minors. Eric Rivera Jr. is the alleged shooter in the Taylor case, and he was 17 at the time.

Rivera, Venjah Hunte, Jason Scott Mitchell and Charles Wardlow are charged with first-degree murder in the November murder of Taylor. Mitchell also was 17 at the time of the robbery attempt and shooting at Taylor's home; Hunte was 20, and Wardlow was 18.

The murder trial is set to begin Aug. 25.

Sharpstein said the family supports the prosecutors in the case and accepts what the law allows as the maximum punishment.

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