On November 26, 2007 at approximately 1:45am 5 teens from Fort Myers, FL broke into the home of Sean Taylor and shot him in the leg. As he was in the hospital, across the country fans kept a close eye on the news to see what his condition was. On November 27 Sean died from his injuries.
Just a couple months before the murder of The Redskins Safety, he had a party for his half sister Sasha Johnson. September 27 he had a party at his Florida home for Sasha’s 18th birthday. It was a long weekend and she had her boyfriend, Devon Wardlow the uncle of Charles Wardlow (one of the murderers) as well as Jason Mitchell stay for the weekend. They earned some extra cash preparing for the party by mowing the lawn and helping out around the house. It was at this party where Jason Mitchell saw a safe in Sean’s bedroom and witnessed his sister Sasha open a new purse with $10,000 cash in it. Police believe it was at that time that Jason came up with the plan to rob the Taylor residence. Jason got together with his friends Charles Wardlow, Eric Rivera Jr, Vanjah Hunte, and Timmy Brown and they hatched the plan on what they were going to do the night of November 25, 2007. Earlier in the day they rented a car from Hertz in Fort Myers to use to drive across the state to Sean’s House. They had a gun and they all wore black. I am not sure why people think wearing all black is part of the burglary thing to do but they did it. They got in the car and drove the 3 hours across the state to Palmetto Bay, a Miami suburb where Sean’s home was. He was staying there while the Redskins were in Tampa as he nursed an injury. They arrived in the middle of the night and climbed over his fence using a Comcast cable wiring box to help them over. They broke into the house using the gun. They shot thru the hurricane shutters Sean had on the patio door by the pool. When they got inside one of them made a noise and they got scared and ran back out to the car. At that point whoever made the noise confessed to it in the car and suggested they go back in the house to finish.
They entered the house a second time and went towards the bedroom to where Jason said the safe was. At that point Sean and Jackie started to wake in the bedroom and heard the commotion going on in the house and Sean got up and got his machete to protect his sleeping daughter and his fiance. Sean was waiting for the intruders on the other side of the bedroom door. Eric Rivera kicked the door in and surprised to see Sean standing there on the other side with a machete he fired a shot. The shot hit Sean in the leg severing his femoral artery. At that point they all ran out of the house and headed back towards their homes in Lehigh Acres and Fort Myers. Along Alligator Alley they tossed the gun out the window of the car into the Everglades. When they got home in the wee hours of the morning they burned their clothes. Most of them did. One suspect did not burn the clothes he was wearing that night and none of them got rid of the shoes they were wearing. After it was announced that Sean had passed from his injury, an anonymous call came into the police department saying that the murderers were a group of boys from the Fort Myers area. The police started to pull the toll booth violators and found the rental car that was used in the murder and traced t back to the Hertz rental company in the middle of the city. There they found that it was picked up a couple days before by Eric Rivera and one of the other suspects.
During the trial of Eric Rivera the evidence came out that the police pulled their phone records and could tie them to the towers located near Sean’s house at the time of the murder. They also found their footprints on the Comcast wiring box outside the home by the fence. They also found some clothing at the home of one of the other suspects along with the shoes Eric Rivera wore the night he kicked in the door and shot Sean Taylor known to fans and teammates as Meast.
So far out of the 5 suspects, 3 have been sentenced. Vanjah Hunte was the first to be sentenced when he plead guilty to Second Degree Murder and received a sentence of 29yrs. He was supposed to testify for the state in the trial of Eric Rivera but for reasons unknown, he was not there. Even tho Venjah did not testify, Eric Rivera did. He told the jurors he was only there for the ride and did not play any part in the murder of Sean. Because all his friends pointed him as the shooter and he was 17 at the time, they were all spared the death penalty due to FL laws. The jury found him guilty of Second Degree Murder and Armed burglary. He was sentenced to 57 1/2 years. The trial of Jason Mitchell just ended yesterday and he was found guilty of First Degree Murder and Armed Burglary and received and automatic life sentence for the Murder charge and an additional 40 years for the Armed Burglary. Still waiting for Charles Wardlow and Timmy Brown to take deals or go to trial. Hopefully the family of Sean Taylor will be able to put this behind them knowing that justice is done.
Sean Taylor’s locker at Redskins park was encased in Plexiglas to be preserved the way he left it the last time he was there. Altho the Redskins did not officially retire his jersey #21, there has not been another incoming player to accept that number since his passing. Sean will always be a part of the Redskins team. It’s hard to believe a life was lost all because he invited people into his home. He was humble. He didn’t let his fame get to him. He paid 2 kids $300 to mow his lawn and let them spend the weekend in his home and it cost him his life. Sometimes I don’t mind that celebrities are so private… look at where it gets people these days to open up their homes to kids who are so greedy and lazy that they can’t work for a dime they’d rather take someone elses.