It’s been almost half a decade since Washington Redskins’ safety Sean Taylor was shot and killed inside his own bedroom in November of 2007. If you don’t remember the case, Taylor was home alone when, according to police, a group of individuals broke into the house with the intention of burglarizing it. In the process, Taylor was shot in the leg and eventually died of his wounds.
Shortly thereafter, police arrested four individuals — 20-year-old Venjah K. Hunte, 17-year-old Eric Rivera, Jr., 19-year-old Jason Scott Mitchell, and 18-year-old Charles Lee Kendrick Wardlow — in connection with the armed home invasion with a fifth suspect, 16-year-old Timothy Brown, arrested sometime later. Even though almost all were charged with first-degree murder, the death penalty was not sought because the alleged gunman, Rivera, was a minor.
Since then, Rivera’s trial has been postponed SIX times. The latest postponement, which came yesterday, leaves no set date for the trial to continue — just a relative idea that it should resume sometime this summer or fall.
Rivera’s attorney, identified as Judd Aronowitz, motioned for the postponement saying that he had only taken over the case a month earlier and needed more time to prepare. He asked for a trial date in October or November but prosecutor Reid Rubin couldn’t agree to a set date because he didn’t know what his workload or schedule would look like just yet.
The truly bizarre thing in all this is when Rivera, now 22, fired his original attorney, Clinton Pitts, the judge in the case, Dennis J. Murphy, warned Rivera that the trial date would not be moved again. And yet, now it has, apparently for the exact reason that Murphy said it would not.
Had the trial began without this most recent postponement, as it was scheduled to this week, it would have been four years to the month since the trial was originally scheduled to begin.
A gag order has prohibited just about everyone tied to the case from commenting on the proceedings. But it hasn’t quieted Richard Sharpstein, a Miami attorney and friend of the Taylor family (Taylor is survived by his high school sweetheart and daughter who was just an infant when her father was killed).
In my opinion, anyways, Sharpstein’s comments best sum up the delivery of justice thus far in this case:
Said Sharpstein, “This case has taken far more time than it should have to be prosecuted. I certainly don’t think the prosecutors have been dragging their feet, but a ridiculous merry-go-round of lawyers and a multitude of [questionable] decisions by the defendants have made it ridiculous and absurd.”
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When Bryan isn’t writing for GuysNation, he is on Twitter! Follow him @bclienech.