November will mark six years since the Washington Redskins star safety, Sean Taylor, was murdered in Florida. However for his family, friends, and fans, the botched home robbery which subsequently led to his untimely death probably seems like it took place yesterday. The old adage, time heals all wounds, never seems to apply when you’re mourning a loved one whose life was unexplainably cut short. The only sliver of solace one can find arrives when the judicial system works on behalf of the victim. For most, the emotional and grueling court process restores hope in knowing that those responsible for taking an innocent man, father, son, and friend’s life will be justly punished. However, for those closest to Taylor, the Florida justice system has been a dreadfully slow process. The original trial date for the five men accused in the robbery and death of Taylor was set for April 2008, but was repeatedly delayed for multiple reasons.
Finally, however, it’s reported that jury selection in the trial will take place today. Eric Rivera, 23, the accused shooter, is the first of the defendants to stand trial. He’s facing life in prison on the charges of armed burglary and first-degree murder. Rivera is spared the death penalty because he was a minor, 17, at the time of the shooting. Another defendant, Venjay Hunte, 25, accepted a plea deal and was sentenced to 29 years in prison. Meanwhile, Charles Wardlow, 24; Jason Scott Mitchell, 25 and Timothy Brown, 22, are still awaiting trial. Like Rivera, they’re all facing life imprisonment.
Although the court proceedings have dragged on, Taylor’s family attorney, Richard Sharpstein, says their faith in the court system remains strong. “It is sometimes said that justice delayed is justice denied. But in this case, it’s better late than never and justice will be delivered. The Taylor family has full confidence in Judge Murphy and the prosecution team.”
With Hunte agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors, and an alleged confession from Rivera, the outcome should be favorable for Taylor’s family. However, I can’t ignore that the trial is taking place in Florida, a state that’s notorious for being more than a little flawed. I pray justice will be served and Taylor’s family can truly move forward and begin the healing process.
For more details on the case, read this.