Mourners Pay Respects To Sean Taylor
Monday, December 3rd 2007, 10:35 am
By: News On 6
MIAMI (AP) _ Little more than a week ago, Sean Taylor was home, rehabbing a knee injury so he could get back to the Washington Redskins.
Now, thousands began filling a university arena on Monday for the slain NFL safety's funeral, a week after he was shot in his home and days after four men were charged with killing him during the robbery. A lawyer for one of the suspects confirmed there was a fifth suspect.
O.J. Simpson was among those at the funeral at Florida International University arena. He called Taylor a ``complete athlete.''
Taylor's casket was surrounded by bouquets. Behind it, a large video screen showed highlights of Taylor's playing career with the Redskins, University of Miami and high school.
Former Miami coaches Larry Coker and Butch Davis sat in the front row, along with current coach Randy Shannon. The Redskins organization filled one section of the gymnasium.
The remembrances for the 24-year-old player began on Sunday. Thousands paid their respect at a wake at Second Baptist Church in south Miami and at a vigil at the University of Miami.
Meanwhile, four young men charged with killing Taylor sat in jail cells on the other side of Florida state in Fort Myers. The suspects are expected to be transported to Miami sometime after the funeral, said attorney Sawyer Smith, who is representing suspect Jason Mitchell, 19.
``Out of respect for the Taylor family, they're waiting for that to occur so that the arrival of these boys does not distract from the grief the Taylor family is suffering,'' Smith said.
Also charged are Eric Rivera, 17; Charles Wardlow, 18; and Venjah Hunte, 20. All face charges of unpremeditated murder, home invasion with a firearm or another deadly weapon and armed burglary.
Smith said there is a fifth suspect but declined to elaborate. Miami-Dade police spokesman Juan Villaba refused to confirm that.
Probable cause affidavits for Mitchell and Rivera obtained by The Associated Press said the two confessed to participating in armed burglary. According to the reports, Mitchell and Rivera admitted entering the home and said someone had a gun and shot Taylor, but they didn't identify who. Police and attorneys also have said some of the young men confessed, though they wouldn't elaborate.
Taylor died Nov. 27, one day after being shot at his home in an affluent Miami suburb. Police said the suspects were looking for a simple burglary, but it turned bloody when they were startled to find Taylor home.