Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Dennis Murphy has decided to decline a request from Eric Rivera, who murdered Washington Redskins’ superstar safety Sean Taylor more than a decade ago, for a reduction of his over 57 year sentence.
Rivera was 17 at the time of the murder, and is now 28, pleaded for a second chance at freedom, stating he had matured and wanted to work with troubled youths, according to the Miami Herald’s David Ovale.
“I know I can be a productive member of society,” Rivera said.
Rivera’s mother testified, saying that she believed that her son shouldn’t be locked up for the rest of his life for, what she deems, as a “mistake” and an “accident”.
“I don’t think he should be behind bars for the rest of his life for something that was a mistake — and an accident” she said during her testimony.
Rivera’s defense lawyer, Janese Caruthers, argued that Rivera deserved leniency under changes to Florida’s juvenile-justice laws ordered by federal courts, and pointing out that several other defendants in the case got lesser sentences.
She also echoed the sentiment expressed by Rivera’s mother.
“No one intended to kill Mr. Taylor. This was supposed to be a burglary and it turned into this unfortunate homicide,” Caruthers said.
Prosecutor Reid Rubin argued back, saying, “He [Rivera] hasn’t demonstrated any redeeming qualities that justified a reduction in sentence,” Rubin argued. “His behavior hasn’t improved. He continued to get in trouble in prison.”
The hearing was attended by Taylor’s former girlfriend, Jackie Garcia Haley, and Taylor’s father, Florida City Police Chief Pedro Taylor.