A former star football player at Florida State University is scheduled to take the stand Tuesday in a Palm Beach County courtroom in a “stand your ground” hearing after he shot and killed a man in April after having an argument with his ex-girlfriend.
NBC affiliate WPTV-TV reports 26-year-old Travis Rudolph was in court Monday for the first of a two-day hearing, where his attorneys argued Rudolph used self-defense after he “feared for his life” and claims he was forced to open fire following a confrontation outside his Lake Park home.
Rudolph sat between his defense attorneys Monday as he listened to testimony from ex-girlfriend Dominique Jones, who said she got into a fight with him before the shooting after she discovered that he cheated on her.
Rudolph faces one count of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted first degree murder. A police affidavit reportedly said one of the four victims told police he had been in contact with Jones.
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The man and three other people went to Rudolph’s home where he was "immediately combative and confrontational” according to the affidavit.
After physically fighting for several minutes, Rudolph allegedly went back inside his home and allegedly grabbed a firearm and ran behind the car before shooting at it.
One person at the scene was injured and later hospitalized. A passenger in the car was shot and killed while both the driver and another passenger were uninjured.
Detectives said witnesses told them Rudolph was holding a rifle shortly after they reported hearing the gunshots. Rudolph refused to speak with detectives, according to the affidavit.
Rudolph was a high school star in West Palm Beach before signing with the Seminoles, where he played for three seasons and finished his career with 18 touchdown receptions and helped lead FSU to an Orange Bowl victory to end the 2016 season.
Rudolph was Florida State's leading receiver in 2015 and 2016 and left the team early to enter the NFL draft in 2017. He went undrafted but eventually signed with the New York Giants and then the Miami Dolphins. He also spent time with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League. The team released him Wednesday.
Rudolph gained national attention in 2016 when a video of him eating lunch with an autistic student during a team visit at a Tallahassee middle school went viral. Rudolph's father died a year later after a gun accidentally discharged at a West Palm Beach strip club.