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No Shorter Sentence for Gunman in Sean Taylor Killing: Judge

Judge refuses to cut sentence for Erik Rivera, who was 17 when he shot and killed NFL star

What to Know

  • Eric Rivera, who was 17 at the time of the killing, was back in court Wednesday seeking to have his 57-year sentence reduced
  • After almost four hours of testimony, Judge Dennis Murphy didn't budge, leaving the sentence at 57 years

The man who killed former NFL and University of Miami star Sean Taylor in his Palmetto Bay home during a 2007 burglary won't have his prison sentence cut short, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Eric Rivera, who was 17 at the time of the killing, was back in court Wednesday seeking to have his 57-year sentence reduced. Rivera, who says he was young and dumb at the time of the murder, was supported by family members who testified on his behalf at the hearing.

"A 57-year sentence, I don’t think it’s equal justice in our justice system and that’s just my personal opinion on something that was an accident," mother Anisha Rivera said.

Taylor, 24, a Pro Bowl safety for the Washington Redskins and former Hurricanes star, died from the injuries he received in the botched invasion of his home in November 2007.

Rivera admitted he brought a crowbar from his home to force open doors in Taylor's house. He and four other young men drove from Fort Myers to rob the home, thinking no one was there. But Taylor, his girlfriend, Jackie Garcia, and their 18-month-old daughter were inside the master bedroom.

In court Wednesday, Garcia broke down when prosecutors read her victim impact letter out loud. Also in court were the detectives that worked the homicide case ten years ago.

After almost four hours of testimony, Judge Dennis Murphy didn't budge, leaving the sentence at 57 years.

"Based upon everything that’s been presented to me and my full knowledge of this case, of the co-defendants, I am denying the motion to reduce the sentence and keeping the sentence at 57 and a half years," Murphy said.

"We are satisfied with the court’s decision in this case, we think that it is the correct decision," prosecutor Reed Rubin said.

Rivera will stay in prison for at least the next 15 years, until his case comes up for review.

"He's the only defendant sentenced to 57 years and that is not fair justice, I think the judge was biased," Anisha Rivera said.

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