WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Day 2 of the Sean Taylor murder trial is in the books. Nearly six years after the shooting death of the Redskins safety, prosecutors are tasked with proving the validity of a confession made to police by accused killer Eric Rivera Jr.
Prosecutors say Rivera, who was 17 at the time of the killing, confessed to shooting Taylor while being questioned by police following the fatal burglary attempt.
His attorneys now claim he was coerced into admitting guilt by authorities. The defense alleges authorities pressured Rivera to draw diagrams of the rooms inside Taylor’s Florida home, detailing the location of each of the accused burglars a the time the shooting occurred. Such pressure, the defense alleges, is a direct result of police feeling pressured to close a high profile case.
Much of the prosecution’s proceedings Tuesday focused on the details connecting Rivera to the crime scene and establishing a motive, according David Ovalle of the Miami Herald, who has been inside the courtroom for this week’s proceedings.
“Well today we had the footprint, actually crime scene expert on, who was talking about the different footprints that were taken at the crime scene,” Ovalle told 106.7 The Fan’s Holden and Danny on Tuesday.
“They are claiming that there was a false confession, that police coerced him into confessing to being the shooter,” Ovalle said. “Their claim is that he went along but sort of was a reluctant participant, just went along, didn’t actually commit any crime once there, but just sort of pressured into going along with some friends. And that’s gonna be tough because, not only is the confession pretty detailed, it’s on video, and that carries a lot of weight with jurors when they see it in their own eyes.”
Sasha Johnson, Taylor’s half-sister, also testified on Tuesday. She admitted she’d known Rivera prior to the incident, and that another suspect in the case had witnessed Taylor give her $10k cash as a birthday gift just weeks prior.
“It was very emotional,” Ovalle said. “She was shown pictures of her brother and she started tearing up, and sort of whimpering in sort of agony; very, very, very dramatic.”
Ovalle also reported one particular piece of evidence that was revealed in court Tuesday was Rivera’s footprint, which was said to be on Taylor’s bedroom door, leading to the room where he was eventually shot.
“The Nike Shox sneakers that he was wearing that day,” Ovalle explained, “was on the kicked-in master bedroom of Sean Taylor.”
Listen to the full interview below.