By Amy Shipley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
MIAMI, June 9 -- Four of the five men charged with killing Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor appeared in a Miami courtroom for a hearing that pushed back the trial date for a third time.
The new date, Jan. 18, 2010, will fall in the middle of next season's NFL playoffs, more than two years after Taylor died from a gunshot wound he suffered when confronting alleged intruders in his Miami area home on Nov. 26, 2007.
A Miami-Dade grand jury alleged that Eric Rivera Jr. pulled the trigger. At least two of the accused were friends of Taylor's half-sister and had been in his home previously, according to interviews and reports released by the court.
Venjah K. Hunte, the only defendant not present Tuesday, is attempting to undo the guilty plea deal he entered into last year. In exchange for agreeing to testify against the other defendants, Hunte accepted a 29-year prison term.
He is scheduled to appear in court Friday. If convicted, the men face life in prison.
"We don't think there will realistically be a trial before next spring," said Terry Chavez, the Miami-Dade state attorney's office spokesperson.