Eric Rivera Sentenced to 57.5 Years in Prison for Murder of Sean Taylor

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2014

Defense attorney Janese Caruthers and Eric Rivera Jr., left,  listen as Judge Dennis Murphy, adjourns court for the day after the jury finished  deliberations with out reaching a verdict Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, in Miami.    Rivera is charged in the 2007 slaying of former Washington Redskins star Sean Taylor watched  (AP Photo/El Nuevo Herald, Pedro Portal, Pool)
PEDRO PORTAL/Associated Press

Eric Rivera, the man convicted of murdering former Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor in November 2007, was sentenced to 57.5 years in prison on Thursday, Jan. 23, per David Ovalle of The Miami Herald:

Ovalle reported that the prosecution asked the judge for a minimum sentence of 60 years, due in part to the fact it doesn't believe Rivera will rehabilitate in prison. It argued that the facts of the case pointed to Rivera being a "sophisticated, manipulative criminal":

Rivera had earlier confessed to the murder, per NBC 6 South Florida:

Rivera admitted in a videotaped confession to police days after Taylor's death that he fired the fatal shot after kicking in the bedroom door.

In the confession, Rivera said the group of five young men, all from the Fort Myers area, had driven to Taylor's house planning to steal large amounts of cash he kept inside. They thought Taylor would be out of town at a game against Tampa Bay, but didn't realize until it was too late that he was home with a knee injury.

Rivera was just one of five men who were charged in the case. Three will be tried and charged at a later date, while Venjah Hunte pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and burglary in return for a 29-year prison sentence.

The murder of Taylor, 24, gripped the sporting public when it happened. By that point in his blossoming career, the rising star had accumulated 299 total tackles in 55 games with the Redskins, along with two sacks, eight forced fumbles and 12 interceptions.

Following the tragedy, details emerged that Taylor was protecting his home during the burglary. He was shot in the leg, which damaged his femoral artery, killing him. His girlfriend and then-18-month-old daughter were unharmed.

This is officially the end of what was one of the most tragic sporting stories of recent memory, and with Rivera's sentence, Taylor's family received some closure.