Jason Mitchell Sentenced to Life in Prison for 2007 Murder of Sean Taylor

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIJune 10, 2014

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 02:  A billboard honoring the late Sean Taylor is seen during the Washington Redskins vs Buffalo Bills game on December 2, 2007 at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Dennis Murphy sentenced Jason Mitchell to life in prison on Tuesday for the 2007 first-degree felony murder of late NFL safety Sean Taylor and armed burglary.

David Ovalle of the Miami Herald reported the news:

Fox Sports 1's Alex Marvez and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network were among those to respond to the verdict:

Anonymous/Associated Press/Associated Press/Associated Press

According to Ovalle's report before the sentencing was announced, Mitchell, 26, planned the burglary to find a large sum of money hidden in Taylor's home in Palmetto Bay, Florida. According to police reports outlined by The Associated Press' Curt Anderson, Mitchell and the four other men with him assumed Taylor was with his team at an away game when they broke into the home. Instead, Taylor confronted them with a machete when they forced their way into the house. Taylor's girlfriend and infant daughter were at home at the time of the attack. He was shot in the leg, severing his femoral artery. 

Eric Rivera Jr., the first defendant and suspected shooter, was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 57-and-a-half years in prison.  

Mitchell did not testify in the trial, but did confess to police in a sworn, videotaped statement.

Reid Rubin, a prosecutor for the case, provided context for the severity of Mitchell's punishment.

"He must be treated like he’s the person who shot Sean Taylor, if he was one of the people there committing the burglary," Rubin said.

In the midst of just his fourth NFL season with the Washington Redskins, Taylor's life was tragically cut short at the age of 24. The former Miami Hurricanes college star and No. 5 overall pick in the 2004 NFL draft died on Nov. 27, 2007.

Taylor was named to the Pro Bowl in two of his three-plus seasons and had five interceptions in just nine games in 2007 before his death. Washington's defense took the field the game after his passing and played a snap with 10 men in memory of Taylor.

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 02:  Washington Redskins fans remember safety Sean Taylor before the start of their game against the Buffalo Bills December 2, 2007 at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. Taylor was killed earlier in the week during a burglary of hi
Win McNamee/Getty Images

As for what lies ahead in this case, Charles Wardlow and Timmy Brown are slated to go to trial next. A fifth prospective defendant, Venjah Hunte, has also pleaded guilty to involvement in the crime.

Closure to this saddening saga is closer with Mitchell's official sentencing on Tuesday, but it also resurfaces all the sentiments that go with Taylor's tragedy. Taylor's family, Washington fans, players and those in the organization all remembered Taylor fondly, and that positivity figures to continue defining his legacy.