Rashaun Jones: 'I Had Nothing to Do With' Death of Former Miami Teammate Bryan Pata

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVFebruary 24, 2022

CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA - OCTOBER 16: A detailed photo of a Miami Hurricanes helmet during their game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Kenan Memorial Stadium on October 16, 2021 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. North Carolina won 45-42. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Rashaun Jones, who is facing a second-degree murder charge for the 2006 killing of Bryan Pata, told police he "had nothing to do with" the death of his former Miami Hurricanes football teammate.

Paula Lavigne of ESPN reported Thursday on the video statement made by Jones for police after he was arrested in August and pleaded not guilty ahead of Monday's scheduled bond hearing.

Pata was shot in the head outside of his apartment in 2006, and an ESPN investigation in 2020 found that Jones has been a suspect since 2007. Per Lavigne, August was the first time Jones had been questioned by police about the evidence against him.

Retired University of Miami writing instructor Paul Conner, who picked Jones out of a photo lineup in 2007 after he told police the day after the shooting he heard a "pop" noise and saw a man jogging through a parking lot, is among those who will be questioned at the bond hearing.

Jones' comments come from a videotaped interview with Miami-Dade Police Department Detective Juan Segovia from the day of his arrest.

"I know how that could look because of the situation," Jones said in the interview while also acknowledging if he was a detective he would see himself as a suspect. "But I'm telling you, I had nothing to do with him dying."

Segovia presented evidence to Jones that included testimony from an eyewitness saying Jones was quickly exiting the area after the shooting, phone records disputing his assertions he was home the night of the shooting, a gun Jones owned and allegedly used to threaten people with, and statements from those who knew them that said Jones threatened Pata after they quarreled about a woman—Jones' ex-girlfriend who was dating Pata.

"I got up from there and went downstairs," Jones said when talking about the fight regarding his ex-girlfriend. "I might have cried a little bit, but it wasn't any ongoing beef where I was at Bryan or trying to hurt Bryan."

He also continued to deny he went near Pata's apartment that night even though he knew where it was because he was friends with his teammate's cousin. He also said allegations he threatened people with the gun were untrue.

"I can't explain to you," he said when asked about the cellphone records indicating he wasn't home. "I don't know. Just really bad luck, really bad. Look, I'm telling you. I have nothing to do with this guy being murdered, nothing. It ain't no 15 years of telling myself I didn't do it."

Jones also said the reason he changed his phone number on the day of the shooting and didn't attend a team meeting was that then-head coach Larry Coker said he was suspended for failing a second drug test and he didn't want people to be able to reach out to him and criticize him for it.

He also pointed to a video of him helping Pata tie his shoes at a football game shortly before the latter's death as proof he did not want his teammate dead.

"If I'm beefing with somebody and I want somebody dead, why am I tying their cleat for? I'm literally down there tying his cleat," Jones said.

In August 2021, Elizabeth Merrill and Lavigne reported Jones could face the death sentence or life without the possibility of parole if he is convicted.