Murder suspect's alleged letter read in Sean Taylor trial

Eric Rivera Jr accused of shooting former Miami Hurricane

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MIAMI - Prosecutors read a letter allegedly written by the man accused of killing former Miami Hurricanes star safety Sean Taylor during a 2007 attempted burglary.

The trial of 23-year-old Eric Rivera Jr. continued Wednesday in Miami. Assistant State Attorney Reid Rubin read the letter, which he said Rivera wrote to his cousin.

The letter mentioned Ariel Boston, a friend whom prosecutors say Rivera and the other four defendants visited after the attempted burglary.

"Ariel's statement is the only one that's going to hurt the worst because she's saying she seen [sic] all of us together that night," read Rubin. "So I need for you and CJ to do is get Ariel to say the story I want her to say and the prosecutor won't have no case against me."

Boston testified against Rivera on Tuesday.

The end of the letter stated, "Read this a couple of times and burn this letter." Police found it on Rivera's cousin during a traffic stop.

Prosecutors say Rivera and the others drove across the state to Miami intending to burglarize Taylor's home, believing he kept large amounts of cash there. But, prosecutors say, the group didn't realize Taylor was home with an injury instead of at a Redskins game that Thanksgiving weekend and he was shot during a confrontation after they broke in.

Rivera has pleaded not guilty and his lawyer says he was forced to confess falsely to police. Prosecutors say that confession was voluntary and leaves little doubt about his guilt. Rivera faces life in prison if convicted because he was only 17 when Taylor was killed.

Rivera, Mitchell, Charles Wardlow and Timothy Brown have all pleaded not guilty. The fifth suspect, Venjah Hunte, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and burglary and may testify against the others. Rivera, the first to go to trial, faces a potential life prison sentence if convicted.

Taylor, 24 when he died, was a Pro Bowl safety for the Redskins who had previously been a popular, locally grown star at the University of Miami. The Redskins drafted Taylor with the fifth overall pick in the 2004 draft and he signed an $18 million contract.

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