Jury convicts suspect in Sean Taylor slaying
MIAMI (AP) — A man identified by prosecutors as the greedy organizer of a bungled 2007 Miami-area burglary that ended with the fatal shooting of Washington Redskins star Sean Taylor was convicted Tuesday of murder and burglary, and immediately sentenced to life in prison without parole.
A 12-person jury deliberated nearly four hours before finding Jason Mitchell, 25, guilty of first-degree felony murder and armed burglary. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Dennis Murphy swiftly imposed the mandatory life sentence for murder, plus 40 more years for the burglary conviction.
Although trial testimony showed Mitchell did not fire the fatal shot, prosecutors say he is equally responsible for the slaying under the law.
Assistant State Attorney Reid Rubin said Mitchell hatched the plot that eventually involved five Fort Myers-area men after spending time at Taylor’s home near Miami, where he saw the player giving friends and relatives thousands of dollars in cash. Rubin said Mitchell initially tried and failed to burglarize the home alone in mid-November 2007, returning with the group on Thanksgiving weekend to finish the job.
“It doesn’t matter whether they planned to kill him (Taylor) or intended to kill him, he died as a result of that burglary and they are all responsible for it,” Rubin told the 12-person jury in closing arguments. “At the center of it all was Jason Mitchell.”