Judge rules suspect in Taylor slaying is a flight risk

Updated: April 25, 2008, 2:26 PM ET
Associated Press

MIAMI -- A Miami judge denied bail Friday for one of the suspects in the slaying of Washington Redskins star Sean Taylor.

Circuit Judge Dennis Murphy noted that 20-year-old Jason Scott Mitchell and three other suspects allegedly hatched their plot in the Fort Myers area and drove across the state intending to burglarize Taylor's Miami-area home.

"Youth and guns have been such a prevalent issue of concern in our community. Now we're getting it imported from other parts of the state," Murphy said at a hearing. "I'm not sure any form of release would adequately protect the public."

Like many other cities, Miami has seen a recent rise in murders. The most recent complete FBI data shows there were 77 murders in the city in 2006 compared with 54 the year before -- and nearly three-quarters of all homicides nationally involve guns.

Murphy's denial of bail for Mitchell came after the suspect's mother, Louise Robertson, and several other relatives came to court wearing T-shirts bearing his picture. Robertson's black shirt said "Mama's Baby" on the front and "Free My Son" on the back.

"I need him home with me," she said.

Prosecutors said they have not yet decided whether to seek the death penalty against any of the suspects. Each is charged with first-degree murder and armed burglary in the Nov. 26 shooting of Taylor, an All-Pro safety for the Redskins and former All-American at the University of Miami.

Another suspect, 17-year-old Eric Rivera Jr., allegedly shot a machete-wielding Taylor in the confrontation inside the home. Mitchell told police they thought Taylor would be out of town because the Redskins were playing in Tampa that weekend, but Taylor was out with an injury.

Mitchell is a key to the case because he attended a birthday party in September at Taylor's home and told police he saw the football player hand out bags of $10,000 in cash to his sister and brother as gifts.

The other two suspects are 20-year-old Venjah Hunte and 18-year-old Charles Wardlow. Trial for all four is scheduled for Aug. 25.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press