Taylor murder trial delayed a third time

Updated: June 10, 2009, 10:03 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

The trial date for four of the five men charged with the killing of Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor has been postponed for a third time.

The new date is Jan. 18, 2010, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday. The trial was scheduled to begin this month.

"We don't think there will realistically be a trial before next spring," Terry Chavez, the Miami-Dade state attorney's office spokesperson, told The Post.

Police said Taylor was a victim of a botched robbery when he was shot in his bedroom on Nov. 26, 2007, in the Miami suburb of Palmetto Bay. He died of massive blood loss a day later. The All-Pro player was 24.

Four of the accused -- Charles Wardlow, 19, Jason Scott Mitchell, 21, Timmy Lee Brown, 17, and the alleged gunman, Eric Rivera, 19 -- appeared in a Miami courtroom on Tuesday for a hearing. All have pleaded not guilty and are being held without bail.

Venjah K. Hunte, the fifth man charged, was not in court. He pleaded guilty to avoid a possible life sentence but now wants to back out of the deal. He is expected to appear in court later this week.

Hunte, 21, would have served 29 years under a deal reached last May, in exchange for his cooperation with prosecutors. Hunte's attorney, Michael Hornung, said he disagrees with his client's desire to withdraw his guilty plea, and that Hunte will appear in court Thursday in Miami to ask for a new court-appointed lawyer.

"There's a difference in the philosophy going forward," Hornung said. "His desire is to have an attorney appointed so that he can withdraw from his plea."

Hornung would not discuss what led his client to change his mind, citing confidentiality rules. He said his recommendation was to take the plea deal rather than the life sentence the four co-defendants face if convicted.

"We have irreconcilable differences," he said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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