|Taylor suspect's attorney: Gun thrown in Everglades|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 21 December 2007 02:50|
The four suspects have filed not guilty pleas to first-degree felony murder and armed burglary charges and are being held without bond. They are due in court for arraignment Friday.
Attorney Michael Hornung said Friday that his client, Venjah Hunte, is cooperating with prosecutors in hopes of a plea deal and wants to help find the murder weapon.
``We have started negotiations and discussions with the prosecutors in this case. Based on his substantial assistance, we hope it would be taken into account,'' said Hornung, who first gave the information to The Miami Herald.
Hornung said Hunte has told prosecutors that one of his co-defendants got out of the car on the highway known as Alligator Alley in the eastern part of the Everglades. One of the other defendants put the black gun in a sock and threw it about 20 yards onto the side of the road, Hornung said.
He said his client has been a credible witness and was ``now filling in some of the missing pieces in this case.''
Hornung said Eric Rivera Jr., Charles Wardlow, Jason Mitchell and Hunte, left Fort Myers on Nov. 25, but had no plans when they arrived in the Miami area. When they saw the luxury cars parked at Taylor's home, one of the suspects said the football star kept $200,000 in a black bag in one of the bedrooms.
At least one of the men said he had stolen $5,000 from Taylor's home before, Hornung said.
The suspects thought Taylor, though injured, was still traveling with the team for a game against Tampa that Sunday. They didn't know he was home nursing a knee injury.
They climbed over a fence and broke into a bathroom near the pool with a crowbar. Rivera, 17, and Mitchell, 19, went inside. Minutes later Mitchell ran out claiming he heard a noise, Hornung said.
Rivera persuaded Mitchell to go back inside. A few minutes later, Hunte, 20, heard a gunshot and then a scream inside the house. Mitchell and Rivera came running out and the group left in the car, Hornung said.
Once in Fort Myers, Mitchell and Rivera burned their clothes and masks, the attorney said.
At least two of the defendants have confessed to taking part in the attempted burglary and a grand jury indictment identified Rivera as the one who shot Taylor.
Miami-Dade police declined to comment.