IT HAS BEEN six months since 24-year-old Redskins safety Sean Taylor was fatally shot in a botched robbery at his Palmetto Bay, Fla., home, and last week the legal fallout from the case continued. On May 14 the lawyer for 20-year-old Venjah K. Hunte of Fort Myers, Fla., revealed that his client had pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and been sentenced to 29 years in prison. Hunte, one of four suspects named early in the investigation, told police that he was the driver of a vehicle that police say carried four other men from Fort Myers to Taylor's house on the night of the killing; his plea deal was struck on May 9 but was sealed while Miami police investigated a fifth suspect.
On May 14 that suspect was named: Timothy Brown, 16, of Fort Myers, was charged with first-degree murder and armed burglary. Hunte was not accused of entering Taylor's home and still received a lengthy sentence; the men he will testify against could get even longer stretches behind bars if convicted. Alleged gunman Eric Rivera Jr., 18; Jason Scott Mitchell, 20; and Charles Kendrick Lee Wardlow, 19, all face the same charges as Brown. (Their trial is scheduled to begin on Aug. 25.) The death penalty, however, is not an option. Last week the state attorney's office affirmed that Florida law prohibits capital punishment in cases in which the shooter is a minor. Rivera was 17 when he allegedly shot Taylor.