RICHMOND, VA (WWBT/AP) - The man prosecutors say fired the fatal shots in the 2007 killing of Washington Redskins star Sean Taylor was sentenced to 57 and a half years in prison.
A judge sentenced 23-year-old Eric Rivera Jr. Thursday afternoon. Rivera was convicted in November of second-degree murder and armed burglary. Rivera faced life in prison instead of the death penalty because he was only 17 at the time.
Rivera told police in a videotaped confession that he and other young men from the Fort Myers area broke into Taylor's Miami-area house hoping to steal cash the NFL player kept there. Taylor surprised them because he was home instead of with the Redskins and was shot after confronting them with a machete.
Rivera testified someone else fired the fatal shot. Three others are awaiting trial in the case.
Taylor is widely regarded as one of the best defensive backs to ever play the game. After a stellar college career at Miami, he was selected with the fifth overall pick of the 2004 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. During his short pro career, he went to the Pro Bowl twice.
Sean Taylor was placed in the Redskins' ring of honor one year after his death.