|Published:||Oct 21, 2013 7:49 AM EDT|
|Updated:||Oct 21, 2013 7:22 PM EDT|
MIAMI -- Jackie Garcia's eyes filled with tears as soon as she started her testimony.
Prosecutors' first question, about how they met, had her struggling to speak.
Taylor's family was also in tears.
That raw emotion continued throughout much of Garcia's testimony, in which she talked about the night Sean Taylor was killed, and how she found him.
"Sean woke me up and told me he heard noise ... call the police." 10:31
With their 18 month old daughter, Jacqueline, sleeping beside them, Jackie Garcia called 911, as her boyfriend Sean Taylor rushed their bedroom door with a machete in his hands.
It was one in the morning. November 25, 2007.
"Heard a really loud noise, similar to a gunshot, and I screamed."
She says she hid under the covers with the baby, there was silence.
"I heard someone gasping for air. I got up, saw Sean laying facedown, covered in blood."
Prosecutors say Rivera and his four friends were at the home to steal cash from the NFL star, and did not expect him to be there.
When Taylor confronted them, Rivera fired two shots. One hit Taylor in the leg. He bled to death.
Police say Rivera confessed to getting scared, and firing the gun before he and his friends ran away. Police say he confessed this all on tape.
But was Eric Rivera's confession forced or voluntary? A question at the heart of opening statements.
Prosecutors says Rivera told police everything they wanted to know.
"Plan was drive a few hours, break into Sean's home,and find the money. A burglary. That's really what it was all about," said Assistant State Attorney Ray Arajouc.
They say Rivera was the one brought his gun, a decision the prosecution says turned a botched burglary into a murder, after Rivera shot Taylor in the leg.
"Bleeding was massive and quick. he collapse, fell to the ground and he lay there bleeding as this defendant and his friends drove off into the night."
The defense says River never wanted to go to Miami.
And that after the crime, police had no leads, so they went to Rivera on an anonymous tip, forcing him to lie on tape.
"They told Mr. Rivera his family was in danger. They told him that people who love Sean Taylor, will hurt your family if you are responsible for this," said defense attorney Janese Carruthers.
MIAMI - Opening statements are underway in Miami, against a Fort Myers man who allegedly shot and killed former NFL star Sean Taylor. Eric Rivera Jr. could face life in prison, if convicted.
WINK News is the only local station in Miami following the trial.
The defense delivered opening statements this morning. Jackie Garcia, Sean Taylor's girlfriend, was home with him when he was shot and killed back in 2007. She took the stand this afternoon.
A 12-person jury took their seats today to hear evidence in the trial against now 23-year-old, Eric Rivera Jr. He was just 17 at the time of the incident, when investigators say he and a group of four others from Lee County, broke in to the former Redskins player's home.
In their opening statements, the prosecution says the men "saw a crime of opportunity" and that Taylor died defending his family and his home. The prosecution says Rivera did confess the murder to police, and that we'll see video of that confession during the trial. The defense argues police were in a rush to close the case, and forced Rivera to give a statement and confess.
Because Rivera was underage at the time of the shooting, he could face life in prison rather than the death penalty.
We'll be bringing you updates from our local crew in Miami throughout the trial.