Taylor was rumored to have kept large sums of cash in his house, and Rivera thought that he could get $100,000 to $200,000 if the heist went as planned. Taylor's team, the Washington Redskins, were playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the day of the incident, so Rivera did not think that Taylor would be home. Due to his knee injury, Taylor was not at the game.
When Rivera (pictured) and his partners in crime broke into Taylor's house, Taylor approached the intruders with a machete while his girlfriend and daughter sat behind him in the bedroom. Rivera then shot Taylor in the thigh, striking his femoral artery and eventually causing his death. "He lost his life defending and protecting his family," said Assistant State Attorney Reid Rubin on Thursday. "They kicked the door in and they shot and killed him, for no good reason."
Finally, about six years later, the man who shot Taylor has been found guilty and sentenced to 57 years in prison. Though he could have gotten a lifetime sentence, Rivera, now 23 years old, will still appeal the conviction. Rivera did offer a brief statement, apologizing to Taylor's family, saying, "I live with his death every day. I'm going to have to deal with the consequences."
It's nice to see justice served in this case, but it still does not make up for what Rivera took from Taylor's family, and to a lesser extent, his fans. "You only get one dad and hers is gone," said Taylor's girlfriend at the time - Jackie Garcia Haley - of their daughter. "It breaks my heart to pieces to go through each day and each milestone without him."
Taylor's fans miss him dearly, as well. The 24-year-old was a ferocious ballhawk on the football field, electrifying stadiums with his monster hits and big plays. In nine games before his death, Taylor had picked off five passes, defended nine, forced a fumble, and recovered a fumble. He was elected to his second consecutive Pro Bowl the year of his death.
For anyone who was too young to remember Taylor's on-field heroics, or simply forgot how much fun he was to watch, I send you off with this: