The 17-year-old suspect in the death of Sean Taylor was accused of firing the shot that killed the Washington Redskins safety. A Miami-Dade grand jury identified Eric Rivera as the gunman in its indictment yesterday.
Rivera and his three co-defendants were indicted by the grand jury on charges of first-degree felony murder and armed burglary. Charles Wardlow, 18, Jason Mitchell, 19, and Venjah Hunte, 20, were ordered held without bail during brief court appearances via a videoconference from Miami-Dade County jail. The three, who stood silently during the hearing, will remain at the jail under suicide watch after Judge John Thornton Jr.'s ruling.
Rivera, still in custody in Fort Myers, was expected to be transported to Miami-Dade last night and make a court appearance today. One of his attorneys said the grand jury's identification of Rivera as the gunman was expected.
Taylor died Nov. 27, barely 24 hours after he was shot in the bedroom of his home a few miles from where he grew up. Police say he was a victim of a botched burglary.
"I think he's in disbelief over what occurred," said Wilbur Smith, Rivera's attorney. "His expression to me was that, 'I can't believe this kind of thing happened.' "
The court proceedings came a day after Taylor's funeral, which drew about 3,000 mourners. Among those attending were NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, 300 members of the Redskins organization and actor Andy Garcia, uncle of Taylor's girlfriend, Jackie Garcia.
Richard Sharpstein, Taylor's former attorney, said the athlete's family was grateful for police and prosecutors' work, but that it did little to lessen their loss.
"They're still grieving, and no amount of justice could ever replace Sean to them," Sharpstein said. "However, they'll support this prosecution and wish the state attorney the best in achieving the most severe punishment to these people."
* The NFL is looking into a postgame comment by Baltimore cornerback Samari Rolle, who contends an on-field official called him "boy" during the Ravens' 27-24 loss to New England.
Rolle identified the official by his number rather than by name following the Monday night game, which was marked by several disputed officiating decisions.
"The refs called me a boy," Rolle said, according to a transcript of postgame comments provided to the media by the Ravens. "No. 110 called me a boy."
Both Rolle and the official, identified in the NFL official guide as head linesman Phil McKinnely, are black. McKinnely, 53, played in the NFL as an offensive tackle from 1976 to '82. He spent five seasons with Atlanta and one each with the Rams and Chicago.
"I will be calling my agent in the morning and sending my complaint," the 31-year-old cornerback added. "I have a wife and three kids. Don't call me a boy. Don't call me a boy on the field during a game because I said, 'You've never played football before.' "
The Ravens were demonstrative after the game about the officiating, especially on the final drive that led to Tom Brady's pass to Jabar Gaffney for the winning touchdown with 44 seconds left.
* Broncos running back Travis Henry won his appeal of a 1-year suspension over a failed drug test. The NFL informed Henry in September he had failed a test for marijuana. He disputed the results and sued the NFL to avoid a suspension. He contended the league violated its substance- abuse policy by not allowing an expert of Henry's choosing to be present for the testing.
* Bill Maas, 45, a former Fox Sports broadcaster and NFL player, will be tried March 10 on drug and weapons charges in Pekin, Ill. He was arraigned Monday, pleading not guilty and requesting a jury trial. He was charged with two felony counts of possession of a controlled substance after Illinois State Police allegedly found cocaine and ecstasy in his sport-utility vehicle during a July roadside safety check in East Peoria.
Maas is a Marple Newtown High graduate and played at Pitt.
* Dolphins middle linebacker Zach Thomas was placed on injured reserve after missing the past five games because of migraines.
* The remaining 47 pit bulls seized from Michael Vick's dogfighting operation were recommended for placement with rescue organizations by the dogs' court-appointed guardian.
* The Broncos waived veteran defensive tackle Sam Adams and cornerback Jeff Shoate. Adams, who is in his 14th year in the NFL, signed with the Broncos as a free agent on June 4 after spending the previous season with Cincinnati. He was part of the Baltimore team that won the Super Bowl for the 2000 season. Denver selected Shoate in the fifth round in 2004.
* An average of 10.1 million viewers watched Thursday's crucial NFC matchup between the Packers and Cowboys on the NFL Network. That was more than any of the baseball playoff games that aired on TBS, which is available in more than twice as many homes. *