The attorney for one of the four suspects charged with killing Washington Redskins star Sean Taylor said yesterday he is talking with prosecutors about a plea agreement that could include testifying against the others.
Michael Hornung, who represents Venjah Hunte, said his client has maintained throughout that he was not aware that anyone had a weapon when they arrived at Taylor's Miami home or that violence would occur, and that he was not inside the home when Taylor was shot Nov. 26.
A hearing was set for Jan. 8 on a request by the lawyer for suspect Charles Wardlow to seal from the public statements made by the defendants to police. Normally, most investigative material becomes public under Florida law once it is given to defense attorneys.
Prosecutors also filed papers asking for the statements to be sealed temporarily - including two that were videotaped - and that lawyers not publicly reveal "the contents of their clients confessions."
Hornung said Eric Rivera Jr., Jason Mitchell, Wardlow and Hunte left Fort Myers, Fla., on Nov. 25, but had no plans when they arrived in the Miami area. When they saw the luxury cars parked at Taylor's home, one of the suspects said the football star kept $200,000 in a black bag in one of the bedrooms.
At least one of the men said he had stolen $5,000 from Taylor's home before, Hornung said.
The suspects thought Taylor, though injured, was still traveling with the team for a game against Tampa that Sunday. They didn't know he was home nursing a knee injury.
They climbed a fence and broke into a bathroom near the pool with a crowbar. Rivera, 17, and Mitchell, 19, went inside. Minutes later Mitchell ran out claiming he heard a noise, Hornung said.
Rivera persuaded Mitchell to go back inside. A few minutes later, Hunte, 20, heard a gunshot and then a scream inside the house. Mitchell and Rivera came running out and the group left in the car, Hornung said.
Once in Fort Myers, Mitchell and Rivera burned their clothes and masks, the attorney said.
At least two of the defendants have confessed to taking part in the attempted burglary and a grand jury indictment identified Rivera as the one who shot Taylor.
* Rams coach Scott Linehan downplayed a heated exchange with wide receiver Torry Holt during Thursday's loss to the Steelers. TV cameras showed Holt yelling at Linehan after Ike Taylor's 51-yard interception for a touchdown on a fourth-and-10 play put the game out of reach.
"When you're sitting here at 3-12, I'm the first one to say everything's not all that pleasant," Linehan said.
In that game, Steelers running back Willie Parker broke his right leg and is lost for the season.
* Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers is doubtful for tonight's game against Dallas with a sprained right knee. Safety Chris Harris (hip) and quarterback Vinny Testaverde (Achilles' tendon) are probable. Testaverde will likely be the No. 2 quarterback behind Matt Moore, who will make his second straight start.
* Bills receiver Roscoe Parrish is questionable for tomorrow's game against the New York Giants because of a shoulder injury suffered during practice Thursday.
* The Packers might have to face the rival Bears tomorrow without defensive tackle Ryan Pickett, who hurt his groin in the Packers' 33-14 victory over the Rams last week and only took part in a limited portion of practice yesterday. He was listed as questionable. *