MIAMI — A Florida jury has convicted a man prosecutors called the ringleader of a botched 2007 Miami-area burglary that ended with the fatal shooting of Washington Redskins star Sean Taylor.
The 12-person jury deliberated nearly four hours Tuesday before finding 25-year-old Jason Mitchell guilty of first-degree felony murder and armed burglary. Trial testimony indicated that Mitchell hatched the plot for five Fort Myers-area men to burglarize Taylor’s home near Miami after previously seeing large amounts of cash there.
The judge immediately imposed the mandatory life sentence for murder, plus 40 more years for the burglary conviction.
The man who authorities say fired the fatal shot, Eric Rivera Jr., was convicted last fall of second-degree murder and sentenced to 57 years behind bars.
Two other men await trial. A third has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and burglary.
Chiefs CB Smith cited
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith was cited for driving under the influence and careless driving after an officer witnessed him lose control and strike a light pole early Monday.
According to a copy of the police report, Smith was attempting to make a turn in Kansas City’s Power & Light entertainment district when he struck the light pole around 12:30 a.m. The officer reported that Smith “appeared confused and began mumbling statements that I did not understand.”
Smith declined medical attention. Along with citations for driving under the influence, he was also cited for failure to provide insurance.
Falcons’ Jones progressing
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — For Julio Jones, eight months away from football “feels like an eternity.”
Jones was on the practice fields for the Atlanta Falcons’ organized team activities on Tuesday, but only for conditioning work. The star wide receiver said Monday his rehabilitation is progressing well but “extra precautions” have kept him from being cleared for practice. “I am ahead of schedule but we’re not pressing anything,” Jones said.
On Tuesday, Jones was on the field with the team only for exercises. That came only after he had extra time with a trainer for stretching. Then he worked on running and agility drills as other players went through practice.
Jones said he can’t guarantee he’ll be able to participate in the start of training camp next month.
“I don’t know when I’m going to get cleared,” Jones said. “It’s out of my hands.”
Jones’ recovery is crucial for the Falcons, who finished 4-12 last season after five straight winning seasons.
Jones, a Pro Bowl pick in 2012, was leading the NFL in receptions in 2013 when he broke a bone in his right foot in a loss to the Jets on Oct. 7. He suffered a similar injury during his college career at Alabama.
“It is a freak accident, breaking the same bone,” Jones said.
The injury history makes it easy to understand why the Falcons have been cautious with the rehabilitation schedule. Even so, the long wait for medical clearance has been difficult for Jones.
“It feels like an eternity, just not being out there with my brothers,” Jones said during a promotional appearance for Vita Coco, an all-natural drink he endorses. “It’s been a very difficult process as far as that aspect of it but I’m just going through the treatment and just being smart about the whole situation.
“We’re just being careful about the situation and making sure I’m 100 percent before I go out there.”
Silverdome auction back on
PONTIAC, Mich. — An auction of thousands of items from the decrepit Pontiac Silverdome in Michigan is back on.
The online sell-off had been scheduled to get underway last month but was delayed.
RJM Auctions official Jim Passeno said Tuesday that the auction will begin Wednesday and run through June 18-19.
The Silverdome is the former home of the NFL’s Detroit Lions and the NBA’s Detroit Pistons. The 80,000-seat venue north of Detroit has fallen into disrepair. Its current owner is determined to cash in before it’s too late.
Among the items available are pretzel warmers, a boxing ring, a soccer field, flat-screen televisions and scoreboards.
Cowboys’ Lee set for surgery
IRVING, Texas — Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee is set for surgery on his injured knee, but there’s no timetable for his return.
Coach Jason Garrett said Lee is scheduled for surgery on the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee Thursday. Garrett isn’t saying whether Lee will try to play in 2014.
Lee was injured during 11-on-11 work on the first day of offseason practice last month. If the Cowboys think he can make it back, they could delay a decision on season-ending injured reserve until during the season.
The normal recovery time on ACL surgery is at least six months.
Lee has missed 15 games the past two seasons because of toe, hamstring and neck injuries.