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Media Barred From Sean Taylor’s Murder Case Hearing

Reporters and cameras will be barred from a key evidence hearing in the case against four men accused of fatally shooting former Washington Redskins star Sean Taylor during a botched 2007 robbery at his home, a judge ruled Wednesday. Circuit Judge Dennis Murphy agreed with defense attorneys that the hearing on whether to allow purported confessions or incriminating statements at trial should be closed so that prospective jurors aren’t exposed to material that might skew their view of the high-profile case.

“There is not an automatic right to be present for pretrial hearings,” Murphy said. “Closure is necessary for these defendants to receive a fair trial.” Murphy set the closed hearing for May 20. A trial date has not yet been scheduled for the four men, all from the Fort Myers area: 20-year-old Eric Rivera Jr., identified by police as the shooter; Charles Wardlow, 21; Jason Mitchell, 23; and 19-year-old Timmy Lee Brown. A fifth suspect, 23-year-old Venjah Hunte, pleaded guilty to murder and burglary charges and is expected to testify against the others.

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