While four young men charged with killing the Washington Redskins star safety sat in jail cells on the other side of the state there was a packed wake at Second Baptist Church on Sunday.
Wearing a dark suit, Taylor was in a wooden coffin, surrounded by flower arrangements and heralded by a church choir. Hundreds of mourners filed by him, bowing their heads, crossing themselves and shaking with tears.
The remembrances came only hours after a fourth man charged in the shooting death of the 24-year-old Taylor appeared briefly in court and, like his co-defendants, was denied bond.
Jason Mitchell, 19, appeared via videoconference in a Fort Myers courtroom, about 100 miles from here. Dressed in an orange jumpsuit, he responded quietly when asked if he understood the charges. “He looks like he’s in shock,” said Sawyer Smith, one of his attorneys.
Three others — Eric Rivera, 17; Charles Wardlow, 18; and Venjah Hunte, 20 — made their first court appearance Saturday.
All four have been charged with unpremeditated murder, home invasion with a firearm or another deadly weapon and armed burglary. They will be transported to Miami, though authorities haven’t said when.
Probable cause affidavits for Mitchell and Rivera obtained by The Associated Press said the two confessed to participating in armed burglary. According to the reports, Mitchell and Rivera admitted entering the home and said someone had a gun and shot Taylor, but they didn’t identify who. Police and attorneys also have said some of the young men confessed, though they wouldn’t elaborate.