|It's been five years since Taylor, then 24, was murdered. (Getty Images)|
Former Redskins safety Sean Taylor was murdered five years ago last Nov. 27. He was shot during a botched robbery in his home and died the next day. He was 24.
"I was thinking to myself, it's kind of like winning the lotto to have a guy like Sean Taylor, to be able to say, ‘That's a friend,"' former teammate Clinton Portis said on the anniversary of Taylor's death. "And many people don't get that opportunity."
Authorities arrested five suspects. Four pleaded not guilty and have yet to go to trial. The fifth, Venjah Hunte, pleaded guilty in 2008 to second-degree murder and burglary while armed in exchange for a 29-year sentence that was part of a plea deal. Hunte was also the only defendant among the five to respond to the Washington Times' Nathan Fenno.
In a letter to the paper written last month, Hunte apologized for what happened in Palmetto Bay, Fla., on Nov. 26, 2007.
"To begin, I would like to send my deepest apology to the family of Sean Taylor,” Hunte wrote in a letter to the Times in response to several questions. “I know an apology won't bring him back, but I hope one day they could find it in their hearts to forgive me. …
“My thought or intentions weren't to hurt him or noone [sic] else, let alone murder, it was something I thought would never happen,” Hunte continued. “Even though I didn't pull the trigger I still have to take responsibility for my actions. Period.”
Taylor was shot in his right leg and the bullet hit his femoral artery. He died the next day. Hunte maintains that he wasn't in the house when the gun went off.
“Back then, I was just existing, I wasn't living life at all,” Hunte wrote, “I was just living the fast life, chasing fast money, doing things my way which would be the wrong way in the end.
“In the last five years, I've had to grow up and mature a lot. I no longer think about or want to indulge in the things I used to, it's just not worth it to me anymore. …
“At this point I feel like if I ever want to be back in society, the change starts now,” Hunte wrote, “and that's how I live from now on by surrounding myself with positive things at all times.”
You can read Hunte's handwritten letter in its entirety here (.pdf).
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