May 25, 2024

Police arrested a former Miami Hurricanes football player Thursday in connection with the November 2006 shooting murder of teammate Bryan Pata, nearly 15 years after the crime and nine months after an ESPN investigation revealed flaws in the long-stalled police probe.

According to the Miami-Dade Police Department, US marshals detained Rashaun Jones, 35, on a first-degree murder charge in the homicide. In a Twitter video, Detective Juan Segovia congratulated the Pata family and the community for their efforts to solve the case.

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“The community never stopped contacting us,” Segovia explained. “Even if we had a thousand tips and only one was able to fit the pieces together, that’s what it took, and that’s exactly what occurred in this case.

“I can only hope that this brings the Pata family a little bit of closure and a little bit of satisfaction.”Jones was detained in Ocala, Florida, on a homicide warrant received by Miami-Dade police on Tuesday, according to a statement from the United States Marshals Service.

He was detained in Marion County, about 70 miles northwest of Orlando, and is awaiting extradition to Miami-Dade. It was unclear whether Jones had a counsel who could comment.

“It’s really a surprise,” former Hurricanes coach Larry Coker told ESPN. “I’m just glad things are moving forward and that things are getting solved.”

Several of Pata’s old Miami teammates responded differently to the news of Jones’ arrest. Chris Zellner texted ESPN that he is “happy that they caught Bryan’s killer” but “sad” that the suspect is “someone from our team.” Kyle Wright texted ESPN that he is “shocked and heartbroken,” while Willie Williams expressed “tears of relief and joy.”

During a brief phone call in April 2019 while ESPN was investigating the matter, Jones stated that he was aware that authorities and some former teammates suspected him of killing Pata but denied any participation.

“What happened 12 years ago happened 12 years ago,” he explained at the time. “It has nothing to do with me.” “I did not do it.”Jones’ wife, Ishenda Jones, told ESPN in a text message last year that “[Rashaun’s] comment was that he was innocent.” He did not kill Bryan. Miami-Dade discovered no proof against my husband.

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