Former Miami college football player Rashaun Jones was arrested on Friday in connection to the November 2006 shooting death of his then-teammate Bryan Pata.
The Miami-Dade Police Department said the 35-year-old Jones was arrested on a first-degree murder charge, almost 15 years later and following an ESPN investigation into the case.
Pata was shot in the head as he got out of his car in Miami on November 7, 2006, having just finished practice. He was expected to be picked in the following April’s NFL Draft.
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“What happened 12 years ago, happened 12 years ago,” Jones told ESPN during its investigation. “It’s got nothing to do with me. … I didn’t do it.”
Jones was part of an on-field tribute to Pata following his murder but social media users pointed out Jones was the only player not closing his eyes in prayer in one photo.
The ESPN investigation found Jones and Pata had fought multiple times, and Pata was dating Jones’ former girlfriend Jada Brody at the time of the shooting.
A witness described a man to a police sketch artist who looked like Jones and in 2007, he picked Jones out of a photo line-up, doing so again in 2020.
“It’s really a surprise,” former Miami coach Larry Coker told ESPN. “I’m just glad things are moving forward and that things are getting solved.”