This story is creating.
Police arrested a former Miami soccer participant Thursday within the November 2006 capturing dying of teammate Bryan Pata, almost 15 years after the crime and 9 months after an ESPN investigation identified missteps within the long-stalled police inquiry.
Miami-Dade Police mentioned U.S. marshals arrested Rashaun Jones, 35, on a first-degree homicide cost within the killing. In a video issued on Twitter, Det. Juan Segovia thanked the Pata household and the group for maintaining the strain on to unravel the case.
“The group by no means stopped contacting us,” Segovia mentioned. “Even when we obtained a thousand ideas and just one was the one that truly put the items collectively, that is what it took, and that is precisely what occurred on this case.”
“I can solely hope that this brings the Pata household a bit of little bit of closure and a bit of little bit of satisfaction.”
The Miami Herald reported that Jones was arrested in Marion County, in central Florida. Segovia mentioned Jones was awaiting extradition to Miami. Additional particulars on what led police to make the arrest weren’t instantly out there.
In a short April 2019 phone dialog whereas ESPN was investigating the case, Jones mentioned he knew police and even some former teammates suspected him of killing Pata, however he denied any involvement.
“What occurred 12 years in the past, occurred 12 years in the past,” he mentioned on the time. “It is obtained nothing to do with me. … I did not do it.”
Final 12 months, Jones’ spouse Ishenda Jones wrote in a textual content to ESPN that, “[Rashaun’s] remark was he was harmless. He did NOT kill Bryan. Miami-Dade discovered no proof in opposition to my husband.”
The arrest got here one week after what would’ve been Pata’s thirty seventh birthday. On Nov. 7, 2006, somebody shot Pata within the head as he obtained out of his SUV in entrance of his condominium advanced 4 miles from the Miami campus. It was round 7 p.m. and Pata had simply returned from afternoon observe; he was months away from being chosen within the NFL Draft.
Jones was lengthy thought-about a suspect within the 15-year-old murder, a truth revealed final November within the ESPN report that traced the police investigation and outlined varied theories – in addition to doubts from Pata’s household that police had the dedication and ability to unravel the case.
Police mentioned publicly for years that they’d nobody suspect, however throughout courtroom proceedings final summer time in a battle with ESPN over public information, an officer supervising the investigation mentioned police “have a robust perception who killed Bryan Pata,” and had come near arresting this particular person at the least a decade earlier.
Jones and Pata had a historical past of arguments and fights, and Jones had beforehand dated Pata’s girlfriend, Jada Brody, in accordance with interviews and paperwork ESPN obtained. Brody cooperated with police across the time of the capturing, however she expressed irritation when police returned to ask questions months later, in accordance with police information. The information don’t notice her saying something about Jones’ potential involvement. Previous to publishing its 2020 story, ESPN reached out to Brody for greater than two years by telephone, textual content message, social media and thru mates and relations. She by no means agreed to an interview.
In interviews with ESPN, police theorized that the shooter had been ready for Pata, presumably within the bushes or behind a dumpster. Police have by no means discovered anybody who noticed the capturing, and no safety cameras within the space captured it. Some folks interviewed on the condominium advanced reported listening to loud voices, whereas others heard gunshots, in accordance with police.
In a 2019 interview, Lt. Rudy Gonzalez instructed ESPN that police interviewed a resident who mentioned he was strolling within the car parking zone the evening of the killing when he noticed a person working from the scene. The resident gave them sufficient of an outline to generate a sketch, and information point out a lineup was proven to an unidentified particular person. However police have declined to launch the sketch or say if it matched any potential suspects.
In March 2020, ESPN sued Miami-Dade for withholding and redacting information within the case, which the community argued must be public as a result of the case was not energetic. However police disagreed it was dormant, they usually promised a renewed effort.
Lt. Joseph Zanconato, who was later transferred out of the murder unit, instructed the choose that police have been simply “a puzzle piece” away from closing the case. When requested whether or not the division would make an arrest “within the foreseeable future,” Zanconato answered: “Sure.”
Police had interviewed dozens of individuals and generated greater than 4,000 pages within the case file with references to nightclub fights, stolen rims, jealous girlfriends, federal brokers and even an alleged jailhouse confession. However notes and materials pertaining to Jones featured prominently.
Police had interviewed and/or run background checks on greater than 100 folks. Every of their information had a canopy sheet earlier than the data. The quilt of Jones’ file within the case report is the one one to notice the topic as “suspect.” And sentences blacked out in the midst of a web page that had different particulars about Jones have been mentioned to be coping with “our major particular person of curiosity,” in accordance with courtroom testimony.
In an interview with ESPN, one former teammate recalled a battle between Jones and Pata. In accordance with that account, Jones issued a warning as the 2 have been separated: “Boy, you may as properly go forward and clip up.”
On the evening of the killing, paperwork and interviews point out Jones was notably absent from a compulsory crew assembly known as by coaches. He’d been suspended that day after testing optimistic for marijuana, his third failed drug take a look at.
Jones would later inform police that he was house alone the evening Pata was killed, and that when he heard of Pata’s dying, he headed to the Hecht Heart, presumably for the assembly. However different witnesses instructed police, and greater than a dozen ex-players instructed ESPN, that they’d no recollection of Jones being there. Police famous of their report that Jones had given a false alibi.
ESPN reviewed police notes that point out Jones known as a fellow Miami athlete to borrow cash that evening to exit of city. Police subsequently interviewed the athlete, who spoke to ESPN on the situation that he not be named however confirmed that Jones did ask for cash; he declined to remark additional. Coral Gables Police Chief Ed Hudak, a legislation enforcement liaison for the Hurricanes on the time, mentioned that as he spoke with gamers on the soccer amenities on the evening of Nov. 7, Jones’ title saved arising.
“There was a really robust sentiment [Jones] had one thing to do with it,” Hudak mentioned. “When that was introduced as much as me by the gamers, I made positive that the detectives had that. What got here of these leads, I do not know.”
In 2017, police and Pata’s relations had a press convention to ask publicly for leads and ideas. Then, and within the subsequent three years as ESPN journalists labored on the story, officers repeatedly mentioned that they believed there was somebody on the market – aside from the shooter – with first-hand info, they usually wanted that particular person to come back ahead. In September 2020, Miami-Dade Police largely prevailed within the information lawsuit filed by ESPN, partly as a result of officers vowed they’d renewed their case and have been more likely to make an arrest within the “foreseeable future.” Round that point, the officers who had been engaged on the Pata investigation both retired or have been faraway from the case. Police Maj. Jorge Aguiar, who took over the Miami-Dade murder bureau in fall 2020, instructed ESPN final fall that he had assigned Det. Juan Segovia, one of many authentic detectives on the Pata case, to take over. He mentioned Segovia has been reinterviewing prior witnesses, however he gave no additional particulars. After the ESPN story printed, Aguiar stopped responding to emails and voicemails searching for updates.
Jones has been charged and convicted of quite a lot of prison visitors and drug-related offenses through the years, together with an arrest and same-day launch in Could in reference to a second-offense driving with a suspended license quotation in Columbia County.
Jones is listed on the private-coaching web site CoachUp, which says that he has 10 years of expertise coaching adults, youngsters and youngsters. The location says he volunteered with the soccer crew at his alma mater, Columbia Excessive Faculty. On the high of his web page is a quote: “(I’ve) seen what errors to not make when you could have the entire world in your fingers!”