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An arrest has been made in the infamous 2006 killing of University of Miami football player Bryan Pata.
On Thursday, police arrested 35-year-old Rashaun Jones — Pata’s teammate with the Hurricanes at the time of his death — and charged him with murder, the Miami Herald is reporting. Jones, of Lake City, Florida, was arrested Thursday in Marion County by Miami-Dade police.
Pata was 22 years old when he was shot to death outside his apartment complex on Nov. 7, 2006 in Kendall, Florida. According to police, Pata was walking from his car toward his apartment building when he was shot in the back of the head.
Pata was a senior defensive lineman for the Hurricanes and was considered an NFL prospect. The case was ruled a homicide and remained unsolved for the past 15 years and there were no charges filed until Thursday.
Jones, who had once dated Pata’s girlfriend, was identified as a suspect in an investigative piece published by ESPN last year. The story detailed multiple altercations between Jones and Pata. The story also revealed that Jones skipped a team meeting in the hours after the shooting and changed his cell phone number the day of the shooting.
In the ESPN story, Jones denied having any involvement in Pata’s death:
For 14 years now, the Pata death has followed Jones. Police looked into other crimes and incidents in which Jones was listed as being involved, and they interviewed his former high school classmates, friends and a former girlfriend. Jones insists he didn’t kill Pata. In two brief conversations with ESPN, Jones said he knows police, and even some of his ex-teammates, suspect him. And it doesn’t bother him.
“Hell no, ‘cuz I know I ain’t had nothing to do with it,” he said. “So why would it bother me?”
He said after the detective in Miami interviewed him and Abramson at the time “that was over for me.”
“What happened 12 years ago, happened 12 years ago,” he said in April 2019. “It’s got nothing to do with me. ... I didn’t do it.”
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