In 2006, the Miami Hurricanes football team was struck by tragedy when star defensive lineman Bryan Pata was shot and killed outside his apartment. Pata figured to be the latest in a long line of Miami linemen who went on to star in the NFL, and his murder had gone unsolved for 15 years.
However, on Thursday, Pata’s teammate at the time, Rashaun Jones, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder (Jones is wearing 38 and kneeling by the mural for Pata on the field at a game in the above picture). The arrest came less than a year after an ESPN deep dive into the murder revealed Jones had been listed as a suspect privately by Miami police but never publicly. Jones and Pata had apparently been feuding, per arrest records, with the two getting into a fight prior to the shooting and Pata having told his brother, Edwin, that Jones had threatened to shoot him in the head (via the Miami Herald).
Detectives investigated a host of people, including Pata’s ex-girlfriend, Jada Brody, and her twin brother, who was in Boston at the time. Jada Brody had been inside the apartment during the shooting.
But investigators learned that Jones, who had been involved with Pata’s girlfriend, had been feuding with Pata in the months before the killing. Pata, who was considerably larger than Jones, had bested him in a fight, authorities said.
Pata had also told his brother, Edwin Pata, that Jones had also threatened to shoot him in the head, according to an arrest warrant released Thursday.
Cell phone data showed that, while Jones had insisted in 2006 that he was at home during the shooting, his cell phone pinged off a tower near Pata’s apartment at the time of the shooting, and a witness had seen him leaving Pata’s apartment complex not long after (although there was no eye witness to the shooting itself). Jones has denied involvement in the shooting, but reportedly changed his cell phone number and skipped a mandatory team meeting following Pata’s killing.
The arrest may bring closure to the Pata family after 15 years of not knowing what happened to the 22-year-old who was on the verge of achieving his NFL dream — Edwin Pata told the Herald the news brought “mixed emotions.”