How did Bryan Pata die? Ex-Miami player Rashaun Jones charged with teammate's 2006 murder
The 15-year-old murder case of Bryan Pata once again gained media attention after ESPN revealed former Miami football player and the victim's teammate Rashaun Jones was listed as a suspect in this case according to police records. On Thursday, August 19 Jones was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in connection with Pata's murder in November 2006.
Speaking of football players who've found themselves on the wrong side of the law, 18-year-old Crosley MacEachen was recently accused of raping a teenage girl while she was asleep. The charges against him were dropped this month based on new evidence. Last month NFL's free agent Richard Sherman was arrested and charged with burglary domestic violence which was being investigated as a felony. Ex-NFL'er Tom Burke was charged for sexually assaulting a 7-year-old in June this year.
How was Bryan Pata murdered?
Pata's killing was one of the high-profile murders in Miami, Florida amid rising violent crime in the city at the time. On Tuesday, November 7, 2006 Pata had woken up to attend a mandatory 6:30 am football meeting. He was said to be quite upbeat despite the early hour and was looking forward to surprising a coach who happened to celebrate a birthday that day. Pata had attended practice as usual and after the workout ended he and some teammates dumped a cooler of Gatorade on the birthday coach.
After eating his meal, Pata left practice and left for Colony Apartments in suburban Kendall. The 22-year-old was reported to have been arguing with a man in the parking lot of his gated apartment complex. After he turned away from the man, according to his family, he was shot several times, including the back of the head. His girlfriend Jada Brody found the body. Pata had messaged Brody from practice telling her thank you for the best relationship he had ever been in. "In a few years, we're going to get married so you better be ready when I ask you," he wrote.
Jones was identified as the shooter for quite some time but it came to light only after ESPN's article in 2020. According to reports, Brody used to date Jones before Pata and the two men had brawled at least twice after tensions flared stemming from their relationships. After news of Pata's death spread, Miami's football office sent a text to all players calling them for a mandatory meeting at the Hecht Center immediately and Jones was absent for the same. However, he told police he was present for the meeting, a claim dozens of ex-players denied. From the main investigative file accessed by the outlet, there are more than 100 cover sheets out of which only one contains the word 'suspect'. It reads: "Rashaun Travon Jones - Suspect".
Jones was arrested on Thursday, August 19, by the Miami-Dade Police in the Ocala area as part of a joint operation between the agency and the US Marshals. Police confirmed Jones was going to be booked in Marion County before being transferred to Miami-Dade County. The police department shared the arrest of the news via a tweet from their official handle which read, "MURDER CASE SOLVED - Segment 4 MDPD Homicide detectives, with the assistance of the U.S. Marshals, have arrested Rashaun Jones in connection to the 2006 murder of Bryan Pata. Thank you investigators for helping us bring justice to the family."
“The Pata family has waited a long time to see the individual they had believed involved in Brian’s death arrested and charged,” said State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. “While the time needed to build sufficient evidence to ethically charge in a homicide can sometimes feel endless, families should know that the passion and determination of police and prosecutors to resolve unsolved cases does not diminish."
MURDER CASE SOLVED - Segment 4— Miami-Dade Police (@MiamiDadePD) August 19, 2021
MDPD Homicide detectives, with the assistance of the U.S. Marshals, have arrested Rashaun Jones in connection to the 2006 murder of Bryan Pata. Thank you investigators for helping us bring justice to the family. pic.twitter.com/s8QoyHVf96