Newly acquitted murder defendant Travis Rudolph, a former football player in college and the NFL, reiterated his self-defense claim, and though he expressed his condolences for the family of the slain Sebastien Jean-Jacques, he said that “for every action, there’s a reaction.”
“And just like my lawyer said yesterday in one of the interviews that you got to take responsibility for your actions,” he told the Law&Crime Network’s Linda Kenney Baden. “It’s unfortunate. It’s unfortunate for their loss. To this day, I pray on the family, I pray on Sebastian, but like I said, you got to take responsibility.”
Attorney Marc Shiner said Rudolph was the victim in this case.
“His family are the victims,” his lawyer said. “There’s no victim named Jean-Jacques in this case. He got what he unfortunately deserved, legally. And unfortunately, his friends weren’t charged. So the victim is sitting next to me.”
Prosecutors said that Rudolph committed murder when he opened fire in Lake Park, Florida, in April 2021, killing Jean-Jacques and injuring Tyler Robinson. That’s not how the jury saw it.
According to trial testimony, after Rudolph’s former girlfriend Dominique Jones caught him cheating, her brother and three other men showed up at a home to confront Rudolph.
“We on demon time,” Rudolph testified this is what the four men said after they came to his mother’s house and confronted him about an argument with his ex-girlfriend.
Jones testified she was more “hurt than angry” on learning about the infidelity. But Rudolph’s brother, Darryl Rudolph Jr., claimed Jones “orchestrated” the confrontation.
Rudolph’s mother, Linda Rudolph, testified in court Monday that Travis’ ex-girlfriend put a hit on him after the two had gotten in a scuffle.
“Mom, you gotta come get your son Travis, because I’m going to have my brothers and his friends come and f— him up and kill him,” the emotional mother testified.
Kenney Baden asked Rudolph if Jones was “in your future.”
“No, not at all,” he said.
Shiner on Thursday said that he told Rudolph’s family to speak from the heart during testimony.
Rudolph said he was coming from the heart and was credible about what actually happened that night.
“That’s what actually happened,” he said. “I told the truth, and I feel like the truth will always set you free.”
“Travis, he had more confidence than I did from day 1, in us and in the system, and it showed,” Shiner said, noting that Rudolph maintained innocence from day 1 when they met in jail.
“He knew the facts before I even saw the videos,” Shiner said, saying it took months for police to hand over evidence.
The attorney attacked the law enforcement investigation during the trial, going as far as to call the lead investigator a “dummy” during closing arguments.
The defense team for ex-NFL player #TravisRudolph believes officers and detectives did a poor job investigating the crime scene. “You didn’t even bother looking,” defense attorney Marc Shiner said to Detective Emily Vander-Laan. pic.twitter.com/K50lciSQGo
— Law&Crime Network (@LawCrimeNetwork) June 1, 2023
Regarding the detectives, Rudolph said he can’t speak on behalf of law enforcement.
“But I just feel like, as far as the lead detectives or whatever position you’re in, dealing with a serious case like this, you just got to be held accountable, and don’t just take one person’s story and feel like it’s the truth. It’s always two sides, and there’s the truth. It’s technically three sides of a story.”
He said he had no personal vendetta toward the lead detective or anyone involved in the case.
“Because I know they’re doing their job, but you got to be held accountable,” he said.
He said that waiting for the verdict was not a good feeling, but voiced relief on the final decision. He thanked jurors for their patience, saying the trial was fairly long, including jury selection. He described the jury as being engaged the entire time.
“Never walked out of a courtroom where a jury did something they didn’t believe,” Shiner said. “They didn’t always agree with me, but in this case, it was clear that it was not a very difficult case in terms of convincing 12 members of our jury in Palm Beach County that he was not guilty. It was actually pretty easy. I knew it all along. It was just a difficult road.”
Eileen Holliday contributed to this report.
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