Former Miami Hurricanes Teammate Charged In 2006 Murder Of Bryan Pata
By Jason Hall
August 20, 2021
A former Miami Hurricanes player was arrested and charged in the November 7, 2006 shooting death of former teammate Bryan Pata on Thursday (August 19).
Rashaun Jones, 35, was charged with first-degree murder in connection to Pata's death, which went unsolved for nearly 15 years, according to a U.S. Marshals news release.
Pata, 22, a star defensive lineman, was shot and killed outside his apartment complex in the Kendall area of Miami after returning from football practice.
Jones was taken into custody without incident on Thursday outside his place of employment in Ocala, Florida.
Miami-Dade Police obtained the homicide warrant for the former defensive back on August 17, and U.S. Marshals Florida/Caribbean Regional Fugitive Task Force (FCRFTF) investigators developed information placing Jones in the Ocala area, conducting an arrest operation with the task force's Gainesville Office.
In a video shared on the Miami-Dade Police Department's verified Twitter account, Detective Juan Segovia thanked the Pata family and the local community for keeping the pressure on to solve the case nearly 15 years later.
"The community never stopped contacting us," Segovia said. "Even if we got a thousand tips and only one was the one that actually put the pieces together, that's what it took, and that's exactly what happened in this case.
"I can only hope that this brings the Pata family a little bit of closure and a little bit of satisfaction."
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
Former Miami coach Larry Coker told ESPN "it's really a surprise" in response to Jones' arrest, adding, "I'm just glad things are moving forward and that things are getting solved."
Several former teammates offered mixed reactions in response to Jones' arrest.
Former tight end Chris Zellner told ESPN via text message that he was "happy that they caught Bryan's killer" but also "sad" that the suspect was "someone from our team."
Former quarterback Kyle Wright said he was "shocked and heartbroken" over the news, while former linebacker Willie Williams said he experienced "tears of relief and joy."
ESPN continued to investigate the case and conducted a telephone conversation with Jones in April 2019 in which the former defensive back said he knew police and even some former teammates had suspected him of being responsible in Pata's death, but denied any wrongdoing.
"What happened 12 years ago, happened 12 years ago," Jones said at the time. "It's got nothing to do with me. ... I didn't do it."
Last year, Jones' wife, Ishenda Jones, sent a text to ESPN denying her husband's involvement in the murder of Pata.
"[Rashaun's] comment was he was innocent," she wrote. "He did NOT kill Bryan. Miami-Dade found no evidence against my husband."
Pata was a projected 2007 NFL Draft prospect and the time of his death.
The Miami native made 15 starts in 32 games during three seasons with the Hurricanes, recording 73 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, nine sacks, 26 QB hurries, two fumble recoveries and one pass defensed.