Dec 2, 2017; Charlotte, NC, USA; A Miami Hurricanes helmet lays on the sidelines in the first quarter against the Clemson Tigers in the ACC championship game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

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Ex-Miami DB pleads not guilty in teammate Bryan Pata’s death

Former Miami defensive back Rashaun Jones pleaded not guilty Friday in the 2006 death of teammate Bryan Pata.

The court hearing was held remotely, and attorney Michael Mirer entered the not guilty plea to a second-degree murder with a weapon charge on his behalf. Jones, who remains in custody, wasn’t present.

Jones, 35, of Lake City, Fla., was arrested Aug. 19 by Miami-Dade police. While a longtime suspect in the case, Jones wasn’t publicly identified as such until an ESPN investigation last November.

When he was taken into custody, he was arrested on one count of first-degree murder. To pursue that charge, prosecutors would have to take the case to a grand jury, and it’s unclear whether the Miami-Dade State’s Attorney Office will do that.

Pata, an NFL prospect expected to be taken in the early rounds of the 2007 draft, was shot and killed execution-style in the parking lot of his apartment complex in the Miami suburb of Kendall on Nov. 7, 2006. He was 22 and a senior for the Hurricanes, and police quickly ruled his death a homicide.

Among the details ESPN reported last year was that Jones, who at the time was suspended from the team because of a third positive marijuana test, skipped a team meeting the night of Pata’s death. He also changed his phone number the same day and asked another student for a loan so he could leave town.

Pata and Jones were known to have had disputes over a woman.

Pata, a 6-foot-4, 280-pound defensive lineman, appeared in 41 games with the Hurricanes, starting 23. In his final season, he had 13 tackles and two sacks from the defensive tackle position.

–Field Level Media

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