By: Scott Sutton
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Scripps News West Palm Beach) — Former NFL wide receiver Travis Rudolph was found not guilty Wednesday on all counts in a shooting that left a man dead more than two years ago.
Rudolph, 27, was charged with one count of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder in connection with the fatal shooting outside the ex-college football star’s Florida home.
“I got my freedom back, and I can get back to my life,” Rudolph said outside of the courthouse after the verdict. “I was definitely nervous. We definitely prayed a lot.”
The defense team said Rudolph was the victim on the morning of April 7, 2021, when he was attacked by four men at his home after an argument with his alleged girlfriend.
Prosecutors said that Rudolph was the aggressor, and accused him of literally bringing a gun to a fistfight. The fatal shooting stemmed from an argument Rudolph had with a woman named Dominique Jones. The shooting left Sebastien Jean-Jacques dead and another man injured.
Rudolph had been out of jail on house arrest since last year after he unsuccessfully sought a “stand your ground” defense.
Rudolph, who played for both the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins after graduating from Florida State, maintained several times during his testimony that Jones was never his girlfriend. However, during cross-examination, Assistant State Attorney Francine Edwards countered that not only was Rudolph in a relationship with Jones, but that he was cheating; texting other women.
The state opened its closing arguments on Tuesday by walking jurors through every bullet impact involved in the shooting and playing a 911 call from one of the victims.
On the stand this week, Rudolph maintained the shooting was a result of self-defense after seeing two guns pointed at him.
“I really appreciate the jury. They made the right decision,” Rudolph said. “God bless them all, and I appreciate them for taking the time to actually listen to the truth come out.”
Jurors deliberated for about three hours and 40 minutes before reaching the not-guilty verdict.
Shortly after the verdict was read, the judge ordered Rudolph’s house arrest monitor be removed.
The state attorney’s office released a statement on the verdict:
Although we may disagree with the jury’s verdict, it is their job to determine from the facts whether a defendant is guilty or not guilty. We respect the jury’s decision. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families in this case.
This story was originally published on June 7, 2023, by WPTV in West Palm Beach, an E.W. Scripps Company.