WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Travis Rudolph, a former wide receiver at Florida State University and the NFL’s New York Giants, was acquitted of murder and other charges on Wednesday.
A jury in Palm Beach County deliberated for 3 1/2 hours before finding Rudolph, 27, not guilty of four charges stemming from an April 7, 2021, shooting that left one man dead after a confrontation in front of the athlete’s home, the Sun-Sentinel reported. Rudolph had fired numerous shots at four men in a car as they left his home after midnight, according to the newspaper.
The jury found that Rudolph was not guilty of one count of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder, according to The Associated Press.
Two men were shot in the incident in Lake Park, Florida, and Sebastien Jean-Jacques, 21, was killed, ESPN reported. Rudolph claimed the shooting was in self-defense. Had he been convicted, Rudolph was facing four life sentences in prison.
Rudolph stood up after the verdict was read and was embraced by his attorney, Marc Shiner, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
“I mean I just felt like it was right. … I just knew all along … I did what I had to do to just protect me and my brother’s life,” Rudolph said.
The shooting came after an altercation between Rudolph and his girlfriend at the time, ESPN reported. Rudolph was confronted by four men after the argument, and Rudolph allegedly fired 39 shots in the direction of their SUV, according to the cable sports network.
Rudolph testified that two of the four men pointed guns at him during the altercation, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
Rudolph attempted to have the case dismissed last year, citing Florida’s “stand your ground law,” ESPN reported. The law permits the use of deadly force if a person believes it is necessary to protect themselves against imminent death.
Rudolph’s request was declined by a judge.
“I got my freedom back, and I can get back to my life,” Rudolph said outside the courthouse after Wednesday’s verdict, WPTV reported. “I was definitely nervous. We definitely prayed a lot.”