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Aaron Hernandez: Guilty of Murder
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Aaron Hernandez has been convicted of first degree murder.

Summary: Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez has been found guilty of first-degree murder and has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

According to CNN, former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez has been convicted for the first-degree murder of Odin Lloyd. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

  
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Hernandez once lived on a cool $40 million professional football contract. On Wednesday, the 25-year-old seemed to shake his head “no” when the guilty verdict was read to the court. Hernandez was also found guilty of unlawful possession of ammunition and unlawful possession of a firearm.

During the trial, defense attorneys told the court that Lloyd was Hernandez’s “bluntmaster,” or his marijuana supplier. Lloyd’s relatives, as they read their victim impact statements to the court, said that he was a protective brother, a loving son, and was a man who would wear the same flip flops for over ten years and ride his bicycle ten miles to work.

Ursula Ward, Lloyd’s mother, said, “Odin was my only son. Odin was the man of the house. Odin was his sisters’ keeper. After my daughter Olivia had her daughter, Odin became her keeper, too. I thank God every second for every day I spent with my son. The day I laid my son Odin to rest, I think my heart stopped beating for a moment. I felt like I wanted to go in that hole with my son Odin.” She did not look over at Hernandez as she addressed the court.

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Later, Ward told reporters, “Just like God has left his footprint in the sand, my baby’s footprint is in my heart forever. He was my strength. I love him dearly.”

Assistant District Attorney William McCauley commented that Hernandez “committed an extremely cruel and atrocious killing…It was brutal. It was senseless.”



McCauley

McCauley

Judge Susan Garsh sentenced the former football player “to a term of your natural life without the possibility of parole.”

Read about the beginning of the trial here.

Hernandez appeared upset, but remained calm as the verdict was read. He pursed his lips and took a deep breath, and his attorney, James Sultan, placed an arm around him. The jury had deliberated in excess of 35 hours over seven days.

Hernandez’s mother, Terri, and his fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins, both wept after the verdict was read. Shayanna’s sister, Shaneah Jenkins, was Lloyd’s former girlfriend. Hernandez mouthed, “It’s okay.”

Ward, Lloyd’s mother, sobbed as the verdict was read, ABC News reported.

None of the jurors looked at Hernandez as the verdict was read to the court.

Hernandez was found guilty of the shooting death of Odin Lloyd. Lloyd’s body was found in an industrial park in Massachusetts in June of 2013. As the guilty verdicts were read, Lloyd’s mother rocked back and forth. Afterward, Lloyd’s family, thanked and hugged the prosecution team.

The trial began at the end of January, just a few days before the Patriots beat the Seattle Seahawks in the Superbowl.

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Prosecutors called over 130 witnesses to support their case. The defense team’s witnesses took less than a day to question.

According to prosecutors, Lloyd was with Hernandez and Hernandez’s buddies, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, at around 2:30 a.m. on June 17, 2013. The group was seen in a rented silver Nissan Altima. Later that day, a jogger found Lloyd’s body, which had suffered multiple gunshots.

In August, certain evidence was ruled inadmissible at the trial.

Prosecutors painted a picture of Hernandez as a cold, calculating, and insecure man who believed that other individuals should be appreciative of his attention and who was also capable of murdering someone  for simply disrespecting him in front of others.

McCauley asked the jury to consider what Hernandez said the day after Lloyd’s body was found. According to McCauley, Hernandez said, “My endorsements are gone.”

The prosecution added that Wallace and Ortiz had been friends with Hernandez for their entire lives, and that Hernandez controlled their actions. In closing arguments, McCauley asked the jury to recall testimony that Hernandez, Wallace, and Ortiz were sunbathing and drinking smoothies just a few hours after the murder. At times, Hernandez left his then 8-month-old baby with Wallace and Ortiz. McCauley commented, “These guys…will do whatever he wants.”

Although the motive has remained unclear, prosecutors argued that Lloyd may have done something or said something that Hernandez did not like. Therefore, Hernandez called his friends and planned the murder to get back at Lloyd. McCauley said that although such incidents may seem insignificant to others, they would likely easily offend Hernandez.

Shayanna Jenkins, Hernandez’s fiancée, said that Hernandez told her to get rid of a box that was in their home. The box smelled strongly of marijuana, and Jenkins testified she did not know what was in the box. The prosecutors argued that the murder weapon, which was never recovered, was inside the box.

After covering the box with her daughter’s clothing, Jenkins tossed it out in a “random dumpster,” although she could not remember which one. Another piece of evidence the prosecution presented was fuzzy footage from Hernandez’s home video surveillance system that they argued showed him holding a .45-caliber handgun, the same type of gun that law enforcement said killed Lloyd.

Wallace and Ortiz have also been charged with murder, and have entered pleas of not guilty. Their trials will be conducted separately.

James Sulton, Hernandez’s attorney, told the jury that Hernandez did “witness” Lloyd’s murder, and that it was “committed by somebody he knew.” Sulton added that Hernandez “really didn’t know what to do, so he put one foot in front of another” and moved forward with his life as usual.

Sulton

Sulton

Last May, Hernandez entered a plea of not guilty.

Lloyd was working for a landscaping company at the time of his death. He also played football for the Boston Bandits, the oldest semi-pro team in Boston. The team won four championships in the New England Football League.

Evidence gathered in Lloyd’s murder also led to two additional charges against Hernandez in a separate case in Boston. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to those charges. Although that trial is scheduled for May, it will likely be pushed back, according to officials.

After the trial, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn was asked if Hernandez “gets it” after he was convicted. Quinn said, “I don’t know. I think when you’re taken away and they say, ‘life in prison without parole’…there’s got to be some response. But I don’t know if he got it.”

According to USA Today, the conviction automatically triggered an appeal to Massachusetts’s highest court.

Source: CNN

Photo credit: New York Daily News, Gettyimages.com (McCauley), Gazettenet.com (Sulton)



 

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