Aaron Hernandez guilty of first-degree murder, sentenced to life in prison without parole
A jury of five men and seven women found former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez guilty of first-degree murder in the death of 27-year-old semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins.
Hernandez, 25, received an automatic sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, which automatically sets an appeal to Massachusetts' highest court.
Hernandez will serve his sentence at Massachusetts Correctional Institution—Cedar Junction, which is less than four miles from Gillette Stadium, where the Patriots play their home games.
He was also found guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm not at home or work and sentenced to two and a half to three years in prison to be served concurrently with the murder sentence and unlawful possession of ammunition, which carries a one-year sentence. The court gave him credit for time served on the ammunition charge.
After the verdict was read, Hernandez's mother, Terri, and his fiancée cried and gasped. Jenkins wept and buried her head in Terri Hernandez's shoulder.
During closing arguments, the defense acknowledged for the first time that Hernandez witnessed the death of Lloyd, but said that either one or both co-defendants, Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace, committed the crime. Hernandez's lawyers said he had no reason to kill Lloyd, especially after signing a five-year, $40 million contract extension with New England in August 2012.
Ortiz and Wallace have pleaded not guilty and will be tried later.
The prosecution placed the blame squarely on Hernandez, saying he shot Lloyd six times and left his body in an industrial park less than a mile from his home.
During the almost three-month trial, more than 130 witnesses took the stand.
Massachusetts state medical examiner Dr. William Zane was the prosecution's final witness. He detailed the gunshot wounds that killed Lloyd on June 17, 2013, saying he was shot six times: two bullets to the chest, with bullets also striking Lloyd's clavicle, stomach, collarbone, back and forearm.
Zane testified that three of the shots were fatal and that Lloyd would have been dead within minutes.
The jury heard testimony from Alexander Bradley, a man who sued Hernandez over allegedly being shot in the face in a February 2013 incident in Florida. That shooting took place five months before the murder of Lloyd.
Prosecutors were not allowed to ask about the Florida shooting. Bradley detailed Hernandez's marijuana habits as well as the nature of their relationship.
Bradley also described a black box he saw in Hernandez's basement containing a firearm, money and marijuana. However, under cross-examination, Bradley said the gun he saw in the box was not a glock, which was the weapon used to kill Lloyd.
Jenkins, took the stand and said that Hernandez was drunk during the hours before Lloyd's killing. During her testimony, Jenkins discussed a box that Hernandez told her to dispose of the day after Lloyd was killed. Hernandez did not give her a reason why the box—which was in the basement—needed to be discarded, only saying it was important that she throw it away.
Jenkins, who said she has known Hernandez since they were in elementary school, testified that she thought the box smelled like marijuana. She said she put the box in a trash bag and discarded it in a random dumpster.
Prosecutors alleged that Hernandez and two other individuals drove Lloyd to an industrial park less than a mile from Hernandez’s residence, where he was shot multiple times.
Hernandez is also charged separately with two counts of murder, three counts of assault with intent to commit murder and a weapons charge in the 2012 deaths of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado.
Authorities say that Hernandez shot de Abreu, Furtado and one other man after one of them spilled a drink on him at a nightclub.
- Scooby Axson