For­mer NFL star Aaron Her­nan­dez found guilty of first-de­gree mur­der


For­mer NFL star Aaron Her­nan­dez was found guilty of first­de­gree mur­der and sen­tenced to life in pri­son in a late-night shoot­ing, seal­ing the down­fall of an ath­lete who once had a US$40 mil­lion con­tract and a stand­out ca­reer ahead of him.

Her­nan­dez, 25, once starred for the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots, one of the Na­tional Foot­ball League’s most dom­i­nant teams in re­cent years. His mur­der trial was yet an­other dis­trac­tion for Amer­ica’s most popular pro­fes­sional sport, which has been be­set by scan­dals over star play­ers who com­mit­ted phys­i­cal abuse and the league’s han­dling of play­ers’ con­cus­sions.

Her­nan­dez faces fur­ther legal trou­ble: He is still await­ing trial on mur­der charges in a drive-by shoot­ing. He is ac­cused of gun­ning down two men over a spilled drink at a night­club.

Her­nan­dez was also found guilty on firearm and ammunition charges. The jury de­lib­er­ated over seven days be­fore ren­der­ing its ver­dict.

For rea­sons that were never made clear to the jury, Odin Lloyd was shot six times in the mid­dle of the night on June 17, 2013, in a de­serted industrial park near Her­nan­dez’s home.

Po­lice al­most im­me­di­ately ze­roed in on Her­nan­dez be­cause they found in Lloyd’s pocket the key to a car the NFL player had rented. Within hours of Her­nan­dez’s ar­rest, the Pa­tri­ots cut the for­mer Pro Bowl ath­lete, who was con­sid­ered one of the top ends in the game.

Pros­e­cu­tors pre­sented a wealth of ev­i­dence that Her­nan­dez was with Lloyd at the time he was killed, in­clud­ing home se­cu­rity video from Her­nan­dez’s man­sion, wit­ness tes­ti­mony and cell­phone records that tracked Lloyd’s move­ments.

All 12 ju­rors and three al­ter­nates spoke to re­porters Wed­nes­day, say­ing they were shocked by the de­fense ad­mis­sion that Her­nan­dez was at the scene of the killing — an ad­mis­sion that they said helped con­firm that he was guilty.

Pros­e­cu­tors have sug­gested Lloyd may have been killed be­cause he knew too much about Her­nan­dez’s al­leged in­volve­ment in a deadly 2012 drive-by shoot­ing in Bos­ton. But they were not al­lowed to tell the jury that

tight be­cause the judge spec­u­la­tion.

As a re­sult, they never of­fered a mo­tive be­yond say­ing Her­nan­dez ap­peared an­gry with Lloyd at a night­club two nights be­fore the killing.

In the Lloyd killing, the de­fense ar­gued that in­ves­ti­ga­tors fix­ated on Her­nan­dez be­cause of his celebrity and con­ducted a shoddy in­ves­ti­ga­tion in their zeal to con­firm their sus­pi­cions.

Pros­e­cu­tors said Her­nan­dez or­ga­nized the killing, sum­moned his two friends to help carry it out, and drove Lloyd and the oth­ers to the se­cluded spot in the industrial park. Dur­ing closing ar­gu­ments, pros­e­cu­tors also ac­cused Her­nan­dez of pulling the trig­ger, though un­der the law it was not nec­es­sary to prove who fired the shots to con­vict him.


it was


For­mer New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots NFL foot­ball player Aaron Her­nan­dez, cen­ter, stands with his de­fense at­tor­neys, from left, Charles Rankin, Micheal Fee and James Sul­tan, as the ver­dict is read in his mur­der trial, Wed­nes­day, April 15.

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