The trial of Aaron Hernandez, former New England Patriots player has reached the final score. After seven days of jury deliberations, former NFL New England Patriots Aaron Hernandez was convicted on Wednesday of first degree murder and gun charges. The verdict could mean a sentence of life without parole. And although appeals may be down the road, it brings an end to one legal battle for Hernandez. He still faces a second murder trial involving the murder of two people in 2012, set to start later this year. After over 40 days, 400 plus exhibits and 135 witnesses, the jury delivered its verdict of guilty on all charges in the circumstantial murder case.
The murder case against Hernandez was an entirely circumstantial one. There was no gun found and no eyewitnesses. The prosecution alleged that Hernandez, once worth $40 million for playing with the New England Patriots, drove the victim, Lloyd, to an area and shot him six times. Prosecutors contended that evidence left at the scene such as Hernandez’s DNA on a marijuana butt and .45 caliber shell casings found at the crime scene supported their theory. The casings found at the scene and found in the rented car of Hernandez were allegedly shot from the same gun. The defense disputed the prosecution’s gun theory. The defense also called very few witnesses. That strategy may have backfired against them. The defense also seemed to change gears during closing arguments. At closing, the defense admitted that Hernandez was at the scene of the killing alleged to be committed by two others. The Patriots owner Robert Kraft testified earlier that Hernandez said he was at a club at the time of the killing. The prosecution’s case proved that statement to be false by way of cell phone records. And apparently, the jury worked beyond the motive issue. Although motive is never an element in any criminal case, the prosecution did not have a motive for why Hernandez would kill Lloyd who was an acquaintance or friend. And Hernandez and the jury may never know why he wasted a NFL career, $40 million in contract to kill his friend Odin Lloyd.
In the final analysis, the jury found the circumstantial case proved the guilt of Aaron Hernandez in the murder of Odin Lloyd. And the first degree murder charge carries a mandatory life in prison without parole. Unlike other cases and jurisdictions where the courts schedule a sentencing date for several months later, the sentencing for Aaron Hernandez will occur without any delay. He could be sentenced on Wednesday.
The video of the verdict can be found here.