Ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez found guilty of first-degree murder
Ursula Ward, mother of the victim, Odin Lloyd, cries as a guilty verdict is read for former New England Patriots star
Former New England Patriots player
Aaron Hernandez speaks with defense attorney James Sultan in the courtroom of the Bristol County Superior Courthouse in Fall River, Mass., on April 8.(Faith Ninivaggi / Associated Press)
Former New England Patriots player
(CJ Gunther / Associated Press)
Shayanna Jenkins, fiancee of former NFL player
Aaron Hernandez attends a bail hearing in Fall River Superior Court on June 27, 2013.(Ted Fitzgerald / Associated Press)
Aaron Hernandez appears in Attleboro District Court to face murder charges on June 26, 2013, after being arrested at his home earlier in the day.(Mike George / European Pressphoto Agency)
New England tight end Aaron Hernandez (warms up prior to an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Dec. 23, 2012.(Phelan M. Ebenhack / Associated Press)
A Massachusetts jury found former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez guilty of first-degree murder Wednesday in the death of a semiprofessional football player.
Prosecutors charged that Hernandez shot Odin Lloyd six times at an industrial park in North Attleborough, Mass., on June 17, 2013.
An attorney for Hernandez, 25, told the court last week that his client was at the scene of the killing but didn’t participate in the crime.
The jury of seven men and five women had the options of finding Hernandez guilty of first- or second-degree murder or not guilty. The verdict, which came after six days of deliberations, had to be unanimous.
District Attorney Thomas Quinn said after the verdict: “The jury found that he was just a man who committed a brutal murder. The fact that he was a professional athlete meant nothing in the end.”
The defense team did not speak to the media.
The jury also found Hernandez guilty on ammunition and gun possession charges.
Hernandez faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Lloyd’s mother, Ursula Ward, gave a victim impact statement during Hernandez’s formal sentencing later Wednesday morning. As her family members wept and dropped their heads, Ward said she she forgives anyone involved in her son’s death, even though she “felt like I wanted to go into the hole with my son” on the day he was buried.
Jury members spoke to the media Wednesday afternoon, saying there were many tears in the jury room but not elaborating on the nature or the deliberations.
The jury determined that Hernandez used extreme atrocity or cruelty, with one jury saying the fact that Lloyd was shot six times helped him come to that conclusion.
Jury members also expressed shock that Hernandez’s lawyer James Sultan, during closing arguments, acknowledged that Hernandez was present when Lloyd was killed.
Two other men -- Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace -- have also been charged in connection with Lloyd’s death. Both have pleaded not guilty and are to be tried separately
The weapon used to kill Lloyd has never been recovered.
The verdict at the Fall River Justice Center in Fall River, Mass., capped a trial that began in January and included 135 witnesses -- 132 for the prosecution.
The Patriots released Hernandez -- a former All-American at the University of Florida -- in June 2013 following his arrest on the murder charge.
In August 2012, Hernandez had signed a five-year contract extension with the Patriots worth up to $40 million.
Hernandez’s legal troubles aren’t over. In a separate case, he is charged with killing Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in July 2012 in Boston
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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