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Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez found guilty of murder

Crime WorldBy Sunday World
Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez will spend the rest of his life behind bars
Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez will spend the rest of his life behind bars

Aaron Hernandez will never be released from prison after a jury in Massachusetts found him guilty of first-degree murder today.

Ex-New England Patriots player Hernandez, 25, looked to his right and pursed his lips after the jury forewoman read the verdict.

He has been convicted of the murder of Odin Lloyd, a 27-year-old landscaper and amateur weekend football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee. The first-degree murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.

Hernandez's mother, Terri, and his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins, cried and gasped when they heard the verdict. Ms Jenkins wept on his mother's shoulder. Hernandez later mouthed to them: "Be strong. Be strong."

The former athlete was also found guilty on both weapons charges he faced. The jury deliberated for 36 hours before rendering its verdict.

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

Police almost immediately zeroed in on Hernandez because they found in Lloyd's pocket the key to a car the NFL player had rented.

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 phone records that tracked Lloyd's movements.

Hernandez's lawyer, James Sultan, acknowledged for the first time during closing arguments that Hernandez was there when Lloyd was killed.

But the lawyer pinned the shooting on two of Hernandez's friends, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, saying his client was a "23-year-old kid" who witnessed a shocking crime and didn't know what to do. Wallace and Ortiz will stand trial later.

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 because the judge said it was speculation.

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