The verdict is in. Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was found guilty of first-degree murder on Wednesday, April 15, in Fall River, Mass. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
The former NFL player, 25, who played tight end for the team, was charged with killing Odin Lloyd back in June 2013. He was also found guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm, as well as unlawful possession of ammunition.
Hernandez knew Lloyd through his fiancee Shayanna Jenkins, whose sister was dating the victim at the time. Lloyd was shot six times and his body was later recovered in an industrial park near Hernandez’s home. A joint found nearby had both Hernandez and Lloyd’s DNA on it. The prosecution argued that his motive for murder was that Lloyd was talking to people that Hernandez did not like.
Jenkins has been a key witness throughout the trial in exchange for immunity. According to Hernandez’s fiancee, he asked her to execute several favors for him before she learned of Lloyd’s death. One task was getting rid of a box in their home, which she never opened and threw away in a dumpster.
Per the Associated Press, Hernandez’s mom Terri and Jenkins both “cried and gasped” when the verdict was announced. Hernandez reportedly mouthed: “Be strong. Be strong.”
Hernandez, a former Pro Bowl athlete with a prolific career in the NFL, signed a $40 million contract in 2012, and was thought to be one of the best tight ends in the league. He was released by the Patriots shortly after his arrest.