by: Bryant “B-Boy” Worthing @bboyworthing
In one of the most intriguing cases of a professional athlete having troubles with the law, Aaron Hernandez, former tight end for the New England Patriots, did not get off the hook. Instead, a jury found Hernandez guilty of murdering semi-pro football player, Odin Lloyd (also an extended family member of Hernandez’s fiance). In addition to the murder conviction, Hernandez, who is 25 years old, was also found guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition. After nearly 36 hours of deliberations, many were suspecting a possible mistrial; however, Hernandez was sentenced life in prison with no possibility of parole.
Hernandez is no stranger to trouble with the law. As a star football player at the University of Florida, he had minor infractions, but never anything as serious as murder. The Connecticut native actually had a very promising future during the time of the murder. After leading the Patriots to a Super Bowl appearance and eventual defeat to the New York Giants in 2012, Hernandez signed a $40 million contract extension.The Patriots released Hernandez in June 2013, as soon as he was arrested and chosen as a primary suspect in the murder of Odin Lloyd.
Prosecutors took just over two months to present their case, calling over 100 witnesses and arguing that Hernandez’s motive was that the victim was associated with enemies of Hernandez. The case was mostly circumstantial, with no murder weapon ever located and no eye witnesses. The defense’s presentation lasted only a day and included three witnesses. On the last day of the trial, Hernandez’s lawyer, James Sultan, acknowledged that his client was at the scene of the killing, but declared that two other men, who are being charged separately, committed the murder while high on PCP. That confession might have been the deal breaker for this particular jury.
Reports state that Hernandez shook his head in disbelief when the verdict dropped, while the families of the prosecutors and defendants shed tears. As Hernandez leaves his fiance and their two year old daughter alone in the $1.3 million home he purchased in 2012, his new home will be a maximum security reception center for new inmates. His new home, the Massachusetts Correctional Institution-Cedar Junction, is only four miles from Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots. The irony of where the jail is in location to where he once scored touchdowns is almost as unbelievable as the case itself. Rest in Peace to the victim and Rest in Peace to the football career of former All-American standout Aaron Hernandez.