Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder for the 2013 shooting of his friend Odin L Lloyd on 15 April. Hernandez, who was found guilty by a seven-woman and five-man jury, was sentenced to life without parole under Massachusetts state law.
Jurors took seven days to deliberate and ultimately found that the 25-year-old was guilty by "reason of extreme atrocity or cruelty," Boston Globe reported. Hernandez remained stoic as the verdict was read, although he did look at his fiancée and mother in the gallery.
According to the Globe, Hernandez and two accomplices picked up 27-year-old Lloyd on the night of 17 June 2013, telling him they would party together. The three men instead took the victim to an industrial park near Hernandez's home in North Attleborough. There, Hernandez shot Lloyd several times using a .45-caliber Glock pistol. Two shots to Lloyd's chest would kill the semi-professional American football player.
The widely discussed trial lasted 10 weeks and included testimony from 132 prosecution witnesses. Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Hernandez's fiancée Shayanna Jenkins and Hernandez's former friend were among the prosecution's list of witnesses. According to the Globe, Hernandez's defence only called on three witnesses. The former NFL player did not testify.
Hernandez's accomplices, identified as Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, also face separate trials for first-degree murder. Meanwhile, Jenkins faces a perjury charge connected to the case. The convicted murderer's financée testified, after being granted immunity, that Hernandez had ordered her to remove a box from the couple's home and to provide money to one of his associates.
Authorities believe the murder weapon, which was never found, was in the box. Prosecutors were forced to build a circumstantial case against Hernandez in which they argued that he appeared to be angry with Lloyd just two nights before the murder and that he may have panicked that Lloyd knew of his infidelities.
Meanwhile, the defence painted a different picture of the two friends, saying there was no compelling motive for Hernandez to kill Lloyd and that the two were "future brothers-in-law". Lloyd was dating Jenkins's sister Shaneah at the time of his murder.
Hernandez also faces first-degree murder charges in the July 2012 deaths of Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado in Boston. According to the Globe, he will face trial for those charges later this year.