Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez has been found guilty of first degree murder.

On 14 April 2015, a Massachusetts jury convicted the 25-year-old of murdering Odin Lloyd in June 2013.

According to TMZ, Hernandez began shaking his head in disbelief when the verdict was read out, and at one point, reportedly turned to his fiancé and mouthed the words "be strong".

In addition to the murder charge, the football player was found guilty of illegal gun possession and illegal ammunition possession.

Hernandez has reportedly received an automatic life sentence and could be refused parole.

During the trial, prosecutors argued that Hernandez and two of his friends, Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace, were seen driving a rented Nissan Altima with Lloyd in the vehicle. The landscaper's body, riddled with gunshots, was found in an industrial park by a jogger later that day.

Ortiz and Wallace have pleaded not guilty to their murder charges and will be tried separately.

Hernandez denied killing Lloyd and his defence attorney, James Sultan, argued that the semi-pro footballer only "witnessed" the murder which was "committed by somebody he knew", but instead chose to move on with his life.

The athlete also faces an additional two murder charges in Boston due to evidence found in the Lloyd case.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to these charges and although the trial is expected to commence in May 2015, officials now say it will most likely be delayed.