Aaron Hernandez Convicted of Murder

     FALL RIVER, Mass. (CN) – Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez faces life without parole after a jury found him guilty Wednesday of murdering Odin Lloyd.
     The verdict on the first-degree murder and two weapons charges against Hernandez comes after nine weeks of trial and 35.5 hours of deliberations.
     During his closing statement, Hernandez’s attorney said Hernandez, 25, had witnessed Lloyd being shot six times in an industrial park on June 17, 2013, but was not the person who pulled the trigger.
     Hernandez’s defense hinged on blaming two friends, 29-year-old Carlos Ortiz and 43-year-old Ernest Wallace, who were also with him and Lloyd in the moments before Lloyd was gunned down.
     Ortiz and Wallace were also arrested for the murder; they both pleaded not guilty and will be tried separately.
     Hernandez’s fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins, 25, with whom he has a 2-year-old daughter, introduced Hernandez to Lloyd, her sister’s boyfriend. Though prosecutors had charged Jenkins with disposing of evidence and perjury based on her statements to a grand jury, she testified in Hernandez’s trial and received immunity.
     The only information Jenkins offered in her testimony was that Hernandez asked her to remove a box from their North Attleborough mansion, and that she stopped along the way to go to an ATM and get “baby stuff.”
     Her testimony was otherwise completely devoid of details, including exactly where she went and in what order. Upon cross-examination, she offered up that the box smelled of marijuana.
     Jenkins’ sister, Shaneah, also testified, stating that Lloyd and Hernandez were not friends and that, aside from the weekend of his death, the two men never hung out without the sisters present.
     For the duration of the trial, Shaneah sat with Lloyd’s mother, Ursula Ward, while Shayanna sat with Hernandez’s mother and older brother.
     Hernandez’s cousin, Tanya Singleton, 37, also pleaded not guilty to criminal contempt and conspiracy to commit accessory after refusing to testify before a grand jury. Prosecutors say Singleton drove Wallace to Georgia after Lloyd’s murder and then bought him a bus ticket to South Florida after her car broke down.
     Hernandez still faces separate murder charges in Suffolk County in connection to the 2012 shooting in Boston’s South End of Daniel Abreu, 28, and Safiro Furtado, 29.
     Prosecutors say Hernandez followed the two men and their three friends after they left the club Cure because they did not apologize for spilling Hernandez’s drink when one of them bumped into him.
     Hernandez allegedly pulled up next to their car at a stoplight and opened fire.
     The three survivors filed three counts of armed assault with the intent to murder and one count of assault and battery.
     Hernandez faces civil claims with regard to that incident as well. The families of the slain are each seeking $6 million, but the trial was delayed indefinitely in November
     2014 for Hernandez’s attorneys to prepare for the Lloyd trial.
     Weeks after the double homicide, the New England Patriots signed Hernandez to a $40 million, five-year deal.

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