FALL RIVER, Mass. (CN) - The jury in the Aaron Hernandez murder trial began its deliberations after closing statements ended with the defense claiming Hernandez's friends are the perpetrators, while the prosecution painted Hernandez as a controlling, irritable psychopath.
"He was a 23-year-old kid who had witnessed something: a shocking killing, committed by someone he knew. He really didn't know what to do," Hernandez's attorney said.
Prosecutors told the jury to keep the focus on the star and his domineering personality.
"Ask yourself who's in control," the prosecutor said.
The defense called three witnesses and rested its case in a single day on Monday.
Meanwhile, the prosecution took nine weeks and presented 131 witnesses to support their claim that the 25-year-old former New England Patriots tight end is a murderer.
Hernandez pleaded not guilty for the June 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd, who was shot six times at an industrial park less than a mile from Hernandez's North Attleborough home. The men knew each other through their girlfriends, who are sisters.
"Our client, Aaron Hernandez, thanks you," attorney James Sultan told the jurors speaking to all the "incredible attention" they'd given and the sacrifices they'd made over the past nine weeks. He called awareness to the man, the celebrity, accused of murder and spent the rest of his time with the jury highlighting the holes in the prosecution's argument, starting with a lack of motive.
"Obviously, they were friends," Sultan said of Hernandez and Lloyd. "They were future brothers-in-law."
Referring to his notes frequently, Sultan reminded the jurors of the sloppy police work surrounding the investigation.
"They fixated on Aaron, right from the start, and that's where this investigation went wrong," he said.
The lawyer then held up a photo of a shell casing attached to a wad of chewed blue bubble gum, which police found in a dumpster at the Enterprise Rent-A-Car location where Hernandez dropped off the car Lloyd was last seen getting into. He called the casing "the centerpiece of their forensic case."
"This picture tells you everything you need to know about the investigation," he continued, pages of notes rustling in his left hand, as he detailed how police decided to separate the gum from the shell and then sent the shell off to a DNA expert without disclosing its original state - which would have rendered both items tainted.
"They snookered the DNA expert, just like they tried to snooker you," Sultan continued, noting that prosecutors never tested the bubble gum for DNA.
"That's not science. It's scary. And it's not proof beyond a reasonable doubt," the attorney said.
Lloyd's mother, Ursula Ward, sat with her arms crossed as she listened to Sultan say that the "diabolic plan hatched, orchestrated and carried out" by Hernandez to kill Lloyd - which prosecutors used as the foundation for their case - simply did not exist.
"They have a theory. They have a story. They haven't proven it," Sultan said.
He addressed the mysterious box that Hernandez had his fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins, smuggle out of the house and make disappear, the box that prosecutors said held the murder weapon.
"Evidence points in a very different direction," Sultan said. "Hernandez smokes a lot of marijuana, all the time. So, there you go. Shayanna testified that the box smelled of marijuana."