Aaron Hernandez found guilty, sentenced to life in prison
Published on Wednesday, 4/15/15, at 3:48 p.m. Eastern.
After deliberating for 36 hours over the course of seven days, a jury of seven women and five men announced their verdict this morning at 10:21 a.m. Eastern in Fall River, Mass.
Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.
Guilty on all counts, including first-degree murder.
Aaron Hernandez has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of Odin Lloyd.
When the verdict was read, Hernandez’s mother and fiancee wept uncontrollably in each other’s arms. Hernandez stood emotionless as the guilty charges piled up. Upon encouragement from one of his well-paid lawyers, he sat down as charge after charge was announced.
Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.
Hernandez looked back at his mother and fiancee and mouthed, “stay strong, stay strong.” At one point, he mouthed to the jury, “you’re wrong.”
According to ESPN legal analyst Roger Cossack, Hernandez’s chances on appeal are basically zero. If anything, Hernandez caught breaks galore in terms of the judge’s rulings during the trial.
The jury wasn’t allowed to see the content contained in the text messages Lloyd sent to his sister just minutes before being shot six times. That content included this, “NFL, just so you know.” Also, Hernandez’s “prior bad acts” were left out of the trial.
And there were plenty of those. He allegedly shot Alexander Bradley in the face and left him to die by the side of the road in South Fla. several months before Lloyd’s murder. Less than a month before he signed a $40 million contract with the New England Patriots in 2012, Hernandez stands indicted for a double-murder that he’ll face a trial for later this year.
That murder case is considered to be much stronger than the one he’s already been convicted for. There are multiple witnesses, including survivors and Bradley, who are poised to testify that they saw Hernandez unload his gun on a car with heinous intent.
How Hernandez got to this point will baffle all until the end of time. He was the best tight end to ever wear a uniform at the University of Florida, playing a major role in the Gators’ 2008 BCS Championship win over Oklahoma.
His future was so bright he needed multiple pairs of shades. He had a huge contract, a sprawling mansion, a young child and a quarterback named Tom Brady. Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski formed the NFL’s best combination of tight ends and their careers were just getting started.
Instead of focusing on football in the summer of 2013, Hernandez was busy packing heat, burning weed and smoking PCP while hanging out with low-life drug dealers like his co-conspirators, who will stand trial for Lloyd’s murder in separate trials later this year.
Hernandez caught a touchdown pass from Brady in Super Bowl XLVI. He could have caught more TDs when the Pats won the Super Bowl less than three months ago. Instead, he was facing murder charges in a trial that started just days before New England beat Seattle for the organization’s fourth title on Bill Belichick’s watch.
Aaron’s older brother, D.J. Hernandez, is a graduate assistant on Kirk Ferentz’s staff at Iowa. When asked about the situation, Ferentz had this to say about D.J.: “All you can do is lend support. It’s a very tough thing for D.J. to go through. D.J.’s a tremendous young man, had a great career at the University of Connecticut and was a very unselfish player there, a two-time captain, a very good student. There’s just a lot of things that happen in life that are very tough to explain — and I’m not sure anybody can explain this one. Certainly, it’s been a tough period for him.”
Ursula Ward, Lloyd’s mother, was a pillar of strength throughout a trial that featured 135 witnesses over 41 days. She made the 50-mile drive to Fall River, a small mill town south of Boston, every single day, often wearing her son’s favorite color purple.
After Hernandez’s sentencing, Ward was given the opportunity to address the court. She said, “The day I laid my son Odin to rest, I felt my heart stop beating for a moment. I felt like I wanted to go into that hole with my son, Odin.
“… I forgive the hands of the people who had a hand in my son’s murder, even before or after, and I pray and hope that someday everyone out there will forgive them also.”
This is the damage Hernandez has left behind. There’s compelling evidence that he’s murdered three people. He allegedly tried to murder Bradley and there were three others in the car that survived the double homicide.
Society is safer with Aaron Hernandez behind bars. The dude was so far out of control that he murdered Lloyd, who was the boyfriend of his fiancee’s little sister (Shaneah Jenkins), who now has an “estranged” relationship with AH’s Baby Mama (Shayanna Jenkins), according to Shayanna’s testimony in the murder trial.
Shayanna is left as a single mother who won’t have a handsome income in the future like she enjoyed while Hernandez was in the NFL. She was loyal to her man, but it cost her a future relationship with her sister.
To complete one of the most shocking and disgusting falls from grace of any American athlete not named Orenthal James Simpson, Hernandez was ushered away from Fall River one final time in a paddy wagon while hecklers jeered him.
His destination was a ‘big house’ just 1.5 miles from Gillette Stadium, where the crowd once roared approval in his honor. He’ll remain there for several months before being sent to Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Lancaster, Mass. That’s a maximum-security prison from which nobody has EVER escaped.
The 25-year-old who had it all was on his way back to jail. This time, it’s for real. This time, Hernandez is going to jail for the duration of his natural-born life.