Hernandez found not guilty in double-murder trial
Just one day shy of the two-year anniversary for his conviction in the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd, former New England Patriots star tight end Aaron Hernandez was acquitted of double-murder charges at the Suffolk Co. Courthouse early Friday afternoon in Boston.
Hernandez was found not guilty on six charges, but he was convicted for illegal possession of a firearm. Judge Jeffrey A. Locke sentenced Hernandez to four-to-five years in prison for carrying a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver.
The families of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, the two murder victims in a 2012 drive-by shooting in Boston’s Theatre District, burst into tears upon the announcement of the verdict. Several family members quickly left the courtroom. They remain without their loved ones and without justice.
Hernandez’s long-time fiancee and mother of his four-year-old daughter, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, nodded her approval while crying between two of her friends behind the victims’ families.
In a bit of surprise, Hernandez also started sobbing. When he was convicted for Lloyd’s murder, the stakes were much higher. His life was literally on the line. On that day, he did his best to not show emotion.
Hernandez was clearly crushed, but he spent more time looking back at his mother and fiancee, who were weeping uncontrollably, and mouthing the words, “stay strong.”
Hernandez doesn’t really win anything here. His lawyer, Jose Baez, is the real winner. He now adds another high-profile victory to his resume. Baez also earned an acquittal for a Florida mother, Casey Anthony, who was accused for the 2011 murder of her two-year-old daughter. Baez wasn’t in court to hear the verdict, reportedly due to a medical issue.
The jury came to a decision on its sixth day of deliberations that covered 36 hours. Did they get it wrong? Yes and no. I’m of the belief that Hernandez is the one who shot De Abreu and Furtado. However, our judicial system requires only that the defense create reasonable doubt.
And when your star witness is Alexander Bradley, a career drug and guns dealer who earned a master’s degree in crime and the nickname of ‘Rock’ (as in his fists put people to sleep like rocking a baby), there is plenty of doubt that anything coming out of his mouth is true.
Bradley was granted immunity and will finish a five-year bid in Connecticut and be a free man in the next couple of years. On the flip side, Hernandez still has a life sentence to serve without the possibility of parole for Lloyd’s murder. All Friday’s verdict did for him was pave the way for potential freedom if his lawyers can somehow win an appeal of his prior murder conviction.
As media members noted back on April 15 of 2015, there’s basically zero chance of that happening. Although Hernandez probably wishes he had Baez two years ago at his first murder trial, he can’t seek an appeal based on inadequate representation. His lawyers did an excellent job in the first trial; they simply didn’t have anything to work with because of Hernandez’s incompetence as a criminal.
Maybe Hernandez showed emotion and shed tears today because it hit him that’s it’s all over now?
In his first four years behind bars, he’s had multiple trials to look forward to. During these trials, he’s been on camera again like he was at Gillette Stadium in the NFL and at The Swamp in college.
Hernandez has been allowed to sport nice suits in court and feel like a human being again, casually interacting and sharing laughs with his defense team over the last two months. Hell, he was able to see his daughter in court and blow her a kiss just two days ago.
He knows his name has been out there being discussed (on twitter, at the barbershop, etc.) while standing trial for heinous crimes. In his twisted way of thinking, perhaps that allowed him to hang on to his stardom despite his presence in prison.
But ALL of that is over now. I mean, OVER! Hernandez may have earned an ever-so-slight victory today, but he’s still the unfathomable loser who threw it all away to play a gangster role. At the age of 27, Aaron Hernandez is still a convicted murderer and is still going to spend decades galore in prison without the possibility of parole.
And that’s why we finally saw him break down today. The money, the fame, the mansion, the TD catches, the supportive older brother, his daughter and his ride-or-die woman, they’re all gone now.
They can visit him, but the Massachusetts correctional system doesn’t allow conjugal visits. He can only hug Shayanna and his daughter briefly while prison officials are right next to them. Hernandez can re-visit all of his TD catches in his mind, he can dream of what he might’ve said in a Hall-of-Fame speech that might have been in his future and he can wish that he could attend his daughter’s graduation and wedding.
But he won’t be a part of any of that. Aaron Hernandez will simply live the rest of his life locked up with the keys thrown away. That’s the path he chose.
It is without question the most catastrophic fall from grace by an athlete in modern sports history. It’s all just a damn shame, and it’s all Aaron Hernandez’s fault.
What a waste.