Former NFL Player Aaron Hernandez Found Guilty of Murder
By Jackie Willis
Aaron Hernandez was found guilty on Wednesday in the murder of Odin Lloyd.
A judge ruled that the former 25-year-old NFL pro will serve a life sentence and is not eligible for parole after being convicted of a first-degree murder in Massachusetts. The jury deliberated for seven days before revealing their verdict.
In addition, Hernandez was given a 3-5 year sentence behind bars on related ammunition and weapons charges.
On June 17, 2013, Lloyd was found shot six times in the middle of the night near an industrial park by Hernandez's North Attenborough home. Hernandez -- who once had a $40 million contract with the New England Patriots, according to ESPN -- was taken into custody by police after the key to his rented car was found in Lloyd's pocket.
Once the verdict was revealed, Hernandez's fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins, was weeping on the shoulder of his mother, Terri, who was also in tears, ESPN reports. Hernandez was seen mouthing to them, "Be strong. Be strong."
After the verdict went public, Hernandez's former Patriots teammate Brandon Spikes tweeted: "I'M CONFUSED ABOUT THE JUSTICE SYSTEM THESE DAYS!!!"
IM CONFUSED ABOUT THE JUSTICE SYSTEM THESE DAYS !!!
When the sentencing was over, Lloyd's family gave emotional statements to the court. "Odin was my only son," Lloyd's mother, Ursula Ward, said (via People). "The day I laid my son to rest, I felt like I wanted to go into the hole with my son, Odin."
Ward continued, "I will never get to have grandchildren from my son. I will never get to dance at his wedding. I will never again get to hear him say, 'Ma, you're beautiful, I love you.'"
The victim's sister, Olivia Thibou, also spoke. "At the age of 25, I was asked to write my brother's eulogy," she said. "It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life."
Lloyd's mother concluded by saying that she has forgiven her son's killer. "I forgive the hands of the people who had a hand in my son's murder," she said. "I pray and hope that someday, other people will forgive them also."
Hernandez has further legal woes ahead of him. He is also accused of gunning down two men in a drive-by shooting after what some say was over a spilled drink at a nightclub. The former pro athlete has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and no trial date has been announced.