Former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez was found guilty after more than 30 hours of deliberations in the shooting death of Odin Lloyd. Hernandez, 25, was also found guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.

“They got it wrong,” Hernandez said as he was being transported from the courthouse to a state prison.

Lloyd was described at trial as a former semi-pro football player who was Aaron Hernandez’s future brother-in-law.  He was also described by the defense as Hernandez’s drug dealer.

“Odin was my only son,” his mother, Ursula Ward, told the court during her victim impact statement, “I thank God every second for every day I spent with my son. The day I laid my son Odin to rest, I think my heart stopped beating for a moment…”

She described Odin as the “backbone of the family”.  She expressed regret she’d never see him have a child or get married.

“I forgive the hands of the people that had a hand in my son’s murder, either before or after. And I pray and hope that someday, everyone up there will forgive them also.”

Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn said after court, “I think it’s a tremendous compliment to her.  As difficult as it is for people in the end, forgiveness is what it’s about, if people can bring themselves to that point.”

“Aaron Hernandez may have been a well-known New England Patriots football player. However, in the end, the jury found that he was just a man who committed a brutal murder.  The fact that he was a professional athlete meant nothing in the end. He is a citizen who was held accountable…”

Quinn also said he’s not sure if it has hit Hernandez yet, the magnitude of life in prison. Aaron Hernandez’s mother and fiancée weeped after the verdict and sentence. Some of the jury members spoke to the media after the verdict and sentence.  The jury was made up of 7 women and 5 men.

Some of the jury members didn’t know that Robert Kraft, who testified during the trial, was the Patriots owner, but they said that this testimony was a turning point. Kraft testified that Hernandez proclaimed his innocence and told the team owner that “he hoped that the time of the murder…came out because I believe he said he was in a club.”

One of the jurors said, “To this day — we just went through a three-month trial, and this is now two years later — we still don’t know the exact time of Odin’s murder.  So I don’t know how Aaron would have had that information…”

Hernandez was taken to a maximum-security reception center for new inmates, Massachusetts Correctional Institution-Cedar Junction, just 4 miles from the Patriots’ stadium. His trial started in late January just a few days before the Patriots Super Bowl victory over the Seattle Seahawks in the midst of a harsh winter.

Prosecutors said Lloyd was last seen on June 17, 2013 around 2:30 a.m. with Hernandez, Carlos Ortiz, and Ernest Wallace (who both also face charges in the case), in a rented silver Nissan Altima.  Later that day, Lloyd’s body was found. Prosecutors built their case on the portrayal of Hernandez that he felt “disrespected” by Lloyd and often insecure about his fame, believing that others should feel grateful for him giving them attention. Prosecutors also said that Ortiz and Wallace were his longtime friends and that he had control over them.

“These guys…will do whatever he wants,” the prosecutor said during closing arguments.

Prosecutors never established a clear motive in the killing, insinuated instead that Lloyd may have said something or did something that Hernandez didn’t like.  They said Hernandez rounded up some friends and orchestrated the killing to settle the score. The murder weapon was never recovered, but prosecutors said they believe that Shayanna Jenkins, Hernandez’s fiancée, disposed of it.  Jenkins testified that Hernandez asked her to get rid of a box, but that she didn’t know what was in it.  The defense contended that there were drugs in the box. After concealing the box with her daughter’s clothing, Jenkins said she threw it away in “a random dumpster” but could not remember where.

The defense argued that Hernandez knew about the murder and who did it, but “really didn’t know what to do” so he just moved on with his life.

Lloyd, who was working for a landscaping firm at the time of his murder, played football for the Boston Bandits, the oldest semi-pro team in Boston and the winner of four championships in the New England Football League

Wallace and Ortiz, who were also charged with murder, have pleaded not guilty.

“Just like God has left his footprint in the sand, my baby’s footprint is in my heart forever,” Ward said.

Hernandez still faces double murder charges in Boston, as well as civil lawsuits.

Prosecutors in Boston say that Hernandez killed two men: Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, after one of them accidentally bumped into him and spilled Hernandez’s drink at a nightclub. Hernandez told a friend he thought the man was “trying” him, and surveillance video outside the club showed Hernandez pacing back and forth while his friend tried to calm him down.  Hernandez has pled not guilty.

After the men left the club, they were gunned down while stopped at a traffic light.  A third man in their car also was shot but survived.  This case has been delayed indefinitely.


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