Aaron Hernandez Found Guilty of First-Degree Murder: Latest Verdict Details

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 15, 2015

Dominick Reuter/AP Images

After a lengthy trial, former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was found guilty Wednesday of first-degree murder in the 2013 shooting death of former semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd. 

Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel announced the verdict, while ESPN's Michele Steele provided details from the courtroom: 

Dan Wetzel @DanWetzel

Aaron Hernandez found guilty of first degree murder, automatic life sentence without possibility of parole

Dan Wetzel @DanWetzel

Hernandez sat down after verdict, shook head. Tears on all sides. Hernandez mom and fiancée hugging and crying

Dan Wetzel @DanWetzel

Court officers put cuffs on Hernandez. All over for him.

Michele Steele @ESPNMichele

Hernandez guilty on all counts - fiancée is sobbing, Lloyd family is also emotional

Michele Steele @ESPNMichele

Hernandez mouths "be strong" to his fiancée

Roland Martin of TV One passed along Hernandez's reaction to the verdict:

rolandsmartin @rolandsmartin

BREAKING NEWS: Aaron Hernandez mouths to the jury, “Wrong,” and shakes his head. He will NEVER see freedom again.

Michael McCann of Sports Illustrated reported that Hernandez was officially sentenced to life in prison for the murder charge and three-and-a-half years for the weapons charge:

Michael McCann @McCannSportsLaw

Aaron Hernandez formally sentenced to prison for life. He also gets 3.5 years for firearms. This matters if AH wins on murder charge appeal.

Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post noted that it is a 3.7-mile drive to Gillette Stadium from MCI Cedar Junction in Walpole, where Hernandez will serve his sentence.

Per Fox Sports, Hernandez and two associates were believed to be involved in the June 17, 2013, murder of Lloyd in an industrial park in North Attleborough, Massachusetts.

Hernandez was arrested on June 26, 2013, and he had been held without bail ever since. With the guilty verdict coming down, that won't change unless the defense's appeal is successful.

As Steele pointed out, the appeals process is automatic in Massachusetts:

Michele Steele @ESPNMichele

Clarification: in Massachusetts, there is an AUTOMATIC appeal for a capital crime

Hernandez maintained his innocence throughout the trial, but the jury ultimately decided there was enough evidence to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Following the announcement of the guilty verdict, the jury spoke in a group, refusing to answer if they thought Hernandez was the man who fired the gun that killed Lloyd and saying they were shocked the defense team admitted he was at the crime scene, via Lisa Kraus Edwards and the Boston Globe.

The 25-year-old Bristol, Connecticut, native's defense team didn't seem to think that was the case based on its lack of witnesses, according to Michael McCann of Sports Illustrated:

Michael McCann @McCannSportsLaw

If Aaron Hernandez's defense only puts on one witness, that signals his lawyers believe the prosecution failed to prove its case to jurors.

Hernandez's defense confirmed that belief when it filed a motion asking the court to find Hernandez not guilty, again via Steele:

Michele Steele @ESPNMichele

Hernandez lawyers file motion for court to find him "not guilty" based on the following: http://t.co/FALlwSa5PA

In addition to entering his not-guilty plea, Hernandez proclaimed his innocence to those close to him. That included Patriots owner Robert Kraft, as reported by ESPNNewYork.com's Jane McManus:

Jane McManus @janesports

Robert Kraft asked Aaron Hernandez to look him in the eye, asked if he was involved in murder. Hernandez told Kraft he was innocent. #NFL

Hernandez's fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins, also revealed that Hernandez denied responsibility for Lloyd's death:

Michele Steele @ESPNMichele

Fiance: "When Aaron got home from the police station...I asked if he did it, he said no and that was the extent of our conversation"

Jenkins was a key witness for the prosecution because of her involvement with Hernandez and also because of the claim she may have gotten rid of the murder weapon.

Per Steele, the prosecution believed Hernandez sent Jenkins a coded message, leading to the disposal of a gun:

Michele Steele @ESPNMichele

Prosecutors want to ask about what they say was a coded text to fiancé to dump gun, defense wants to forbid Q http://t.co/y7VN8sFWJC

Despite Hernandez's defense team's insistence that the prosecution did not do enough to prove guilt, the jury felt differently.

Also, Hernandez is still facing double-murder charges in Boston for the 2012 deaths of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, per Ben Volin of The Boston Globe:

Ben Volin @BenVolin

Hernandez still faces two more first-degree murder charges from a 2012 double killing in Boston's South End

While this verdict brings some semblance of closure to the case, there is a long road ahead before it reaches its true conclusion.

As things currently stand, though, Hernandez is set to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.


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