After six days of deliberation a jury has found former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez guilty of first degree murder in the killing of Odin Lloyd. Hernandez, who was also convicted of several lesser charges, will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
In June 2013 Lloyd's body was found at an industrial park shot not far from Hernandez's home; he had been shot six times. Despite never being able to find a murder weapon to link to the crime the prosecution was able to make the case that Hernandez was not only at the scene of the crime, a fact that the defense admitted, but that he had killed Lloyd. The prosecution used almost two months and over 100 witnesses in order to make their case while the defense called a mere three witnesses and rested after one day, according to The New York Times.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft testified that Hernandez has told him that he was not guilty of the murder because he was in a club at the time of the crime. Jurors have said that they questioned how Hernandez could have known the time of the murder if he was not involved in the killing.
Well before the case came to trial Hernandez's tattoos were brought up by law enforcement as possible evidence linking the former NFL star to gang activity. It was announced that prosecutors were even seeking to contact the artists behind some of his tattoos as potential witnesses, although when it came time for the trial no tattoo artists were ever brought on the stand.
Many of Hernandez's former teammates reacted to the verdict on Twitter. David Nelson, a wide receiver who played with Hernandez at Florida, seemed shocked.
"I just can't wrap my head around this," Nelson tweeted. "For the first time, it's real. That's not the kid I knew. I just can't understand it..."
Maurice Clarett, a former Ohio State star who has spent some time in jail in the past, also weighed in.
"Aaron Hernandez is trying to hold it together right now," Clarett tweeted. "It's gone (sic) hurt when he goes back to his cell. I know the feeling."