Aaron Hernandez has been convicted of first degree murder for the shooting of Odin Lloyd in June 2013. Lloyd was dating Hernandez’s fiancee’s sister at the time.
NBC News reports that the 25-year-old athlete “shook his head” slightly during the verdict reading in court earlier today (April 14), as his mother and fiancee broke down in tears.
The Massachusetts jury deliberated for seven days before making this decision, which results in an automatic life sentence in prison with no possibility for parole unless there are “unusual circumstances.”
Hernandez was labeled a “promising” NFL star just before his arrest, landing a $40 million contract with the New England Patriots as their tight end.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft testified during the trial that Hernandez had told him he was innocent.
Surveillance video from Hernandez’s home showed him holding “what appeared to be a gun” in the industrial park where 27-year-old Lloyd was shot six times and killed. DNA from both men was found on a joint lying near Lloyd’s body. The gun was never found.
Legal experts claimed throughout the case that the evidence was mainly circumstantial, and that no clear motive was present.
Shayanna Jenkins, Hernandez’s fiancee testified that he called her the day after the murder and asked her to remove a large box from the basement, which she disposed of without looking inside.
Hernandez’s defense insisted that their client was present during the murder, but that his friends Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz had been the ones the commit the act.
Hernandez will be tried again in Boston later this year for an unrelated incident; he’s charged with shooting and killing two men outside a nightclub.