FALL RIVER (CBS/AP) — The jury in the trial of Aaron Hernandez found the former New England Patriots tight end guilty of first-degree murder Wednesday in the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd.
He will now spend the rest of his life in prison.READ MORE: Vigil Held For Capitol Police Officer Billy Evans In Hometown Of North Adams
Jurors had deliberated more than 35 hours since last week before reaching their decision around 10 a.m.
Watch Judge E. Susan Garsh Read Guilty Verdict
Hernandez, 25, looked to his right and pursed his lips after the jury forewoman read the verdict.
His mother, Terri, and his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins, cried and gasped.
Shayanna Jenkins wept on his mother’s shoulder. Hernandez later mouthed to them: “Be strong. Be strong.”
He was also found guilty on both firearm and ammunition charges.
The Patriots did not comment on the verdict.
LIFE IN PRISON
Because he was convicted of first-degree murder, Hernandez was automatically sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
He also received 3-to-5 years for gun possession and one year for possession of ammunition.
Hernandez left the courtroom in handcuffs and shackles and was sent to MCI Cedar Junction in Walpole, which is just 3.4 miles from Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.
He arrived at the prison just before 1:30 p.m.
Hernandez will eventually be transferred to Souza-Baranowski maximum security prison in Shirley.
A first-degree murder conviction in Massachusetts also automatically triggers an appeal to the Supreme Judicial Court. A date for the Hernandez appeal wasn’t immediately set.
LLOYD FAMILY STATEMENTS
Lloyd’s mother, Ursula Ward, read a victim impact statement before Hernandez was formally sentenced.
“I will never get to dance at his wedding,” she told the court.READ MORE: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Today's Developments
“I will never get to hear him say ‘Mom, you’re so beautiful.”
Odin Lloyd’s sister, cousin and uncle then gave statements, thanking everyone for the support given to their family.
Outside court, Ursala Ward spoke briefly to reporters, smiling, saying “My son Odin was the most precious gift in my life. I’m going to miss his smile.” She refused to take any questions.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Bernice Corpuz reports:
After Hernandez left the courthouse, the entire jury met with the media.
One juror told reporters, “We did the right thing.”
They wouldn’t discuss the nature of their deliberations, but noted there were many tears in the jury room.
In their verdict form, they found that Hernandez used “extreme atrocity or cruelty” in killing Lloyd. One juror cited the fact that Lloyd was shot six times in helping him make that determination.
The forewoman had a message for the Lloyd family, saying “We know this verdict will not bring him back, but we hope it brings you peace and some closure.”
Jurors said the testimony of Patriots owner Robert Kraft was compelling to them, particularly because he said Hernandez told him he was at a nightclub at the time of the murder.
When asked how the trial had changed their lives, one replied, “It makes you appreciate how quick life can end.”
Judge Susan Garsh spoke to the jury privately after they rendered their verdict and told them other allegations against Hernandez that were not allowed to be brought up in court.
Those included two 2012 murders that Hernandez is charged in and the last text Lloyd sent minutes before he died that said he was “with NFL.”
The jurors said the information reaffirmed their feeling that they’d made the right decision.
Hernandez had pleaded not guilty to killing Lloyd, who was found shot to death in an industrial park less than a mile from Hernandez’s home in June 2013. Lloyd was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to the murders in Boston, where he is accused of the drive-by killing of two men in the South End in July 2012. Prosecutors say he felt disrespected after one of the men bumped into him and spilled his drink.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Doug Cope reports:MORE NEWS: Mass. To Receive Significantly Less Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccine Doses Next Week
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