On Wednesday, after six days of deliberation, jurors convicted former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez of murder in the first degree due to extreme cruelty and atrocity. As required by Massachusetts law, judge Susan Garsh sentenced Hernandez to life in prison without the opportunity for parole. Hernandez will serve at least the initial part of his sentence at MCI Cedar Junction Prison in Walpole, Mass., which is only a few miles from where Hernandez played Patriots home games at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.
The verdict followed a nine-week trial in which Bristol County (Mass.) called 131 witnesses and introduced more than 430 exhibits in its case-in-chief to prove that Hernandez was responsible for the murder of Odin Lloyd in an industrial park a mile from Hernandez’s home in North Attleboro (Mass.). Hernandez was accused of joining co-defendants Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz in picking up Lloyd at his Boston home early on Monday, June 17, 2013, and then driving Lloyd to the industrial park, where he was executed.
The verdict is an enormous victory for the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office and in particular lead prosecutor William McCauley. Along with assistant district attorney Phillip Bomberg, McCauley convinced jurors that Hernandez murdered Lloyd in spite of the absence of a murder weapon or a cooperating eyewitness. Jurors were also not presented with a compelling motive as to why Hernandez would have killed Lloyd, but as noted throughout the trial, motive is not a required element of murder.
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