Ex-NFL star Hernandez gets life in prison for 2013 killing
By Elizabeth Barber
FALL RIVER, Mass. (Reuters) - Former National Football League star Aaron Hernandez was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday for murdering an acquaintance in an industrial park near his Massachusetts home, concluding the first of two murder trials he faces this year.
A Massachusetts jury found Hernandez, 25, guilty of first-degree murder in the June 2013 slaying of Odin Lloyd, who had been dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancée at the time. During the trial in Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, the two men were described as having been in the early stages of friendship, but Hernandez soured on Lloyd after he hung out with people the former New England Patriots tight end disliked.
After the jury announced the verdict, Massachusetts Superior Court Associate Justice Susan Garsh sentenced Hernandez to life in prison without the possibility of parole, the mandatory punishment for first-degree murder in the state.
Hernandez, who had stood to hear the jury's decision, collapsed into his chair after the verdict was read, and court security officers handcuffed him. His mother and fiancée, who were in court, broke into tears.
Members of Lloyd's family welcomed the verdict but said the pain of losing Lloyd would linger.
"I felt like I wanted to go into the hole with my son, Odin. I will never have a grandchild from my son, or grandchildren. I will never get to dance at his wedding," Lloyd's mother, Ursula Ward, told reporters.
The Patriots cut Hernandez, a rising star with a $41 million contract, hours after his arrest on June 26, 2013, nine days after a teenage jogger found Lloyd's body.
The highly publicized case was another black eye for the NFL. The United States' most profitable sports league was already facing a lawsuit by former players who contend it ignored the concussion risks they faced on the gridiron and criticism for its handling of cases involving domestic violence by players. Continued...