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Aaron Hernandez Found Guilty of First-Degree Murder, Faces Life in Prison

A jury has found former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez guilty of murder in the first degree in the 2013 slaying of Odin Lloyd. The charge carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Lloyd, a semi-professional football player, had been dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancée at the time. He was 27 years old when Hernandez, 25, shot him multiple times in an industrial park in North Attleborough, Massachusetts. The trial lasted two and a half months, and the jury deliberated for 35 hours.

Lloyd’s mother, Ursula Ward, spoke briefly after the verdict was announced. “I felt my heart stop beating for a moment,” she said. “I felt like I wanted to go into the hole with my son, Odin.”

The prosecution built an extensive, meticulous case, with more than 100 witnesses providing testimony, including Patriots owner Robert Kraft. The murder weapon was never found and there were no eyewitnesses, but the circumstantial evidence proved plenty strong enough for the seven-woman, five-man jury to convict the onetime rising star athlete. Judge E. Susan Garsh handed down the sentence of life in prison soon after the verdict was read.

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