While he is already serving a life sentence for a 2013 murder, today a jury came back with the Aaron Hernandez verdict from a separate double-murder case. ESPN reported that the jury deliberated for six days and returned with a not guilty verdict for the former New England Patriots football star.
The Aaron Hernandez verdict comes as little surprise as the jury was deadlocked on Wednesday and Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Locke ordered them to return until a verdict of guilty or not guilty was found. They returned today with the not guilty verdict for the first-degree murder charges in the deaths of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado.
However, the jury did find Aaron Hernandez guilty of one charge of unlawful possession of a gun. Hernandez was already sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Odin Lloyd and the judge added an additional four to five years in prison for the additional guilty charge.
Aaron has no possibility of parole in the original case, so the four to five years means little as does the actual not guilty verdict in this case. However, the Boston Herald reports that the guilty verdict in the Lloyd murder is under appeal and this verdict leaves open the chance he could get out of his life sentence if that works out for him.
This not guilty verdict did mean something to the families of the victims of the double murder. Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said that the families of the deceased men were “devastated” because they were portrayed as “drug dealers” and “gang bangers” by the Aaron Hernandez defense team.
“These were two hardworking, humble, Cape Verdean immigrants. It was unnecessary and it was wrong, and it shouldn’t have been done. One of the victims’ relatives said, ‘At least he’s not walking out the door today.'”
The main reason for the Aaron Hernandez verdict was due to the fact that the defense team blamed the murders on the witnesses in the case. The jury returned to the courtroom and asked the judge about the laws concerning immunized witnesses.
One of the witnesses in the double-murder case was Alexander Bradley, a friend of Aaron Hernandez who was promised immunization in exchange for his testimony. The Boston Globe reported that when asked about the laws concerning immunized witnesses, Judge Locke said that they could not convict Aaron Hernandez of the double-murder based solely on the testimony of an immunized witness.
Alexander Bradley is serving a five-year sentence at this time for firing shots in a Harford nightclub back in 2014. It was Bradley that said that Aaron Hernandez became enraged when de Abreu spilled a drink on him and opened fire on their car later that night.
The defense team painted a picture of a desperate prosecution who was putting up “smoke and mirrors.” Defense attorney Ronald Sullivan Jr. remarked that the only thing that Aaron Hernandez was guilty of was hanging out “with a very bad guy in Alexander Bradley.”
Despite the defense claiming that it was Bradley who committed the murders, the prosecution said they have no intention of trying Bradley for the murders after the Aaron Hernandez verdict. Daniel Conley said they believe all evidence points to Hernandez despite the verdict.
Jury forewoman Lindsey Stringer read a statement after the Aaron Hernandez verdict. The jury stated that there were over 70 witnesses and 380 exhibits presented in the case and they based the not guilty verdict on the evidence presented and the law.
Interestingly, one of the attorneys on the Aaron Hernandez defense team was Jose Baez, someone who is best known for earning Casey Anthony’s acquittal in the case concerning the death of her daughter.
[Featured Image by Keith Bedford/The Boston Globe/AP Images]