A jury found Aaron Hernandez guilty of murder in the first degree for the 2013 shooting death of Odin Lloyd, ending forever his life of NFL fame and fortune.
A Bristol County jury of seven women and five men deliberated for 36 hours over seven days before reaching a unanimous verdict on the former New England Patriots star. They said the murder rose to first degree due to Hernandez acting with extreme atrocity or cruelty. The conviction carries a sentence of automatic life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Hernandez, 25, stood stone-faced as the verdict was read, only to collapse into a chair as the guilty charges piled on. Behind him, his fiancée Shayanna Jenkins wept uncontrollably on the shoulder of Teri Hernandez, Aaron’s mother. Lloyd’s family, who during the trial made a daily pilgrimage to this old mill town 50 miles south of Boston, wept and embraced as the verdict was read.
This is a tragic end to what could have been an outstanding life and career. It’s also a lesson about associating with the wrong people. Wealth, testosterone and youth can be a deadly mix. One or two wrong choices and lives can end literally and figuratively (see: Len Bias).
The NFL tries to mitigate this with training for rookies, but it’s something that is still far beyond its control. Unless, of course, it assigns personal monitors to all of its players. Never put anything past Roger Goodell.