Latest on Aaron Hernandez verdict: Victim's family grateful

AP News
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Posted: Apr 15, 2015 3:34 PM
Latest on Aaron Hernandez verdict: Victim's family grateful

1:35 P.M.

The family of the man killed by former NFL star Aaron Hernandez has thanked people from around the world who sent cards and flowers and reached out on social media.

Odin Lloyd's sister, Olivia Thibou, said Wednesday that prosecutors in the murder trial were her "dream team."

The family spoke shortly after Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder in Lloyd's 2013 shooting death and sentenced to life without parole.

Lloyd's mother, Ursula Ward, cried as she said, "Just like God has left his footprint in the sand, my baby's footprint is in my heart forever."

District Attorney Thomas Quinn referenced Hernandez, saying: "The jury found that he was just a man who committed a brutal murder. The fact that he was a professional athlete meant nothing in the end."

Defense lawyers left without commenting.

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1 P.M.

The jurors who found Aaron Hernandez guilty of murder say they were shocked by the defense admission that the former New England Patriots player was at the scene of the killing.

The jury talked to the media Wednesday shortly after convicting Hernandez of first-degree murder in the 2013 shooting of Odin Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee. The conviction carried a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.

During closing arguments, Hernandez's lawyer James Sultan for the first time acknowledged that Hernandez was present when Lloyd was killed. But he said Hernandez was a witness and his two co-defendants committed the killing. They are awaiting trial.

The jury says the defense admission that Hernandez was at the scene created more corroboration that he was guilty.

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12:50 P.M.

The jurors who convicted Aaron Hernandez of murder say the judge spoke to them privately after they rendered their verdict and told them other allegations against the former New England Patriots player.

All 12 jurors and three alternates spoke to the media Wednesday after finding Hernandez guilty in the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee.

Jurors said the judge talked to them about other allegations not presented in the case. Those included two 2012 slayings that Hernandez is charged in and the last text Lloyd sent minutes before he died that said he was "with NFL."

The jurors said the information reaffirmed their feeling that they'd made the right decision.

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12:20 P.M.

The jurors who convicted former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez of murder say there were many tears in the jury room.

The panelists spoke to the media Wednesday afternoon, shortly after the verdict was announced and Hernandez was formally sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The jury convicted Hernandez on all charges, including the most serious charge of first-degree murder. They found that Hernandez used extreme atrocity or cruelty in committing the killing. One juror cited the fact that Lloyd was shot six times in helping him make that determination.

They wouldn't discuss the nature of their deliberations in the jury room.

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11:45 A.M.

Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has been formally sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for murder.

Hernandez stood impassively as the court officer announced the sentence Wednesday. It came shortly after he was found guilty on all charges in the death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd in June 2013. Lloyd was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee at the time.

The sentencing was a formality because a first-degree murder conviction in Massachusetts carries an automatic sentence of life without parole.

The 25-year-old Hernandez and his lawyers left the courtroom by a side door to a holding cell area after the sentence was pronounced.

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11:35 A.M.

The younger sister of the man killed by former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez says writing her brother's eulogy was the hardest thing she's ever done.

Olivia Thibou spoke Wednesday before Hernandez was formally sentenced to life in prison without parole for fatally shooting her 27-year-old brother, Odin Lloyd, in June 2013. Hernandez was convicted earlier Wednesday of first-degree murder.

Thibou called Wednesday a great day but also "an awful painful day."

She says her brother was a good man, very careful, and never picked up guns. She says: "And this is how he died."

Hernandez briefly looked back at the assembled media as Thibou spoke about Lloyd.

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11:25 a.m.

The mother of the man killed by former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez says she forgives anyone who had a hand in her son's death.

Ursula Ward gave a victim impact statement Wednesday after Hernandez was convicted of killing her son, Odin Lloyd, in June 2013.

She says she felt her heart stop beating for a moment on the day she laid Lloyd to rest. She says, "I felt like I wanted to go into the hole with my son."

The rest of Lloyd's family wept and dropped their heads as Ward spoke.

Two other people have also been charged in Lloyd's death. They will be tried separately.

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10:40 a.m.

Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is scheduled to be formally sentenced shortly before 11 a.m. on his first-degree murder conviction.

A spokesman for the district attorney's office says Lloyd's mother, Ursula Ward, plans to give a victim impact statement before he is sentenced. It was not yet determined whether any other member of Lloyd's family would give a statement. Also unknown was whether Lloyd's girlfriend, Shaneah Jenkins, would speak.

The first-degree murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.

Jenkins sat weeping in the front row with Lloyd's family as she awaited the verdict.

Jenkins' sister, Shayanna, is engaged to Hernandez.

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10:30 a.m.

The mother and fiancee of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez have sobbed and gasped after he was found guilty of first-degree murder.

Terri Hernandez and Shayanna Jenkins held each other and rocked and wept Wednesday morning.

Hernandez pursed his lips after the verdict was read, then craned his neck to see his mother and fiancee. His eyes looked red. He mouthed to them: "Be strong. Be strong."

Hernandez was convicted of killing Odin Lloyd, who was dating Shayanna Jenkins' sister. The jury also convicted him of both weapons charges he faced.

Lloyd's mother also cried after the verdict was read.

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10:25 a.m.

Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez has been found guilty of first-degree murder.

A Massachusetts jury on Wednesday found Hernandez killed Odin Lloyd on June 17, 2013. Lloyd was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee. He was found shot six times in an industrial park less than a mile from Hernandez's home.

At the time, Hernandez had a $40 million contract with the Patriots.

Hernandez's lawyer acknowledged during closing arguments that he was there when Lloyd was killed. But he pinned the shooting on Hernandez's two friends, saying his client was a 23-year-old kid who didn't know what to do.

Prosecutors said Hernandez planned the killing and then helped cover it up.

The conviction carries a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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10:10 a.m.

The jury has reached a verdict in the murder trial of former New England Patriots star tight end Aaron Hernandez.

Hernandez is charged with killing Odin Lloyd in June 2013. Lloyd was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee. He was shot six times in an industrial park near Hernandez's home.

A court officer announced Wednesday morning that the 12-person jury had reached a verdict after deliberating since April 7.

Lawyers and spectators are assembling in the courtroom before the jury is brought in.

Hernandez's lawyer acknowledged during closing arguments that he was there when Lloyd was killed. But he pinned the shooting on Hernandez's two friends, saying his client was a 23-year-old kid who didn't know what to do.

Prosecutors said Hernandez planned the killing, then helped cover it up.