Hernandez was accused of murdering Lloyd, a 27-year-old landscaper from Boston who was found riddled with bullets in a Massachusetts field in June 2013. In its closing statements last week, the defense admitted that Hernandez was present when Lloyd was shot and killed but maintained that Hernandez was not the shooter, as the prosecutors allege. Because Hernandez was being tried as the shooter and not merely an accomplice, the defense argued he should be found not guilty. The defense also cited the prosecution’s supposed lack of hard evidence that proved conclusively that Hernandez shot Lloyd and a lack of proven motive on Hernandez’s part.
Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports, who has covered the trial since its start, summed up the prosecution’s winning argument, despite the absence of the murder weapon:
The prosecution overcame the lack of testifying eye witnesses by painstakingly piecing together a mountain of circumstantial, forensic evidence and so-called “electronic witnesses” that was so convincing it forced the defense during closing arguments to change tactics and concede that Hernandez was at the murder site. They just claimed he didn’t do it, but rather witnessed a possible PCP-rage killing by either Ernest Wallace or Carlos Ortiz, friends of Hernandez and low-level drug dealers in Connecticut.Much of the most powerful evidence against Hernandez was taken from his own home security system. Jurors were able to see Hernandez, Wallace and Ortiz arrive at the house minutes after the murder, cementing the prosecution timeline. Hernandez was soon after seen inside his home carrying what an expert identified as a Glock .45 semiautomatic pistol that prosecutors say was the murder weapon.Later that same day all three men lounged around the home and the outdoor pool, drinking smoothies made by Hernandez’s fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins. The following day video showed Jenkins removing a box from the basement, which she said she did at Hernandez’s request. She took it, she said, to a nearby dumpster, although she couldn’t recall where.
Hernandez’s legal issues are not over. He faces another trial, tentatively scheduled for May, for an alleged 2012 double murder.
Hernandez spent three seasons in the NFL after playing college football at the University of Florida. In 2011, he caught a career-high 79 catches for 910 yards and seven touchdowns for the Patriots, forming the league’s best tight end tandem with Rob Gronkowski. After that season, Hernandez signed a five-year contract extension worth a maximum value of $40 million, with a $12.5 million signing bonus.
Hernandez’s last game was the AFC championship game in January 2013.