Aaron Hernandez Guilty of Murder
And on the 7th day of deliberations the jury found Aaron Hernandez guilty of first-degree murder.
The judge sentenced the former New England Patriots star to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The sentence was mandatory and automatically triggers an appeal to Massachusetts’ highest court.The jury found that the ex-NFL player merited the conviction by “reason of extreme atrocity or cruelty.” They also convicted Hernandez of unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition.
A Bristol County, Massachusetts jury of seven women and five men deliberated for 36 hours over seven days before reaching a unanimous verdict.
Jurors had to go through more than 130 witnesses and months of evidence – most of it circumstantial. Prosecutors pieced it all together to show how Hernandez killed 27-year-old Olin Lloyd at an industrial site near his house in suburban Boston.
During closing arguments, the defense admitted Hernandez witnessed Lloyd’s killing by someone he knew and he really didn’t know what to do. Of course, what had many talking was that there was absolutely no evidence introduced to support this notion. Since Hernandez stood on right not to testify at trial, jurors never heard from him on this point, or any other.
Even though the life sentence was a foregone conclusion, prior to imposing sentence the judge heard from Odin Lloyd’s relatives and their victim impact statements. While there was only one lawful sentence for the court to impose – life, without the possibility of parole – these statements are an important part of the process, since they allow the family to be respected and their voices heard. Hopefully it will help facilitate closure.
In the meantime, Hernandez will not likely be sent to state prison yet. First, he has that pesky little matter of the double-murder case to defend in Boston. Given his current sentence, some may say that another conviction is the judicial equivalent of “piling on”. While that may be a foul in football, in the court system, it’s smart for several reasons. First, there are victims who deserve vindication if, in fact Hernandez is guilty in that case too. Next, there is always the possibility of a successful appeal in the Lloyd case (as in any case), so prosecutors would prefer to “wear a belt and suspenders” when it comes to ensuring Hernandez spends the rest of his life behind bars.
Sofia Vergara sued over Embryos
Sofia Vergara is being sued by her ex-fiancee, Nick Loeb, to prevent the actress from destroying two female embryos that they co-created through in vitro fertilization six months before the couple split. Loeb’s suit claims to be motivated by a desire to keep the female embryos safe, since Vergara “refused to agree to their preservation under all circumstances.”
This will be an interesting legal battle to keep an eye on, since the fertility center reportedly had the couple complete various forms about the fate of the embryos in the case of death, but not conscious uncoupling (or ordinary break-up). Here’s yet one more example of how the law always lags behind the advances made by medical science, or why it is that lawyers always take the fun out of things by focusing on everything that could possibly go wrong.
Jodi Arias Loses Smile on way to Prison
Jodi Arias has a new mugshot that has gone viral. It’s the one that was taken as she reported to Arizona state prison to begin serving her life sentence for murder. It did not take the world of social media long to appreciate that the smile of her earlier mugshot has vanished, and been replaced by a much more pensive, brooding look.
It is nearly seven years since Arias took the life of Travis Alexander. As I said in a recent blog on HLN’s website, it’s time to bid Jodi “Buh-Bye.”
James Holmes goes on Trial
A jury has been seated in the trial of James Holmes, accused of killing 12 people and wounding 70 more in a July, 2012 attack in a Colorado movie theater. Federal prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. It was previously reported that Holmes, who is mounting an insanity defense, was willing to plead guilty to a life term without the possibility of parole, and that these settlement overtures were rejected.
This is a case that will likely play out in just the way the recent Boston bombing trial did: defense lawyers admitting very early on that their client is guilty, in a bid to preserve credibility with jurors for the real work: an attempt to save their client’s life. There will really be two issues in the case: First, was Holmes sane or insane at the time the crime was committed, and second, does he deserve to die.
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