Jury finds Aaron Hernandez not guilty in 2012 double murder

Jury finds Aaron Hernandez not guilty in 2012 double murder

BOSTON - A jury on Friday found former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez not guilty of murder in the 2012 shootings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado.

Hernandez is already serving a life sentence for his conviction in the killing Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee. in June 2013. That verdict came on April 15, 2015, nearly two years to day of this latest verdict.

The Suffolk County jury convicted him of a single charge: unlawful possession of gun. The judge sentenced him to an additional four to five years in prison, separate from his existing life sentence, for that conviction.

This verdict could aid Hernandez's chances in an appeal of the Lloyd murder case. Hernandez's motive in that case was thought to be that he wanted to silence Lloyd, who had learned of the 2012 killings. Now that Hernandez has been exonerated in the double murder, doubt could be cast on his motive for killing Lloyd.

Jurors deliberated for approximately 36 hours before reaching the verdict on Friday.

Hernandez faced two counts of first-degree murder in the shootings of de Abreu and Furtado in Boston’s South End on July 16, 2012.

Hernandez’s friend Alexander Bradley claimed Hernandez became enraged after de Abreu bumped into him while dancing, spilling his drink. He said Hernandez later opened fire on the men's car as they waited at a stoplight.

Bradley also said Hernandez shot him in the face months later after he made a remark about the earlier shootings. Bradley lost his right eye in the shooting. Hernandez was also charged with witness intimidation in connection with Bradley's shooting.

Hernandez's lawyers said it was Bradley — an admitted drug dealer — who shot the men over a drug deal. The defense hammered at Bradley's credibility, citing his immunity deal with prosecutors to testify against Hernandez, his role as the driver of the car the night of the shootings and his criminal record. Bradley is serving a five-year prison term in Connecticut for firing shots at a Hartford nightclub in 2014.

Hernandez grew up in Bristol, Connecticut, and played for the Patriots from 2010 to 2012. About six weeks after Furtado and de Abreu were killed, Hernandez signed a five-year, $40 million contract with the Patriots and went on to play another season before Lloyd was killed. He was cut from the team shortly after he was arrested in Lloyd's killed in June 2013. He was not charged in the 2012 killings until 2014.

In his first trial, jurors deliberated for 36 hours over seven days before convicting him of murder.


Report: Slater returning to Patriots

Report: Slater returning to Patriots

Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater has signed a two-year deal to return to the team, according to an ESPN's Mike Reiss.

Slater had made a free-agent visit to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday. The seven-time Pro Bowl special teams ace, who turns 33 in September, has spent the past 10 seasons in a New England. Slater, one of the veteran leaders in the locker room, signed a one-year, $1.8 million contract extension in 2016.

The Patriots traded with the Oakland Raiders for kick returner/wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson earlier this week to bolster their special teams.


Report: New catch rule coming to NFL

Report: New catch rule coming to NFL

A new catch rule is coming to the NFL.

So, controversies such as the Jesse James' touchdown reversal in the Steelers' loss to the Patriots in December and the Kelvin Benjamin call in the Bills-Pats game a week later likely would have resulted in upheld TDs under the new rule.

According to the Washington Post, Troy Vincent, the NFL VP of football operations, said competition committee members plan to propose getting rid of portions of the rule related to a receiver going to the ground while making a catch and to slight movement of the football while it’s in the receiver’s hands. Vincent also said the committee also intends to raise the bar by which an on-field ruling of a catch could be overturned via replay review.

That apparently was what was done in Super Bowl 52, when the Eagles' Corey Clement's juggling TD catch was not overturned via replay. 

“We worked backward,” said Vincent told the Post. “We looked at plays and said: Do you want that to be a catch? And then we applied that to the rule.”

The rule modifications could be approved by the competition committee as early Tuesday, the Post reported, and owners will meet next week in Orlando to vote on it. Rule changes must be approved by at least 24 of the 32 franchises. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been pushing for the catch rule to be modified.