Fate of NFL star Aaron Hernandez in hands of murder trial jury


(CNN) — The fate of ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez will soon be in jurors’ hands.

After 134 witnesses, stretching over nearly 11 weeks, a jury will now decide the fate of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez.

A hard-fought defense contends Hernandez would never kill his good friend Odin Lloyd, who was dating Shanea Jenkins, the sister of his fiancé.

There is a mountain of circumstantial evidence from the crime scene: An isolated pit in an industrial park where Lloyd’s bullet-riddled body is found, experts testify a marijuana blunt with DNA from Hernandez and Lloyd put them both at the spot, a tire on Hernandez’s rental car is consistent with tracks in there, too; and a shoe impression in the dirt comes from the same kind of sneaker he was wearing that night.

In each case, the defense attacks those findings.

Prosecutors try to prove a grainy home security video minutes after Lloyd is killed shows Hernandez holding a glock. But the defense argues that’s no glock, but maybe an iPad.

The murder weapon is still missing. Does hernandez’s fiancée throw it out? She gets immunity and testifies Hernandez told her to ditch a box from the basement.

What may be harder to challenge is video of Odin Lloyd getting into a car with Hernandez and his two friends. It’s the same car going into that dark industrial park, and 3 minutes and 40 seconds later, reappearing, and then driving back in to Hernandez’s driveway, without Lloyd.

The trial did have one showstopping witness: Hernandez’s former boss, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who met privately with his star player two days after the murder.

“He said he was innocent,” Kraft said, “and that he hoped the time of the murder came out, he said he was at a club.”

Yet evidence shows Hernandez was not at a club that night, and raises the question, how would he know the time of the murder when it was not yet made public?

Throughout the trial, Hernandez is laser-sharp during the proceedings, barely glancing at victim Odin Lloyd’s family, who is there every day.

What’s less clear is a motive — was the football player mad at his friend over something that happened two nights before the murder?

A medical examiner said Lloyd was shot six times, but the defense suggests it was Hernandez’s friends who did it. Those friends have both pleaded not guilty to murder and are being tried separately.

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