A 12-person jury began deliberations Tuesday in the murder trial of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. Both the prosecution and the defense delivered their closing statements in the case that will determine if Hernandez is guilty of the shooting death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd.
Defense attorney James Sultan acknowledged his client witnessed Lloyd’s death in a North Attleborough, Massachusetts, industrial park on June 17, 2013, but said Hernandez was not guilty of murder. He said the prosecution’s case was speculative and that authorities assumed Hernandez was guilty and tried to find evidence that supported their theory, according to the Associated Press.
“Did he make all the right decisions? No,” Sultan said. “He was a 23-year-old kid who witnessed a shocking killing, committed by someone he knew. He didn’t know what to do, so he just put one foot in front of the other.”
Sultan also criticized the prosecution for failing to present a reasonable motive for Hernandez’s alleged actions. He said Hernandez and Lloyd were friends who bonded over marijuana use, an assertion that prosecutors denied.
The prosecution alleged Hernandez and two accomplices drove Lloyd to the industrial park, located less than a mile from Hernandez’s North Attleborough home. Hernandez allegedly shot Lloyd six times with a Glock handgun in a premeditated murder meant to silence a man who knew too much about his activities away from the field. Bristol Assistant District Attorney William McCauley told the jury that a motive that might seem inconsequential to them might have been important to Hernandez.
“The defendant had a motive to kill [Lloyd],” McCauley said, according to the Boston Globe. “[Whether] it’s a good motive or a bad motive, he believed he could kill Odin Lloyd and nobody would ever believe he was involved.”
Surveillance footage presented during the trial showed Hernandez holding what appeared to be a gun in his home shortly after Lloyd’s death. Hernandez’s DNA also was found on a marijuana joint at the scene of the murder.
After the closing arguments, the jury received instructions from Judge E. Susan Garsh and deliberated for about an hour. Deliberations will continue Wednesday morning. Hernandez could face life in prison without parole if found guilty of Lloyd’s murder, Yahoo Sports notes.