Aaron Hernandez Jury Ends Fifth Day of Deliberation Sans Verdict

Apr 14, 2015 - by Denise Noe

Jurors in the murder trial of Aaron Hernandez finished their fifth day of deliberation on Monday, April 13, 2015, without reaching a verdict. 

The jury sent a note to Superior Court judge Susan Garsh yesterday. The note did not ask for clarification on either a point of law relevant to the case or evidence, but simply whether it was acceptable for some jurors to take smoking breaks.

Judge Garsh replied that smoking breaks are permitted, providing all discussion about the case stops when a juror or jurors takes such a break, and only resumes when all twelve can participate.

That the fifth day of deliberation should end sans verdict is not unusual. In murder cases in Massachusetts, juries are out for an average of four to six days.

When Hernandez was brought into court on Monday, he mouthed, “I love you” to Shayanna Jenkins, his fiancée, who was seated in the front row of courtroom spectators.

The jury must decide whether or not the former New England Patriots player is guilty in the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd, a man who had been dating Jenkins’ sister.

Defense attorneys have acknowledged that Aaron Hernandez was present when Lloyd was killed, but deny that he was anything other than a witness to the crime.

If jurists decide he is guilty of the killing, they could convict him of either first-degree or second-degree murder -- a conviction of first-degree murder in Massachusetts requires they find the defendant killed with deliberate premeditation or with extreme atrocity or cruelty, or both.

A person convicted of first-degree murder in Massachusetts receives a mandatory sentence of life in prison with no possibility of parole.

To convict someone of second-degree murder in Massachusetts, a jury must find that the defendant either intended to kill, intended to cause grave harm, or did something that the defendant knew would likely cause death.

The mandatory sentence for second-degree murder is life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years.

DENISE NOE

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