FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) – Jurors in the murder trial of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez completed a fourth day of deliberations on Friday with no verdict.
The twelve jurors have spent nearly 20 hours over four days considering whether to convict Hernandez of the June 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd. Lloyd was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee. Hernandez's lawyer acknowledged the former NFL player was there when Lloyd was killed but says he didn't do it.
Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh sent jurors home at 1 p.m. Friday, telling them to come back Monday at 9 a.m. They were released earlier than usual because some jurors had scheduling conflicts. While deliberations typically end at 4:30 p.m., jurors may go later if they wish.
"Please continue to avoid anything at all about this case or about Mr. Hernandez," Garsh told them. She has asked them to avoid the news in general on TV, on the radio and elsewhere.
Hernandez was brought into court twice on Friday, at the beginning and end of the day, both times for just a few minutes. His fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins, sat behind him in the front row. Her sister, Shaneah Jenkins, who was dating Lloyd when he was killed, sat across the aisle with Lloyd's family.
In addition to the murder charge, jurors are deciding whether to convict Hernandez on charges of illegal possession of a .45-caliber firearm and .22-caliber ammunition. Lloyd was killed with a .45-caliber weapon, although the gun was never found. Police found .22-caliber ammunition in Hernandez's basement.
Jurors must be unanimous to reach a verdict. On the murder charge, they must decide on either 1st-degree or 2nd-degree murder. Second-degree murder carries a sentence of life with the possibility of parole after 15 years, while parole is not possible with a 1st-degree murder conviction.