After six days of deliberation, a jury made its decision on Friday.
Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has been found not guilty of murder in the 2012 shooting of two men on a Boston street.
A jury returned the verdict late Friday afternoon in Suffolk Superior Court.
“We the jury heard from over 70 witnesses and over 380 exhibits across five weeks. We deliberated for six days. We based our decision on the evidence presented and the law,” jury foreperson Lindsey Stringer said in a brief statement she read afterwards.
When asked what took so long, she said “We have no further comment.”
Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado were shot to death as they waited at a stoplight in the early morning of July 16, 2012.
Hernandez, 27, is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole after being found guilty of the 2013 shooting of Odin Lloyd, who had been dating the sister of Hernandez’ fiancee Shayanna Jenkins at the time of murder.
The jury had begun deliberations April 7.
The only charge Hernandez was found guilty on by this jury was unlawful gun possession and was sentenced to 4-5 years in state prison for that.
The verdict came down one day short of the two-year anniversary of Hernandez’ conviction in the Lloyd case.
Hernandez turned to his long-time fiancee Jenkins and mouthed, “I love you.”
As she left the court room, Jenkins would only say, “I am very, very happy” according to reporters there.
“A family lost two members and that was a tragedy,” said Hernandez’ defense attorney Ronald Sullivan. “And Mr. Hernandez was wrongly accused and that was a tragedy too.”
As for what won the case, Sullivan said: “A dearth of evidence that connected Mr. Hernandez to these shootings.”
Prosecutors said Hernandez shot de Abreu and Furtado after he became angry when one of them bumped into Hernandez at a nightclub earlier that night.
Defense lawyers countered that Alexander Bradley, a friend of Hernandez at the time, did the shooting. Bradley was the main witness for the prosecution.
“We are clearly disappointed,” said Michael Conley, Boston’s district attorney. “We put our best case forward. We thought we had enough evidence even without (Bradley’s) testimony.
“There is a lot of sorrow and grief with the families right now.”
Hernandez, who grew up in Bristol, Conn, played with the Patriots from 2010-2012.
He is appealing the Lloyd conviction.