No Verdict Friday in Aaron Hernandez Double Murder Trial | NBC 6 South Florida
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No Verdict Friday in Aaron Hernandez Double Murder Trial

The jury will resume deliberations on Monday

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    The verdict watch is now on in the double murder trial of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez. Abbey Niezgoda reports. (Published Friday, April 7, 2017)

    The verdict watch is now underway in the double murder trial of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez.

    Jurors began deliberating shortly before 9:30 Friday morning after receiving final instructions from Judge Jeffrey Locke. They recessed shortly after 4 p.m. without reaching a verdict and will return to court to continue deliberations on Monday.

    The former Patriots tight end is charged with first-degree murder in the 2012 shootings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado. He is also charged with witness intimidation and accused of shooting his friend Alexander Bradley months later to silence him as a witness to the double shooting. 

    Hernandez has pleaded not guilty. His lawyers told the jury that Bradley was the one who shot the men over a drug deal.

    Five hours into their deliberations on Friday, the jurors had a telling question, asking if they can convict based on the testimony of a witness like Bradley who has immunity or if they need other evidence.

    Bradley, the prosecution's star witness, testified that Hernandez opened fire on de Abreu and Furtado's car two hours after de Abreu bumped into Hernandez at a Boston nightclub and spilled his drink.

    Locke told jurors they shouldn't rely solely on the testimony of an immunized witness like Bradley, but also need corroboration for at least one element of the crime.

    Hernandez's defense attorney Jose Baez believes the decision will not take long and is confident the evidence is not strong enough to convict.

    "To bring forward a trial juts to get an NFL football player is disgraceful. It's a disgrace to the cause of justice," Baez said.

    On Thursday, lawyers presented their closing arguments after more than a month of testimony about a crime prosecutors say was fueled by anger over a spilled drink.

    The day began with defense attorney Jose Baez attempting to convince jurors one final time that his client did not commit the crime. 

    "There is absolutely no evidence that Aaron Hernandez committed this crime," Baez said.

    He also sought to discredit Bradley's testimony.

    "Alexander Bradley was a three-legged pony and they were going to ride him to the finish line no matter what he said... what lies he told," Baez said. "They're going to ride him all the way home. They don't care that he comes here in lies... lies to police."

    Baez said the other witnesses who encountered Hernandez on the night of the alleged murders painted a much different picture of him, saying he was friendly, and not enraged. And he disputed Bradley's story about the spilled drink.

    "There's no spilled drink on him," he said, displaying a picture that Hernandez took with a fan at the club before the murders. "Zero to indicate a drink has been spilled on Aaron." 

    In their closing arguments, prosecutors showed jurors pictures of the crime scene and attempted to make the case that both the vehicle and the gun involved in the killings were tied to Hernandez.

    "The killer took pleasure in what he did that night," Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Patrick Haggan said. "The killer wanted the victims to see him coming."

    He also went over cell towers that allegedly place Hernandez at the crime scene, and mentioned a call he made to Jenkins-Hernandez immediately after the murders.

    Haggan even referenced Hernandez's tattoo showing a six-shot revolver with one chamber empty.

    "That is not random," he said. "That is not art... That is a statement of guilt."

    Hernandez is already serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd.