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Hernandez Murder: Learning From The Past

Rachel Kohn |
June 28, 2013 | 11:14 a.m. PDT

Staff Writer

Hernandez isn't the first NFL player to be caught and suspected of murder. (Wikimedia Commons)
Hernandez isn't the first NFL player to be caught and suspected of murder. (Wikimedia Commons)
New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was arrested and charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd Wednesday. The body of 27-year-old Lloyd was found in an industrial park near Hernandez’s home. Hernandez was lead out of his house by police around 8:45 Wednesday morning, his white T-shirt put on over his arms handcuffed to his back. He was charged with six criminal charges: five gun related charges and first-degree murder. A few hours later, the Patriots cut Hernandez. 

Due to the fact that this case involves a professional athlete, police have been cautious, checking the evidence before charging Hernandez. Lloyd was murdered on June 16th, Hernandez was charged 10 days later. NFL players have been charged with murder before, their cases entering the limelight through special media attention. The Aaron Hernandez trial will be no different, though there are similarities and differences in past trials: talked about recently because of Super Bowl hype, the trial of Ray Lewis back in 2000.

SEE MORE: The Patriot Way: Moving On After Hernandez

At a Super Bowl Party, a fight broke out that resulted in the deaths of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar. Lewis and two companions were investigated for the murder. Just like Hernandez, Lewis was charged with murder (initially at least). Ultimately, Lewis pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice, as he gave a misleading report to police and the white suit he was wearing the night of the murder has never been found. Hernandez also supposedly destroyed evidence, as he had a cleaning service come to clean his house, and also disabled his alarm system and cell phone. The similarities end there, as it doesn’t look likely that Hernandez can plead guilty to only a misdemeanor.

The O.J. Simpson murder trial is potentially the most publicized criminal trial in American history, and the Hernandez trial draws comparisons, right down to the white SUV. On June 17th, 1994, the day Simpson was supposed to turn himself in to LAPD, he was found driving in Orange County in his White Ford Bronco, and a police chase ensued. The media caught images of Hernandez driving around in a white SUV as details of the case were beginning to emerge. Simpson was charged with the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, and Hernandez is charged with the murder of someone he knew as well. The main difference in the cases being that in O.J.’s trial the DNA evidence proved inconclusive, In Hernandez’s trial, there appears to be enough evidence for a conviction.

The question is this: can Hernandez walk out of the courtroom as a free man? Can he somehow avoid serious convictions for a smaller crime like Simpson and Lewis did? Signs point to no. We are still waiting on the trial and verdict, but it seems unlikely that with every charge presented and the multitude of evidence police possess Hernandez will leave the courtroom with any charge less than guilty of murder in the first degree. Though, if by chance Hernandez can walk away from this, he needs to take a page out of the Ray Lewis playbook: find God and become a model citizen that fans can look up to (though this would prove a lot more difficult without a team to play for.)

Reach Staff Writer Rachel Kohn via e-mail.



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