Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was acquitted Friday of charges stemming from a 2012 double murder that prosecutors said was caused by a spilled drink.
Hernandez, 27, who is already serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player, fought tears and hugged his legal team in a Boston courtroom after the verdict was read.
Following six days of deliberation, a Suffolk County jury found the former football star not guilty of first-degree murder in the 2012 killings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado. He was however, convicted of unlawful possession of a gun, for which the judge added an additional four to five years to his current life sentence.
The defense team tried to pin the murder on Hernandez's friend and admitted drug dealer, Alexander Bradley, who was with Hernandez on the night of the shootings.
Bradley testified that his friend became angry after Daniel de Abreu bumped into Hernandez and spilled his drink as they were on the dancefloor of a Boston nightclub. Bradley, who is currently serving five years in prison for another shooting incident, said Hernandez fired at the men after they left the club in a car and were waiting at a stoplight.
Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley told The Associated Press that prosecutors will not charge Bradley in the deaths of de Abreu and Furtado because they believe Hernandez did it, despite the jury's verdict.
"Our theory of the case stands. In our minds, [the evidence] points inescapably to Aaron Hernandez,” Conley told the AP.
According to the defense, Bradley reportedly received immunity for testifying against Hernandez. Months after the double murder, Hernandez was charged with shooting Bradley in the face in an effort to silence his friend from ever speaking about the incident.
Hernandez, who played for the Patriots for three seasons, was cut from the team following his arrest in Lloyd's murder in 2013.
In April 2015, he was found guilty of murdering Lloyd and was handed a life sentence without the possibility of parole.