A Boston jury on Friday found former New England Patriots football star Aaron Hernandez not guilty on of murdering two men outside a Boston nightclub in 2012, following what prosecutors described as a dispute that began over a spilled drink.
The decision comes two years after another Massachusetts jury found the former NFL tight end guilty of murdering an acquaintance in an industrial park near his home in June 2013. He is currently serving a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for that killing.
Except for a weapons possession count, Hernandez was found not guilty of all charges associated with the double murder, including witness intimidation. He was immediately sentenced to an additional four to five years in prison on the weapons conviction.
Gasps were heard from the gallery when the initial verdicts were read, and members of the victims' families were led out of the courtroom in tears.
Hernandez, now 27, was a rising star in the National Football League when he was arrested in 2013 and charged with murdering acquaintance Odin Lloyd.
More than a year passed before he was charged with the double-murder, which prosecution witnesses said was the result of his paranoid temperament, which led him to constantly suspect people were disrespecting and challenging him.
The jury heard from witnesses including a friend, Alexander Bradley, who said that he was in the car with Hernandez when the football star shot dead Cape Verdean nationals Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado outside the Boston nightclub.