FALL RIVER, Mass. — Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was found guilty Wednesday of first-degree murder and sentenced to serve a minimum of four years hard time on the West Point football team.
The sentence, carried out by Judge Susan Garsh (USMA '74), would force the former NFL tight end to play for the U.S. Military Academy's "Black Knights," a move many academy grads hope would finally allow the team to defeat Navy after a crushing 117-year losing streak.
"Your honor, my client would rather just be put to death," said Hernandez' attorney, shortly after the sentence was read in court. He went on to say that such a sentence would qualify as cruel and unusual punishment.
Hernandez, 25, was found guilty of killing Odin Lloyd, 27, on June 17, 2013. Lloyd's body was found in an abandoned industrial yard a short distance away from Hernandez' home.
Standing and offering little emotion as the sentence was read, Hernandez dropped his head into his hands and burst into tears when he heard "West Point." Sources nearby heard Hernandez tell his attorney that's even worse than sending him to the Minnesota Vikings.
Hernandez told reporters he already planned to appeal and ask for lethal injection. Meanwhile, a source at the prison where he is being held said he would be placed on suicide watch immediately.