Aaron Hernandez: A Preventable Tragedy

Hernandez Jurors

NC asked: Who was the person that commented on this site that the prosecution was gumming up this case? Who said that the judge was going to direct a verdict?”  I have to plead guilty to both charged.

NC had chided me on other occasions when I suggested Judge Garsh would direct a verdict. He noted all the factors that tied Hernandez into the murder which could not be overlooked. He was right. Although in my defense, after hearing Hernandez’s girlfriend Shayanna Jenkins testify, I wrote her testimony was contrived and if the jury gets the case her lawyered-up testimony alone was enough to ensure Hernandez’s conviction.

Since you can’t argue with success there is no doubt that the prosecutors approach to the case was the right one. They must have known that from their prior dealings with Judge Garsh that throwing in everything they had was the only way to assure a victory. I noted in my post immediately before the verdict that if the jury kept in mind the big picture, which apparently it did despite closely examining all the bits and pieces of evidence, the result would be a guilty.

Congratulations to the prosecution team and the Massachusetts State Police for the win. I’m sure while the jury slowly sifted through the evidence they suffered as greatly as they did when the judge kept critical pieces of evidence from the jury’s view. In the end a skillful investigation and thorough prosecution secured the day. Congratulations also to the jurors who tried our patience but plodded on to the right result.

It is clear who the winners were. I do not include among them the family of Odin Llyod. Although they have seen the justice system work as it should, they lost their hardworking son, brother, cousin and family member whose humor and view of life brought them joy. This senseless tragedy never should have happened. It was preventable with a modicum of care and concern.

There were losers, though. Hernandez’s lawyers had a faulty defense plan. If Hernandez is to get a new trial it will be through ineffective assistance of counsel. It will not be because of any evidentiary errors because of the caution of the judge in admitting evidence.

One columnist wrote about his lawyer Michael Fee saying his “opening statement, though, marked the latest achievement of a top-of-the-line defense from a team of experienced and talented lawyers. Fee is a former federal prosecutor, and the lawyers assisting him, James Sultan and Charles Rankin, are both graduates of Harvard Law School.”

The achievement he was talking about was the assistance they were getting in having Judge Garsh exclude critical facts from the jury including the very poignant text message, a last desperate cry for help from Odin to his sister. Perhaps their success with the judge blinded them to the idea the jury was going to call it straight up and was not going to fall for the twisted defense they put up.

Lawyering by committee is always a mistake. Too many cooks lawyers spoil the pot case. The best that can be said  for the three lawyers is they acted like a stampeding herd of cattle kicking up as much dust as possible hoping it would blind the jurors as to the big picture. But like the cattle running mad, they were all over the place. They had no strategy to defend Hernandez, no grand plan. Perhaps there was no way to come up with one but rather than running all over the range they should have stuck to a definite trail.

Initially they attacked the investigation picking our minor points here and there to make it appear their defense was that Hernandez was not at the scene of the murder. They insisted the defendant and the victim were friends.

Then in the middle of the stream trial they changed horses their strategy. They told the jurors he was at the scene of the murder. The jurors would later say that admission stunned them.

Having established the friendship that then backfired on them; no friend would drive away and leave his buddy lying in the dirt with six bullets in him in a secluded spot and do nothing about it for a day or so unless he was involved in the murder.

Perhaps there were just too many hurdles for them to get over but running back and forth between different lanes certainly wasn’t going to help win. This case was a classic second degree murder case. Hernandez’s actions were clearly that of a man heavily confused by his continual ingesting of marijuana. I wondered if defense counsel ever considered having him enter a plea to second degree.

The next in line of losers is Aaron Hernandez himself. He was on the cusp of being the best tight end ever in the NFL. Tough as nails and an immensely talented as a football player his future was assured. But he had major problems. The senseless and motiveless murder of Odin Llyod (never mind the other senseless shootings of which he stands accused) showed this. He was a wild drug addled young man who thought and acted like a young heavily addicted teenager. His mental powers were blunted and his thought processes blurred by his heavy marijuana use. Defense counsel never suggested it consider his impaired facilities.

Even worse than Hernandez is the National Football League and the New England Patriots. The trial showed that its drug policy is a farce. Hernandez was addicted to marijuana. He chain smoked it. The Patriots knew it when it drafted him. An article at the time in 2010 noted: “He had multiple positive tests, so he either had issues or he’s dumb. One or two tests? Fine. But four, five, six? Come on, now you’ve got an addiction.”

The Patriots signed him in June 2010. He played three seasons for them. After the third he got a 12.5 million dollar signing bonus along with a 40 million dollar contract. I find it hard to believe a man addicted in college and chain smoking marijuana six months after he signed the lucrative contract did not smoke marijuana while he played.

The biggest losers are those who should have seen he had problems but did nothing except hide it. None required he get the best professional help available. Bob Kraft, his staff, Bill Belichick, his coaches and team mates, Florida’s Urban Meyer, his coaches and staff, and many others associated with football who never stepped in to help him. None cared enough to stop him on his road to perdition. He was just another piece of equipment to be used and discarded; just a part of the herd.

One man, Odin Lloyd, is dead at his hands; perhaps two others as well. All this may have been prevented. Aaron Hernandez will rot in prison until he is an old man but more likely won’t make it that long. The Patriots have had the curtain torn away to show their true colors: Spygate, Deflategate and the Hernandez affair. And to think some still cheer for them. The NFL’s drug program and its asserted interest in the lives of its young men is shown to be a sham. This is a sordid tale that never had to have happen.

(Photograph of jurors by DOMINICK REUTER/POOL/AP)



  1. Wow! King of the straw man! Let’s start here..you tell me to “continue to cheer for Kraft and the owners”…not only do I not cheer for them, I give not a wit about any of them…you are the one that seems obsessed…I merely watch the games on Sunday, and cheer for THE PATRIOTS. I don’t care if a marihuana dealing former DA owns them!
    To be clear…you want to blame a company owner For his employee committing murder due, in some part, to his marijuana use, yet you not only give a pass to, but lead the cheers for the man that is suing the state for the right to sell it to him?!!! Do I have that right?? Do you realize how silly you sound?

    Let’s deal with one thing at a time. Once again:

    “All right straight out I’ll tell you what bothers me about Kraft. I think his implementation of the NFL imposed rule that requires the networks to show the team owners at least twice during a game adds nothing to the game”

    Your failure to address this is making you look awful bad…if you admit you made it up, I will move on to deconstruct the rest of your weak points….or, you can just post “no mas” and we’ll move on. I’ll watch for the white towel from your corner!

  2. Since you haven’t (and will not be able to) provide a source for your ridiculous “rule” that was allegedly your source of the odd dislike of Kraft, let’s address the rest of your fallacious post.

    You are wrong about the Mankins trade. Don’t try to change your story. Of course it’s about money, but that’s not what you said. You said Bob Kraft did it to save HIMSELF money, and in doing so crippled the team. To deny it now is dishonest. If you think that Robert Kraft has anything to do with personnel decisions, you are being foolish. Bill Belichick is not going to coach for a meddling owner. It’s that simple. It relates to money only in that Belichick (not Kraft) has decided that he will not pay players for past performance, but only wha they are currently worth or will be worth going forward. Have you noticed how that has worked out? Please point to a team that has come CLOSE to the consistent success enjoyed by the NEP over the last 15 years. You can’t. You said that Mankins was traded to save Bob Kraft money. That is simply not true. He was traded by Belichick because it was keeping with his philosophy on how to build a consistently successful team. Brady had a bad game after the trade so that proves your point? Please! You said they were giving up on the season. You said they were satisfied with mediocrity and were not championship driven. You were WRONG.

    I do not give a second thought as to who the owner is. I don’t think of him, or any of the other owners as “great men”. I don’t think about them, period. Why do you obsess about them? When they show one of them on TV, I look down at whatever I happen to have on my iPad for reading during the commercials. Does it bother you that much? I find it a bit odd, if it does. It may go a bit deeper than you want to admit. Envy maybe? Most of them seem to be second or third generation thanksdad types. Certainly not great men.

    As far as WEEI, I wouldn’t listen to that drivel with a gun to my head. I stopped listening years ago. That “homer” criticism is trite. I watch the Patriots on Sunday. I enjoy it. They win WAY more than anyone else. Why is the theory about the colts any more ridiculous than the bs about the patriots. It is all leak and rumor fueled speculation. You have no more insight in it than I. You, however, seem to have already concluded, somehow, that the Patriots cheated. I have not. Seems to me you have an agenda, and you try to hide it by attacking anyone or anything that doesn’t support your agenda with cries of homerism. This is just as intellectually dishonest as your original post about the Kraft TV rule…ZERO basis in fact. You were called on it this time, and caught in a lie.

    As far as the Hernandez situation, your stance puzzles me. A history of drug addiction? Really? He smoked pot in college. A substance so benign that its recreational use is legal in some states. Your former boss, whose virtue you trumpet, wants to sell it to the public. Will he be responsible for every crime committed by anyone with THC in their urine? Yet Bob Kraft is responsible to make sure that none of his employees smoke it?Where does personal responsibility come in to play? He passed the drug tests. He played well. What he did on his own time is on him. Is Fidelity responsible when one of there employees kills someone in a DUI on the weekend? Of course not. But you don’t care about that. Wonder why?

    • Declan:

      Talk about nonsense you just unloaded the most I’ve seen lately. Whether you listen to WEEI or not you were repeating the suggestion that the station dreamed up that the Colts under inflated the ball after intercepting it. You didn’t tell me how the other balls got deflated. That’s why believing the home boy make up is much more ridiculous than believing that the balls the Patriots had under their control which were not properly inflated reflects badly on the Patriots. The definition of being a homer is just that.

      Hernandez was and is addicted to marijuana. If it is so harmless why does the NFL suspend some players for a year for a second offense if caught using it? You don’t know if Hernandez passed any tests. Answer my question, do you think he didn’t smoke marijuana during the years he was playing for the Patriots both in season and off-season. Then if you do tell me how he was able to pass the tests if he took any? When you bring on to your team a 20 year old kid with a history of heavy marijuana use (the guy had great talent and no one picked him up until the 4th round when the Patriots did – why do you think that was the case) then there is an obligation to take extra steps to help the kid along and ensure he stays off of it which is against NFL rules. That some states legalize it has no bearing on the issue; the NFL has rules the teams must follow. And, by the way in the NFL what you do on your own time is not on the players. They ascribe to a code of conduct that they must follow. I didn’t hear Ray Rice or Adrian Peterson defending themselves by saying what they did was on their own time.

      You say you can’t figure out why I think the Patriots failure to do a better job in helping Hernandez stay straight. Let me tell you, had they paid more attention to the kid Odin Llyod and some other people might be alive today.

      As for Mankins I said Kraft followed the example of Henry and got rid of the expense of Mankins. It was to save him money. It did hurt the team and bummed out Brady but he was able to come back but the team was only at 2 and 2 a month after the trade. If you don’t think Kraft has no input into decisions so be it. I do. You wrote Belichick doesn’t pay players for past performance; get it straight, Belichick doesn’t pay anyone, he is an employee of Kraft. Kraft makes the money decisions. Belichick goes along with it. Belichick said Mankins was the best offensive player he ever coached – he was still up to his game – you don’t give someone like that away if you have a choice. Belichick and Brady are what make the Patriots into the winning team that they are adn they are able to overcome the tight wallet of Kraft.

      • Not all of the footballs were underinflated by 1 to 2lbs as originally reported. Only one football was underinflated by 1 to 2lbs, the one the Colts intercepted and turned over to the refs. The other were a “tick below,” the necessary threshold. This would suggest they lost .1 to .2lbs of air pressure going from hot to cold air, and that the Pats filled them to the minimum allowable air pressure to begin with. The Colts conspiracy theory is not malarkey when you look at the evidence in that light. The investigation is taking so long because the NFL has found nothing and they are going to look like fools, so they are searching long and hard for any evidence of wrong doing whatsoever. They completed the Atlanta Falcons crowd noise investigation already, and that came out weeks after the Deflategate report broke. So many people got so much wrong on this (the media, especially ESPN, should be ashamed), it will be impossible for the NFL to find anything except that the evidence was inconclusive.

        Hernandez likely passed the tests because I believe the off season, non-performance enhancing, test dates are known well in advance and someone who has used pot for so long, in systems that test for it, is experienced in either using masking agents, or stops using marijuana during test time. THC, the psychoactive agent in marijuana, is stored in fact cells. If you have a low body fat % like an elite athlete, it is easier to shed the THC from your system. I recently read its virtually impossible to fail these non performance enhancing drug tests unless you are an absolute moron, i.e. Josh Gordon.

  3. Matt:

    ” I think his implementation of the NFL imposed rule that requires the networks to show the team owners at least twice during a game adds nothing to the game”

    I won’t even bother addressing the rest of that hot air until you either back this up or admit you made it up. you might be able to fool some people with your straw man argument, but the rest of us are….Still Waiting…

  4. Matt,

    So your hatred for Bob Kraft is based on an urban myth for which (I assume) you can provide no source. That simply is NOT true. I think that’s why your Patriots posts bring out the ire in people..in contrast to most of your stuff, your Patriots posts are often not just wrong, but as Davd said, lazily wrong. You deal with this like most people deal with the federal government. You take the party line, believe it,a nd add a couple of complete untruths, which have become conventional wisdom, to back up your position.

    As far as deflate gate goes, it seems like your not even paying attention on that. The fact that the NFL has dragged out and botched the “investigation” somehow makes you think the Patriots are guilty of cheatin? What? How does that even make sense. Are you choosing to ignore the latest leaked info, that indicates that the investigation is focusing on the Colts and the possibility that they actually deflated the intercepted all? Of course…because that doesn’t help support the rest of your fairytale!

    It’s a beautiful day, so I imagine it will take you a couple days to cite the source of the rule Bob Craft pushed through regarding face time on TV. To quote a great man, Judge Schmails (Caddyshack), Well, we’re waiting!!

    Have a nice weekend.

    • Declan:

      Perhaps you should understand that my feelings toward being assaulted by the ego of the owners is shared. Here’s another guy: And it’s not just the Cowboys honcho who gets a lot of screen time. Robert Kraft, Jeffrey Lurie, Arthur Blank, Jim Irsay—if you’re a football fan, you know their names and faces. And that’s a shame. No one needs another boss in his life, nor another intrusion of the market. It’s bad enough that sports are cluttered up with a relentless accretion of commercials and logos, but at least there’s a clear purpose behind those things. Shots of the owners don’t contribute to anyone’s bank account. . . . oh God, I’m pretty sure that’s Rush Limbaugh sitting next to Bob Kraft . . . After CBS showed a Kraft high-five and then a replay of that high-five during a Patriots game earlier this year, John Lynch delivered a version of the speech you hear about Kraft pretty much every week: “I gotta tell ya, this is one of the class people in football, and there’s an old saying: It starts at the top. And I truly believe that, here in New England, it’s not a coincidence that their success has really taken off since Robert Kraft and the Kraft family have taken it over. Tremendous business minds that know how to win. They’re great for the community and great people, on top of it.” That’s a good piece of fawnin’ right there!”
      I don’t hate Kraft but I don’t see him as part of the experience of watching an NFL game – you do, so be it.

      My posts on the Patriots have not been wrong. I was right as to the reason why Mankins was traded; it was money. Belichick called him the best offensive player he ever coached. Brady’s reaction was to come up with a horrible performance. They were able to replace him but the original deal was to save money in the same manner Henry gave up on his team in the middle of last year.

      So tell me where I have been wrong or told any untruths. You apparently don’t see any negligence in a team bringing in a 20-year-old kid with a history of drug addiction and not helping him. Apparently you also believe Hernandez was properly tested and he had stopped using marijuana while he was playing. Addicts don’t stop; testing can be compromised.

      And stop embarrassing yourself with the story thrown out on WEEI about the Colts taking the air out of the ball. You really are a homer. It is guys like you who are lazily wrong because you think the Patriots walk on water and any criticism of them is wrong. You are the one who buys into the party line that these team owners are great men. No amount of evidence otherwise will dissuade you from that position. What can I say but go on cheering for them.

  5. Have to defend Matt here. Don’t believe he is stating beliefs, only better defenses. Or how about the cognitive affects of being a tackling dummy for 20 years? Drug use plus a dozen concussions, toss in an expert or two, and who knows.

    As for the pats and NFL, your goal as a plaintiffs lawyer is to name defendants with the deepest possible pockets and hopefully survive a motion to dismiss.

    • Matt is the man. He’s almost always has great insight into the political and criminal goings on of Boston and the world. However, I feel he missed the mark on this one. I re-read the article, it doesn’t seem like he’s posing rhetorical questions regarding the effect of AH’s marijuana use or how a plaintiff’s attorney would view the Patriots’ culpability. It seems like what he said is what he believes about these issues. We don’t all have to agree with each other. I like to use the comments sections as way to get my own thoughts and ideas out there to a group of open-minded, intelligent people. If I ever post a comment that doesn’t make much sense, I would except Matt and the other commenters to call me out on it.

      • Dave:

        While you were writing this I was responding to your earlier comment. You are right in what you say and as you know I don’t profess to be correct all the time (my title is trekking toward the truth which means I’m a long way from it). I appreciate it when I am called out upon something I said and if I can explain it further I try. If I am wrong I like to think I’ll admit it even though no one liked to admit being wrong. I open the comments section so people will disagree or give a different slant which helps everyone involved, including me, get a better understanding of the issue. As you said we all hope to write in an open-minded, intelligent and civil manner for our own benefit and that of others who may be interested in the topic.

    • Jim:

      Thanks for the defense, sometimes I need all the support I can get especially if I say anything negative about the Patriots.

  6. Matt…..seriously? You are blaming marijuana for AH’s string of violent crimes? C’mon that’s just intellectually disingenuous. Marijuana does not provoke violent behavior. If that were any defense at all don’t you think it would have been raised by AH’s attorney’s? Hell they brought in the drug expert to discuss the effects of PCP that the other two knuckleheads were smoking. To say that AH’s marijuana use had anything to with his violent behavior is absurd.

    “The Patriots have had the curtain torn away to show their true colors: Spygate, Deflategate and the Hernandez affair.” Really? Spygate was overblown, the Pats got busted for filming from the sideline, you could film anywhere else in the stadium, meaning they could send someone in the stands to film the other team, it was semantics and the NFL came down hard because of their BS “integrity of the game” shtick. Deflategate? The completely frivolous botched conspiracy sting operation whose investigation has taken longer than both the AH trial and the Whitey Bulger trial? Whose findings will probably be released in a Friday afternoon news dump exonerating the Pats? You are trying to compare these two minor scandals to AH’s murder cases? Talk about trivializing the acts of a serial killer. To say the Pats are in any way culpable for the murderous rampage of a sociopath is laughable. Why haven’t we gone after the Baltimore Ravens for helping Ray Lewis walk on his murder rap? This is crazy talk. After all of the amazing analysis on the Bulger case, this trial, and the Middle East, I’m disappointed at the lazy conclusions drawn here.

    • Matt,

      What a weak load of BS this is. You have some sort of bizarre hatred of the Patriots and there success. I remember when you told us that Krafts cheapness had cost Tom Brady a chance at success this season after the Mankins trade…they were all done, remember? When that silly train of thought blew up in your face, you suddenly went silent on all things Patriot. Now this…how ridiculous! Deflate gate? What exactly has that shown us? Now Kraft and Belichick are responsible for the OFF field behavior of everyone on the team? They should have anticipated a murder because a wealthy 24 year olds smoked pot? Please…if marijuana is so evil, why was your former boss the first one to line up for a license to get rich off of its sale in Massachusetts?? Preposterous!

      Please, stop embarrassing yourself…either tell everybody what really bothers you about Kraft or move on to a new topic. I love the blog, but this stuff makes me feel sorry for you.

      • Declan:
        Good memory. I did say that Kraft was following the lead of Henry who dumped all his big money guys in the middle of the pennant race to save money when he dumped Mankins. I believed at the time that Brady was bummed-out becasue of it and if I remember he had a couple of bad games after that. I was wrong since Brady was able to recover his edge thanks to Connolly and he carried the team on to the championship. I did go mostly silent but I got my grandson a Patriot’s shirt with the name “Connolly” on the back that he wears to school everyday so that shows even in my silence I was still a fan, doesn’t it?

        True, as I indicated to Dave perhaps I got carried away bringing in Spygate and Deflategate. But if you will read my response to him you will understand why I feel the Patriots were negligent in their handling of Hernandez.

        I do think marijuana is evil for some people. I’ve seen good students become pretty much drop outs when they started smoking it. I don’t say it is bad for adults who want to smoke it in a recreational manner but I always felt keeping the stigma on it was a good idea to send a message to the young kids that what they are doing is not approved by society. Legalizing it, even under the fake scheme of requiring some to get prescriptions, is not something I am in favor of doing. I suggest the type of use we saw Hernandez engage in (chain-sloking) severely damages one’s judgment leading to the violence of the type we saw Hernandez commit. Here’s a story by one who didn’t become violent but did become addicted. http://www.thebolditalic.com/articles/6058-smoking-too-much-weed-almost-ruined-my-life

        As for my former boss I had nothing to do with that venture. I have a self-imposed rule not to criticize people who have been good to me. He was good to me when I worked for him. I’ll let it rest at that.

        All right straight out I’ll tell you what bothers me about Kraft. I think his implementation of the NFL imposed rule that requires the networks to show the team owners at least twice during a game adds nothing to the game. I don’t know why I have to see him, or any other team owner, when I turn on the TV to watch a game. It is another interruption of a game I used to enjoy quite a bit but with that stuff and the inundation of commercials I’ve lost a lot of interest. I end up going over to PBS or Turner Classical during the games and sometimes forget to return.

        I agree Kraft was a wise man when he hired Belichick. I remember the local sports news doing a job on him at the time for giving up a high draft choice to get a coach who hadn’t seemed particularly successful in the past. He rightly deserves the credit for making the Patriots into a super team more than any other person. How can I dislike the man too much when he has provided such a winning team. But just because he did well in one instance doesn’t mean I have to step back and not criticize him if I think he did wrong. Fortunately, there are lots of people out there like you who will come to his defense and give a different perspective. Rest assured in Patriotchusetts my sorry little voice criticizing Bob will not disturb his sleep. Thanks for loving the blog.

    • Dave:

      Let’s start here. “Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA), a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, strongly contradicts this notion of a nonviolent world of marijuana smoking. it went on to note: “4 million youths (16% of those aged 12 to 17) used marijuana in the past year; approximately 21% of youths (5 million) engaged in serious fighting at school or work, almost 16% (4 million) took part in a group-against-group fight, and almost 8% (2 million) attacked someone with the intent to seriously hurt them during the past year.” https://www.mainstreet.com/article/does-marijuana-cause-violence/page/3

      The defense attorneys did not raise that defense because they decided their defense was that Hernandez didn’t do it, not that he did it but it was the marijuana induced daze that caused it.

      If deflategate is so overblown why is it taking so long to investigate what happened? It seems to me that a month would have easily put the matter to bed but here it is three months later and the NFL is sitting on the investigation. The issue comes down to whether the Patriots were cheating or not. We still don’t know that so the delay prompts concern that there is more to it than we know. You suggest as much when you say the findings will come down late Friday afternoon but that would only happen if the Patriots are implicated in wrongdoing.

      Spygate was hardly overblown. Look at the penalties that were handed out which as I recall were quite severe. Agree with you on “the integrity of the game” BS. I do agree though that those are minor things. They reflect somewhat badly on the Patriots who seem to me able to win it straight up as they have shown without engaging in such stupid tactics. i wonder why they do them just like I wonder why guys I knew who could reach their goal walking on the straight and narrow always had to take a roundabout way often wandering into ill advised paths.

      No I don’t compare them to Hernandez and probably should not have made that comparison.

      Sorry for your disappointment but let me go through it again. When Hernandez born 11/06/89 was drafted by the Patriots on Friday April 23, 2010 he was 20 years old. He had a bad history of marijuana abuse known to his Florida team and the Patriots. As you know marijuana use is prohibited by NFL rules. One player Josh Gordon was suspended for a year because of that use.

      During the trial of the muder of Odin Llyond on June 13, 2013, we learned that Hernandez was a chain-smoker of marijuana; we even saw him waiting outside his house for Shayanna to come out puffing away like the little train that could; and we learned that his best friends seemed to be marijuana dealers. Now you may believe that from the time he went to Patriot training camp until the spring of 2013 he didn’t use marijuana. if that is the case, then the Patriots cannot be faulted in any way which you suggest and I agree.

      I happen to believe that his being addicted while playing for Florida and his known addiction leading up to the time of Llyod’s murder shows that he continued his marijuana use over the time he was under contract to the Patriots. I also believe that any drug test administered by the NFL to him either during the season or during the off-season (remember Wes Welker tested positively for amphetamines during the off-season) would have shown his continuing use of marijuana between the summer of 2010 and spring 2013. If they didn’t, then I wonder about the validity of the tests; if they did then I wonder about the integrity of the NFL.

      I also believe that the Patriots were under an obligation bringing on a twenty-year-old young man knowing his addiction to marijuana to take extra steps to ensure he does not slip back into his marijuana way of life. We know that not special steps were taken because when he murdered Llyod he had fallen back. (You give him a pass on the marijuana use thinking it doesn’t cause violence, I think otherwise.)

      I don’t intent to minimize Hernandez’s actions. He is if shown to have murdered the people in Boston a serial killer every much as those guys we heard from in the Whitey case. (Do you think Hernandez can make a deal with the feds against someone they might be after and get out sooner?) I don’t put all the responsibility on the Patriots because I do believe Hernandez is responsible for his own actions. I do however believe had the Patriots acted properly and recognized which they should have the type of person they were paying that they could have prevented him from turning into the nasty murderer which he became.

      I’m not up to date on the Ravens case so I can’t answer your question with respect to him. As I suggest this could have been prevented by the Patriots since all the indicia of a young man in need of help were present when they took him on. Their were negligent in their failure to properly test, control and require treatment for him. I expect all this will play out in the future. Although no one in the Patriots will go to prison for this failure it may cost them a lot of money.

      • Couple of thoughts, and I’m sorry if I came off as attacking you, it wasn’t my intention. We will have to agree to disagree on Spygate, I think it was a harsh penalty because otherwise the NFL would look weak, not because the infraction itself was particularly egregious.

        I don’t think marijuana use leads directly to violent behavior. There is still much we don’t know about marijuana, its long term effects being one of them. Here is an article that refutes the claim that marijuana use itself does not lead to violence. http://learnaboutmarijuanawa.org/factsheets/aggression.htm

        Its withdrawal symptoms make one irritiable, but its immediate effects make one more relaxed and calm. Perhaps there is an argument to made about it inducing paranoia, but I think the numbers you are citing do not reflect causality, but that people with mental issues, tough upbringings, etc are more likely to use substances and be involved in violence. Think about pop culture itself. One of the most successful rap albums of all times is called “The Chronic,” in the early to mid 90s, gangsta rap culture made it cool to smoke pot and be a thug and commit violent acts. But then you have Bob Marley, who professed peace and “One Love.” The guy smoked pot religiously (no pun intended, he was a Rastafarian). If a kid gets his hands on pot, how much supervision does he have at home? What other issues is he/she dealing with that cause him/her to use marijuana, act out in a violent manner, etc. I think the connection is too attenuated to make. I’m only a few years removed from college. What we definitely know is that alcohol fuels violence. All of the fights/scuffles/assaults, etc. I witnessed were alcohol induced. The stoners would sit on the couch and laugh at the drunks beating the hell out of each other. Did Hernandez drink the night of Llyod’s murder? Here is what one witness testified,

        “A Rhode Island bar manager also testified Thursday that Hernandez spent the earlier portion of that night with his fiancee and two other couples at South St Cafe in Providence where he ordered 10 Sex On The Beach drinks, 11 shots of Hennessy Cognac, two shots of Grey Goose vodka, and seven Bud Lights. The manager also claimed that Hernandez smoked marijuana outside the bar with one of his friends. Hernandez’s tab totaled $273.45, including tip. The transaction occurred at 12:18 a.m — approximately two hours before the gas station footage and before Lloyd was shot and killed, according to the Hartford Courant.”

        We also know that the night of the double murder AH had been drinking in the bar, and felt slighted after one of the victims bumped him/spilled a drink on him. When he shot his friend in the face, it was a dispute over a bar tab. Where these marijuana hazed fits of rage, or did AH get a bit of liquid courage when decided to pull the trigger in all of these instances? I think the science and the anecdotal evidence points to the latter.

  7. It is a mandatory sentence. Once convicted of 1st degree murder the judge has no discretion but to impose the automatic penalty. Why wait? Bradley, Lloyd, Abreu and Furtado are all suing AH. All of his remaining assets will be chewed up by lawyers fees leaving him judgment proof. He’ll soon be in the same boat as Whitey, Broke. The families of the four victims should look to a deeper pocket for relief. If possible Bradley should file a claim against the Patriots, Kraft and Bellichik in Federal Court in Miami. The other three could join in later. Seek a billion dollars in damages. The defendants Kraft and Bellichik failed to supervise or monitor AH. They knew AH had character issues and maybe gang affiliation yet still brought him to Boston. They paid him which facilitated his drug use and weapon purchases. They were negligent in their dealings with AH, even reckless. They provided inadequate guidance or supervision. The Patriots took the risks and those shot by AH suffered the consequences. Jurors in South Florida wouldn’t necessarily tilt to Kraft and Bellichik. The families of the victims may be the new owners of that NFL franchise. 2. You are right about 2nd degree murder. It would be easy for the SJC to say that the episode took place in too restricted a time frame to justify that finding. That heavy doses of weed would likely disorient the defendant and reduce his culpability. 3. How do you explain Bradley claiming he was shot by AH in Miami. He is taken to the hospital for a gunshot wound to the eye. Yet no charges are filed against AH even after being named in the civil suit. Connolly never shoots anyone but they charge him with a shooting that took place 25 years ago. What a crazy state Florida is. 4. The theory of feckless police work and friendship with Lloyd the defense employed which they boxed themselves into in their ill conceived opening was a loser from the get go. Only someone from Harvard or a big firm could up with that.

    • This is a joke post right? Do you realize April Fool’s day was 15 days ago? To say the Patriots were negligent in allowing AH to murder people is asinine.

  8. Matt would you comment on why the Judge would take a Jury aside after rendering the Guilty Finding and then inform them of Hernandez’s pending murder cases. Would she have done this if the Jury had returned a “not guilty” verdict? Was she trying to grandstand after her many pro defense rulings? Also maybe Hernandez will plead guilty to the upcoming indictments , as he is now serving a life sentence , and save us taxpayers some cash.

    • JRC:

      JRC – as you might know I’m not too happy with the way the judge ran things. I have no explanation for her doing that with the jury since it is absolutely irrelevant to anything in the trial or the deliberations. Since I don’t trust that judge I could surmise that she may have been hoping she’d find out from the jurors that they already knew that and if that was the case she could have made a big ado about it saying that the jury was not fair and asked counsel to file motions to set aside the verdict. Other than that, it makes no sense and I had not heard that she did it.

      Hernandez can’t afford to plead guilty – then all hope is gone – he has to hope to win on an appeal of the case he just lost which is doubtful given the judge leaned heavily for him and hope to beat the Suffolk cases. He won’t be saving us much cash since he’s going to be around for a while.

  9. Chain smoking weed, eh? He must of had something eating at him. Too bad Hernandez liked to play with guns. There’s no situation a gun can’t make worse. The guy had a gift from God, and, he wasted it.

    Matt: Why was the sentence passed upon conviction? In my experience, sentencing is always a separate procedure that occurs a couple months after trial. Out here, IL, bench trials are the only proceedings that yield immediate sentences. Are things different out in Mass.?

    • Khalid:

      Mandatory sentence in first degree case is life without parole – no reason to delay it.