"I do not think that [Aaron Hernandez] pulled the trigger on Odin Lloyd and I don't think he's responsible for that death," said Ron Sullivan, one of the two lead attorneys who successfully defended Hernandez against a separate double-murder charge in a trial that ended Friday.
After a month of arguments and six days of deliberations, a jury found Hernandez not guilty on every charge except one gun-related crime. Hernandez had been accused in the deaths of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, who were killed in a drive-by shooting in Boston in 2012. Hernandez is already serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd, who was found shot six times in an industrial park less than a mile from Hernandez's North Attleboro home.
But that is a crime Sullivan does not believe Hernandez committed either. "I think that Aaron Hernandez associated himself with some people whom he should not have ... but I don't think he's responsible for that death," Sullivan told Jim Braude when he joined him on Greater Boston. Sullivan was also confident that Hernandez did not kill Abreu or Furtado.
"Alexander Bradley shot those two men," said Sullivan, referring to the prosecution's key witness, who testified that he was driving the car for Hernandez during the shooting and was granted immunity in exchange for his testimony. "The commonwealth got seduced by the celebrity of Aaron Hernandez â they wanted to get a big celebrity ex-football player conviction and they got blinded with the evidence ... when, if they had taken a sober look at the case, they would have seen that the real killer is the one whom they gave immunity to."
According to Sullivan, Hernandez's latest trial and acquittals were a "necessary first step" in the effort to appeal his conviction in Lloyd's murder. That appeal is currently before the state's highest court and arguments have not yet been scheduled.
"If the appeal is won, I fully expect that he's going to ask us to re-try the case," said Sullivan, adding that he would be willing to represent Hernandez in that case, as would Jose Baez, who was the second lead attorney in Hernandez's most recent trial. Baez also represented Casey Anthony in 2011 and recently told TMZ that he believes Hernandez will be a free man someday because he "always felt that this was a winnable case."
Sullivan continues to stand by comments he made following Friday's verdict, in which he called Hernandez a "beautiful young man" and has since been heavily criticized. "I got to know him over the course of the year and got to know him as an individual and became quite fond of Aaron," Sullivan told Greater Boston. "The Odin Lloyd conviction â we'll see about that. It's not final, as you know, there's an appeal pending ... so we'll see what happens."