Aaron Hernandez 'I'm Not Mentally Ill'

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Ex-New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez just took the witness stand for the first time in his high-profile murder case ... and told the court he's not mentally ill.

During the hearing, the judge peppered Hernandez with a barrage of questions about his overall health and mental state. Hernandez -- who was pretty composed on the stand -- insisted he's A-OK.

Hernandez has pled not guilty to the murder of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd

If convicted ... Hernandez faces life in prison.  When asked if he understood the gravity of the situation, Hernandez told the judge he got it.