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Hernandez Double Murder Case

Victim's Family Still Patriots Fans

4/20/2015 12:40 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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The family of one of the victims in the Aaron Hernandez double murder case says they will still root for the Patriots ... and will not hold Aaron's heinous crimes against the NFL team. 

We spoke with Susan Vincente ... cousin of Safiro Furtado, one of the two people killed in a drive-by shooting outside a Boston-area nightclub back in 2013. Hernandez is the prime suspect. 

"He needs to be brought to justice," Susan says ... "My cousin never had an enemy. He was calm and loving."

Susan says Safiro's mother is still devastated over the death of her son -- "It's still an open wound. It's been tough for her since day 1." 

Officials say Hernandez plotted the attack because someone in Furtado's party accidentally spilled a drink on the former NFL star inside the club. Hernandez has been charged with murder and his trial is expected to begin later this year. 

But when it comes to the Patriots, Susan says she does NOT hold anyone in the organization responsible for the murder -- "I'm still a Patriots fan. [Aaron] was just one person."

Tim Tebow's Parents

We're Praying for Aaron Hernandez

4/17/2015 11:16 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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Aaron Hernandez will be on the receiving end of some serious prayers from Tim Tebow's parents ... so says a rep for the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association

FYI -- Aaron and Tim were teammates at the University of Florida ... and Tim considered Aaron a good friend at the time. 

We spoke with a rep for the BTEA who tells us the Hernandez trial has been a hot topic at the association headquarters in Jacksonville ... and the decision was made to pray for Aaron's soul. 

"I can tell you that the situation has been mentioned by some people in the office the last few days and I know that Bob and Pam and the entire Tebow family haven't said much ... but they will absolutely be praying for Aaron Hernandez."

The rep continued, "We will actually dedicate a prayer to Hernandez on Tuesday."

The family of Odin Lloyd will also be a target for prayer -- with the rep saying, "We can be praying for [Hernandez] as well as all affected from the situation."

The rep added, "The Tebows are the real deal. They truly care about people and always want the best for everybody."

Run DMC Co-Founder

I'm Over Football

... Hockey's My Jam!

4/17/2015 8:32 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

The reign of the NFL is over ... long live HOCKEY ... so says one of the founding member of Run DMC. Darryl McDaniels

Darryl says he used to be a HUUUGE football fan -- until he saw the NY Rangers play. 

Now, he's one of their biggest fans -- and yesterday, the guy was like a ROCK STAR on his way into Madison Square Garden to watch his squad take on the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

BTW, the Rangers won the game 2-1. 

The Rangers have a bunch of celebrity fans -- including Tom Hanks, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon ... and Sarah Jessica Parker, when she's not too busy.

Russell Wilson

Hardcore Beach Training

... With Richard Sherman

4/17/2015 7:49 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

0417_seattle_seahawks_beach_photos_launchThe Seattle Seahawks stormed the beach in Hawaii this week ... for a full, hardcore workout session on the sand ... in front of a bunch of normies trying to relax on the sand. 

It's pretty cool -- imagine you're on a lounge chair with your pina colada ... when all of the sudden Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman and the rest of the squad roll up and start wind-sprinting!

BTW -- Richard was wearing those 5-toed shoe thingies ... and the whole gang brought it together for a group huddle at the end of the training sesh. 

Check out the pics. 

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Johnny Manziel

Rehab Was Great

... I'm a Changed Man

4/17/2015 7:22 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

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Johnny Manziel says he learned a "tremendous" amount about himself during his stint in rehab -- and says he's ready to prove he's a changed man. 

The Cleveland Browns QB just issued a statement ... in which he apologizes for letting down the Browns organization and his fans. 

He also says he takes "full responsibility" for his actions -- and though he doesn't get into specifics, he's clearly referring to his highly publicized alcohol fueled benders last season. 

He concludes by saying he wants to focus on football -- and wants to be "the best possible player, teammate, and man that [he] can be."

Here's the statement in full ... 

"I would like to thank my family, friends, the Browns organization, my teammates, and Browns fans everywhere, for your patience, understanding, and support during my stay at Caron.

The doctors and staff have been amazing and what I’ve learned in the last couple of months has been tremendous. I owe private apologies to a lot of people that I disappointed but a very public one to the Browns organization and the fans that I let down.

I take full responsibility for my actions and it’s my intention to work very hard to regain everyone’s trust and respect. I understand that will take time and will only happen through what I do and not what I say.

I also understand there’s a lot of curiosity about this but anyone who has a friend or family-member that’s been through things like this knows it’s an ongoing process. I’m going to continue to ask folks to try to respect my privacy as I determine to what degree I am comfortable talking about a subject which I consider very personal.

Most of you have been considerate about that and I thank you for it. I look forward to seeing my teammates next week and focusing on football and my desire to be the best possible player, teammate, and man that I can be."

Aaron Hernandez

On Suicide Watch

... After Murder Conviction

4/16/2015 3:16 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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Aaron Hernandez has been placed on suicide watch at the prison where he is temporarily being held ... TMZ Sports has learned. 

After Hernandez was convicted of murdering Odin Lloyd, he was transported to MCI Cedar Junction in Massachusetts ... where he will stay until he is transferred to his permanent prison. 

We're told he has been isolated from the general inmate population -- not only for his own protection (since he's a high profile inmate), but so officials can evaluate him ... and determine where he will stay at the prison. 

As far as the suicide watch goes, we're told it's not that uncommon for someone who just got sentenced to life behind bars. Unclear how long Aaron will stay on suicide watch.

Chris Johnson

'In Talks' With NFL Teams

... Prepping for Comeback

4/15/2015 2:34 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

Just one month after he was hit in the shoulder in a drive by shooting, Chris Johnson is already getting ready to return to the NFL -- and sources tell us he's "in talks" with multiple NFL teams. 

Johnson has previously said he's been checked out by a doctor -- and insists he's good to go. 

The big question was ... will NFL teams be interested? 

We're told from some pretty solid sources ... at the very least, there are teams that have expressed interest in the 29-year-old -- who had been training with NFL insider Jay Glazer before the shooting. 

In fact, Glazer gave Johnson high praise ... even after the incident ... saying he's not a bad guy, he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

No word on how close Johnson is to a deal ... but it's clear, CJ2K is convinced he'll be on a roster in 2015. 

Aaron Hernandez

Headed to Ultra-High Tech

Maximum Security Prison

4/15/2015 11:55 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0415-aaron-hernandez-fa-getty-01The prison that Aaron Hernandez will eventually call home is widely considered one of the most high-tech maximum security facilities in the country ... and maybe even the world ... TMZ Sports has learned.

We spoke with an official from the Massachusetts Dept. of Correction who tells us ... Hernandez will eventually end up at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Lancaster, Mass. 

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This place is insane (as far as prisons go) ... with 366 security cameras rolling 24/7 across 18 acres of land.

Officials say the computer system that operates just about every inch of the grounds is top-of -the- line stuff.

We're told the perimeter surveillance system includes taut wire and microwave detection systems ... and according to reports, no one has EVER successfully escaped from the prison. 

There's more ... according to reports, inmates must wear white sneakers to avoid gang colors. They're also allowed to display photos of family members -- but NO NAKED WOMEN are allowed to be displayed ... which might be an issue for A.H. considering his penchant for nude art

Before he ends up at SBCC, we're told Aaron will spend some time at MCI-Cedar Junction ... a transitional facility that's only a few miles from the stadium where the Patriots play. 

While there, we're told inmates are NOT allowed to have conjugal visits ... which sucks, but then again, maybe he shoulda thought about that before he killed Odin Lloyd.  

New England Patriots

Mum's the Word

on Aaron Hernandez

4/15/2015 9:09 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

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The New England Patriots are continuing to distance themselves from ANYTHING connected to Aaron Hernandez -- which is why team officials tell us they will NOT be issuing a statement on Wednesday's murder conviction. 

It's an interesting P.R. move for the team -- considering owner Bob Kraft was called as a witness during the murder trial. Kraft testified that Hernandez told him he didn't kill Odin Lloyd. 

The team could have strongly condemned Hernandez -- and reiterated they knew nothing about what he was doing in his personal life during his time with the team. 

But instead, it seems they're using the "Voldemort" strategy -- preferring not to speak his name at all. 

Aaron Hernandez

He's a Disgrace to Our City

... Says Mayor of Bristol

4/15/2015 8:17 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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Aaron Hernandez isn't just a murderer -- he's a stain on the city of Bristol ... so says the mayor. 

We spoke with Mayor Kenneth B. Cockayne ... who tells us the entire community is disgusted with Hernandez, who grew up in Bristol. 

"He was a role model for the kids and adults of Bristol -- and now the hearts of those children are crushed."

"We're sick of this case, and I'm glad it's over. It puts a bad light on our whole town. He shed a lot of bad light on all of us."

"Aaron Hernandez does not define this community."

Aaron Hernandez

GUILTY OF 1ST DEGREE MURDER

'Life In Prison'

4/15/2015 7:08 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

Aaron Hernandez has just been found guilty of 1st degree murder in the killing of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd ... and has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. 

Several people inside the courtroom began crying as the verdict was read ... including Aaron's fiancee and mother. 

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As the verdict was read, Hernandez was shaking his head in disbelief.  At one point, Hernandez turned to his fiancee and mouthed the words, "Be strong."

25-year-old Hernandez -- a former superstar tight end for the New England Patriots -- killed Lloyd on June 17th, 2013.  Lloyd was shot 6 times. 

Aaron was also found guilty of illegal gun possession and illegal ammunition possession. 

After sentencing in the Lloyd case, Hernandez will still stand trial in the shooting deaths of two people in Boston in 2012.  That trial is scheduled to begin in May. 

update_graphic_red_bar8:47 AM PT -- Hernandez has been ordered to serve time at MCI Cedar Junction at Walpole -- which is just under 4 miles from the stadium where the Patriots play. 

8:39 AM PT -- Hernandez has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. 

8:18 AM PT -- Odin Lloyd's mother Ursula Ward is now addressing the court -- and explaining how Hernandez destroyed her life.  

"I felt like I wanted to go into that hole with my son."

"I miss my baby boy Odin so much. But I know I will see him again some day. At that gives me the strength to go on."

Odin's mother says she forgives the people who had a hand in her son's murder -- and asked for everyone else to forgive him as well. 

Lawrence Phillips

Victim's Grandma Forgives NFL Star

'I'm Not Angry, I'm Sad'

4/14/2015 11:04 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0414-lawrence-phillips-Getty-01The grandmother of the man allegedly killed by ex-NFL star Lawrence Phillips tells TMZ Sports ... she's not mad at him -- saying, "If [my grandson] was going to stay in jail for 80 years, maybe this was better."

As we previously reported, Phillips -- the #6 overall pick in the 1996 NFL Draft -- is the main suspect in the murder of his prison cellmate Damion Soward in Kern Valley State Prison in California. 

We spoke with Damion's grandmother who told us several interesting things, including: 

1) Damion's 1st cousin is former NFL wide receiver R. Jay Soward (a 1st round pick in 2000). 
2) Damion told her he recently did 9 months in the hole at another prison after being caught with a weapon. 

0414-lawrence-phillips-r-jay-soward-SUB-Getty-01As far as how she feels about Phillips, she told us ... "I'm not angry. I'm sad for Damion. I love him and I'm sorry this happened to him."

Damion was doing 82 years to life on a murder conviction -- his grandmother says, "I'm not angry with anybody. Damion's life didn't have to be what he made it."

Jessie James Decker

2nd Baby Wasn't Planned

... Pleasant Surprise!

4/14/2015 6:27 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

It's tough to cover NY Jets receiver Eric Decker

Apparently, it's even tougher to cover his penis ... 'cause his wife is pregnant with Baby #2 ... and she tells us the kid wasn't exactly planned. 

We got country superstar Jessie James Decker out in NYC this morning ... who's due in September BTW ... and she told us a 2nd kid was always in the cards, but didn't expect it so soon! 

Sort of a pleasant surprise kind of a thing. 

Question is ... do you ever tell that to the kid? We asked Jessie ... she had a pretty good explanation. 

Congrats! 

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