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Disgraced ex-NFL star acquitted of double murder

© GETTY/AFP/File | Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, pictured in December 2012, is currently serving a life sentence in prison without parole for murdering Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player in June 2013

NEW YORK (AFP) - 

Disgraced former American football star Aaron Hernandez, who is already serving a life sentence for murder, was cleared Friday of killing two other men in Boston in 2012.

Hernandez, 27, was accused of killing Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in a drive-by shooting in July 2012 in Boston's South End after an altercation outside a night club.

The former NFL player pleaded not guilty in the Massachusetts trial.

On Friday, the jury acquitted Hernandez on seven of eight charges after reportedly deliberating for 37 hours.

He was convicted only on an illegal firearms charge.

The other charges against Hernandez included armed assault with intent to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Hernandez was overcome with emotion as the verdict was read, moving his head from side to side, wiping his eyes and weeping.

"We're disappointed," Suffolk County district attorney Daniel Conley told reporters. "The jury just didn't see it our way."

The decision came almost exactly two years after the former New England Patriots tight end was sentenced to life in prison without parole for murdering Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player in June 2013.

"That's certainly comforting to the families," said Conley, adding that Hernandez will "spend the rest of his natural life behind bars."

Defense lawyer Ronald Sullivan told reporters that Hernandez was wrongly accused.

"We are extraordinarily thankful to the jury," Sullivan said.

The 2015 conviction cemented a spectacular fall from grace for Hernandez, who once had a $40 million, five-year contract with the Patriots.

The team dropped Hernandez just hours after his arrest on June 26, 2013, nine days after Lloyd was found dead.

© 2017 AFP