Aaron Hernandez wasn’t the first star athlete to be involved in a murder, and he probably won’t be the last.
On April 15, the former New England Patriots tight end was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. Like Hernandez, many other standout athletes have been convicted of murder or been involved in murder-related crimes.
Here are nine former professional athletes that have been caught on the wrong side of the law.
NFL Wide Receiver: 1997-1999
A once promising wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers, Rae Carruth’s career was cut short when he was found guilty of conspiring to murder his pregnant girlfriend Cherica Adams.
In 1999, Carruth hired a hitman who shot Adams four times in a drive-by shooting. She died a month later due to her injuries, but her unborn son, Chancellor, survived. Born prematurely, Chancellor is now 15 years old and has cerebral palsy.
Carruth is currently serving out his 18-year prison sentence at the Nash Correctional Institution in North Carolina. His projected release date is in October 2018.
MLB Relief Pitcher: 1995-2005
Former Boston Red Sox reliever and two-time All Star Ugueth Urbina was convicted of attempted murder in 2007 after he attacked five farm workers on his Venezuelan ranch after he suspected them of stealing his gun. In the attack, the former World Series champion doused the men with gasoline and tried to injure them with a machete.
Urbina was released from prison in 2012 after serving roughly half of a 14-year sentence. Upon his release, the then 38-year old Urbina expressed interest in a MLB comeback, which has yet to come to fruition.
NFL Linebacker: 2009-2012
In December 2012, Kansas City Chief’s linebacker Jovan Belcher murdered his 22-year old girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, and then drove to the Chief’s training facility, where he fatally shot himself in the head. The couple had a three-month old daughter named Zoey.
In 2014, a medical examiner determined that Belcher suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) – a progressive degenerative brain disease found in individuals with a history of repetitive head injuries.
Former South African Sprinter
Nicknamed the “Blade Runner,” Oscar Pistorius went from an inspirational Paralympic champion to murderer when he fatally shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013.
Pistorius, who competed against both amputees and able-bodied athletes, claimed he had mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder. In October 2014, Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced to five years in prison.
NFL Running Back: 1969-1979
A Heisman Trophy winner and six-time Pro Bowl running back, Orenthal James “O.J.” Simpson was acquitted of the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman in 1995. In 1997, a civil court found Simpson legally responsible for the murders.
In 2008, the Hall of Famer was convicted of kidnapping and armed robbery, and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Simpson, who was also an actor and broadcaster, is serving his sentence at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Nevada.
NBA Power Forward/Center: 1990-1999
A former member of the New Jersey Nets, Jayson Williams pleaded guilty in the accidental shooting death of a limousine driver in 2010. The conviction stemmed from the February 2002 shooting of Costas “Gus” Christofi. Williams was reportedly playing with his shotgun while giving Christofi a tour of his home, when the weapon accidentally fired and killed the 55-year old.
Williams served an 18-month prison sentence and was released in 2012. Following his release from prison, Williams wrote an autobiography entitled Humbled: Letters from Prison.
NFL Wide Receiver: 2002-2012
Former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Donte Stallworth was sentenced to 30 days in jail after pleading guilty to DUI manslaughter in 2009. According to police, Stallworth hit and killed 59-year old pedestrian Mario Reyes, who was not in a crosswalk. Stallworth was drunk and under the influence of marijuana at the time of the accident.
Stallworth was released from county jail after serving 24 days of his sentence. He went on to play three more seasons in the NFL.
Rubin “Hurricane” Carter
Professional Boxer: 1961-1966
Former middleweight boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter served nearly 20 years in prison after he was twice wrongfully convicted of a 1966 triple murder. Carter was freed in 1985 after his attorneys filed petition of habeas corpus.
Carter chronicled his struggle for freedom in his autobiography The Sixteenth Round, which inspired the movie The Hurricane and the Bob Dylan song “Hurricane.” Carter, who served as executive director of the Association in Defence of the Wrongfully Convicted, died in April 2014.
NFL Linebacker: 1996-2012
Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was sentenced to 12 months’ probation after pleading guilty to misdemeanor obstruction of justice in relation to the stabbing deaths of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar in the year 2000. As part of a plea deal, the two-time Super Bowl champion testified against his co-defendants, who were ultimately found not guilty.
The victims’ families brought civil suits against Lewis, which were settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. Lewis is currently an NFL commentator for ESPN and will be eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2018.