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5 Athletes Convicted of Murder

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There has been a great deal of outcry over O.J. Simpson’s recent parole. The 70-year-old Hall-of-Famer was granted parole after serving nine years for a robbery that seemed straight out of a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode. Most Americans saw his lengthy prison sentence as a bit of delayed, rough justice for the alleged murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.

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Still, a large majority of Americans feel that our justice system failed in trying him for those murders and that Simpson should be spending the rest of his life behind bars. Maybe they can take solace in the stories of these five professional athletes who were convicted of murder.

Rae Carruth

The then-Carolina Panthers’ wide receiver hired Van Brett Watkins, Sr., to kill Cherica Adams in November 1999. Adams was carrying Carruth’s unborn son and was trailing Carruth in her car when Carruth stopped his car in front of hers. Watkins then passed by in a vehicle driven by Michael Kennedy and shot Adams. Carruth then drove away. Adams managed to dial 911 and describe what happened. She was taken to a hospital where she slipped into a coma. Adams passed away on Dec. 14, 1999. Her baby was born, but suffers severe brain damage. After fleeing police, Carruth was apprehended in West Tennessee and taken back to Charlotte. He was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder and using an instrument to destroy an unborn child. Watkins was sentenced to a minimum of 40 years in prison and Kennedy was given 11 years. Carruth is projected to be released from prison this October.

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Estaban de Jesús

The hard-living boxer was high on cocaine when he shot 17-year-old Roberto Cintron Gonzalez in the head after a traffic dispute in Puerto Rico over Thanksgiving weekend in 1980. There, he became a born-again Christian and preacher. In 1985, he learned that he had acquired AIDS as a result of sharing needles in his drug use. The former lightweight champion was transferred to an AIDS clinic in 1989, where he died that May.

Del Fontaine

The Canadian middleweight champion went to Great Britain in 1931 where his life and career proceeded to fall apart. He began having an affair with 21-year-old Hilda Meek, and found out she was two-timing him. A drunken Fontaine violently confronted Meek and when her mother tried to intervene, he pulled out a pistol. Fontaine chased both of them into the street and shot them both, killing Hilda. He was sentenced to death for the murder and hanged on Oct. 29, 1935.

Aaron Hernandez

The most well-known athlete on this list, Hernandez' ties to trouble went all the back to his time at Florida, during which he was connected to several shootings. The one charge that the former New England Patriots tight end was actually convicted of was the murder of Odin Lloyd in 2013. Lloyd was a friend of Hernandez and was actually dating the sister of his fiancée. But on June 16, he had upset Hernandez, who murdered him in his home the next day. Hernandez was quickly charged with the killing and then convicted of first-degree murder in April 2015. While his conviction was under appeal, Hernandez hung himself in prison this past April.

Carlos Monzón

One of the greatest middleweights of all time also was violent outside the ring and that carried over into his retirement. In 1988, Monzón strangled his wife, Alicia Muñiz, and threw her off a balcony to death while the two were vacationing in Mar del Plata, a resort city in his native Argentina. Monzón was sentenced to 11 years in prison. He died in a car wreck on his way back to prison from a weekend furlough in 1995.

— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.