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Judge rejects move by ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez to throw out or reduce murder conviction

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FALL RIVER, Massachusetts — A Massachusetts judge who oversaw the trial of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez has rejected a request to throw out his first-degree murder conviction or reduce it to second-degree murder.

Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh turned down a motion for a required finding of not guilty in the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd. A jury convicted Hernandez in April. The motion was a procedural step that had to be taken before an appeal.

PHOTO: Judge E. Susan Garsh presides at a hearing for Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace, co-defendants of ex-New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez, at Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Mass., Friday, June 26, 2015. Wallace and Ortiz are accused of joining Hernandez to kill Odin Lloyd in 2013. (Ted Fitzgerald/Boston Herald via AP, Pool)
Judge E. Susan Garsh presides at a hearing for Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace, co-defendants of ex-New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez, at Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Mass., Friday, June 26, 2015. Wallace and Ortiz are accused of joining Hernandez to kill Odin Lloyd in 2013. (Ted Fitzgerald/Boston Herald via AP, Pool)

Garsh says in the decision released Wednesday that prosecutors proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

The first-degree murder conviction carries an automatic sentence of life without parole.

Still pending is a separate request from Hernandez's lawyers to investigate an anonymous tip that a juror in the case might have been untruthful during jury selection.

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