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FALL RIVER (CBSMiami/AP) – To put it in football terms, the penalty was declined.

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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.

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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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