Aaron Hernandez, ex-NFL player for the New England Patriots, appeared in court today with the defense team tasked with defending him against charges that he murdered his friend, Odin Lloyd. Defense attorneys claim that prosecutors on the case are leaking information on the case, jeopardizing Hernandez’s right to a fair and impartial jury. Prosecutors deny the charge. Hernandez is being held in jail without bail on charges of weapons violations and murder. He has pleaded not guilty.
Hernandez, sporting a jacket and tie, reportedly glanced at the family of Odin Lloyd, the man he allegedly murdered execution-style and left in an industrial park near Hernandez’s home on June 17. Lloyd played football on a semi-professional basis and was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee. Prosecutors contend that Lloyd was killed because he had talked to some people with whom Hernandez had a problem.
After Aaron Hernandez entered the courtroom, Lloyd’s mother, Ursula Ward, started to cry and left immediately. At one point, Hernandez mouthed the words, “I love you” to his own mother, who was present in court with his fiancee. Also in the courtroom for the hearing were fans of Hernandez wearing pins reading “Supporting his Innocence” and jerseys in support of the accused.
Evidence against Hernandez includes surveillance photos, fingerprints, ballistics testing, cell phone records, a piece of chewed bubble gum and a toll booth photo.
The lawyers for Aaron Hernandez, who is charged with murder in the death of Odin Lloyd, appeared in court and cited publicized reports that a current NFL player had been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury regarding the case, saying that it was evident that somebody involved in the case had been speaking about it to reporters. The defense did not offer evidence to support their allegations.
Prosecutor William McCauley told the judge assigned to the case, E. Susan Garsh, that after speaking with his investigative team, he believed that the leaks were not coming from them.
The defense filed a motion requesting that Garsh, the judge assigned to the case, issue a formal gag order in the case along with instructions for both defense and prosecution on ways to remain compliant with the order. Garsh asked the defense to submit what instructions they would like by Jan. 8. The prosecutors then must respond by Jan. 15.
During Monday’s session, the defense team also complained that the prosecutors are withholding from the defense forensic and other evidence items they plan to use during Aaron Hernandez’s trial. The prosecutors denied that they are in possession of any evidence that has not been shared with the defense.
Hernandez has been described as relaxed, even smiling multiple times while speaking with a defense attorney. He did not speak formally in court. As Hernandez was placed in handcuffs and escorted from the courtroom, he glanced at his fiancee and mother. His mother was heard saying, “Merry Christmas.”
The ex-NFL player, Aaron Hernandez, is scheduled to appear in court again on February 5th for a pretrial hearing as he defends himself against charges that he murdered Olin Lloyd.
By Jennifer Pfalz