News

Lawyers for ex-NFL star Hernandez ask judge to drop murder charge

Lawyers for ex-NFL star Hernandez ask judge to drop murder charge

AARON HERNANDEZ:Hernandez, who is also charged with gunning down two men he encountered at a Boston nightclub in an apparently unrelated incident in 2012, sat quietly in court during Monday's hearing, wearing a blue blazer and tie. Associate Justice Susan Garsh allowed Hernandez's handcuffs to be removed during the hearing, a request that had been denied in a Boston courtroom last month. Photo: Associated Press

By Scott Malone

FALL RIVER Mass. (Reuters) – Attorneys for former NFL star Aaron Hernandez on Monday called on a judge to throw out charges that the ex-tight end murdered a semiprofessional football player in June 2013, one of three homicides Hernandez is charged with.

Defense attorneys argued that prosecutors probing the death of Odin Lloyd, an associate of Hernandez’s who was found shot dead in an industrial park near the former New England Patriots’ home in North Attleborough, Massachusetts, failed to produce evidence showing that Hernandez had a motive to commit the crime or linking him to the shooting.

“This was, we submit, a deliberate campaign not to enlighten the grand jury about evidence which would help them decide who had in fact committed this crime, but to tarnish Mr. Hernandez, his character, his background in such a way that they would overlook the absence of direct evidence of culpability,” defense attorney James Sultan told a pre-trial hearing in Fall River District Court.

Prosecutors countered, saying they had presented volumes of evidence, including witness testimony and video from surveillance cameras in Hernandez’ home that link him to the murder. Police have not recovered the handgun used in the shooting.

Hernandez, who is also charged with gunning down two men he encountered at a Boston nightclub in an apparently unrelated incident in 2012, sat quietly in court during Monday’s hearing, wearing a blue blazer and tie. Associate Justice Susan Garsh allowed Hernandez’s handcuffs to be removed during the hearing, a request that had been denied in a Boston courtroom last month.

Prosecutors argued that, in addition to their direct evidence, Hernandez’s involvement in other shootings was relevant in the case. They noted that both the alleged murder of Lloyd and the alleged shooting of Cape Verdean nationals Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado in 2012 traced back to a dispute at a nightclub.

“These incidents seemed to have a suggestion of a common plan or pattern,” said William McCauley, first assistant district attorney for Bristol County. “All starting out in a nightclub, gun produced, whether a shooting followed or not. And it was our duty to inquire into these things to determine what relevance they were.”

Defense attorneys also asked the judge to throw out some of the evidence gathered in a search of Hernandez’ home.

Hernandez has denied all three murders. The Patriots cut ties with Hernandez hours after his arrest on June 26, 2013.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Latest Headlines

in Local

Biddeford Fire Sends 8 to Hospital

GENERIC FIRE LARGE

The Maine fire marshal's office says an apartment building fire in Biddeford that injured two people was intentionally set.

in Local

Pedestrian Hit By a Car in Casco

Casco crash 091814

A pedestrian was critically hurt when he was hit by a car in Casco Thursday morning.

in Local

Woman Killed in Tractor Trailer Accident

GENERIC ACCIDENT

KITTERY, Maine (WGAN) - State Police say a woman has been killed in a tractor trailer accident early Thursday afternoon.

in Local

Chase Ends in Portland, 1 Suspect Detained, 1 Still on the Loose

chase crash 091814

A high speed chase has ended in a residential area in Portland, one suspect has been caught, another is in on the loose.

in Local

Man Who Pushed Wife Off Maine Cliff Nears Sentence

GENERIC GAVEL AND FLAG

A former Maine resident convicted of trying to kill his wife by pushing her off a cliff in Camden Hills State Park is set to be sentenced in one week.