On Thursday, the trial of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez and his role into the murder of former semiprofessional football player Odin Lloyd began.
Hernandez, 25, had a promising career as a tight end, but that all derailed quickly when this news was 1st revealed over two years ago. Lloyd was a personal friend of Hernandez and the two men were linked by the two sisters that each was dating:
Lloyd, who was shot six times, had been dating the sister of Mr. Hernandez’s fiancée. Prosecutors have said that Mr. Hernandez orchestrated the murder several days after Mr. Lloyd spoke at a Boston bar with individuals whom Mr. Hernandez did not like.
Hernandez stands trial for Lloyd’s murder and other charges as well.
Here is what you need to know about the Hernandez Trial:
1. 2 of Hernandez’s Associates Are Also Facing Charges
Hernandez’s associates, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, who have pleaded not guilty, also face murder charges in the slaying and will be tried separately.
2. Hernandez Did Not Necessarily Have to Pull the Trigger to Get a Murder Conviction
Superior Court Judge E. Susan Garsh, who is presiding, told jurors that prosecutors did not have to prove Hernandez pulled the trigger to secure a murder conviction. Rather, they must show that he “knowingly participated” in the slaying and intended to bring it to fruition, she said.
The prosecutors in this trial have suggested that Lloyd may have been killed because he knew too much about a previous crime, which would strengthen the argument that there was premeditation, linking Hernandez.
3. Hernandez’s Defense Attorney Michael Fee Maintained His Client’s Innocence in his Opening Statement
Fee, in his opening statement to the Bristol Superior Court jury, said:
“Aaron Hernandez is an innocent man. … Aaron Hernandez is not guilty.”
Fee said that the former player was specifically targeted from the beginning because of his stature:
And also criticized the investigation of Hernandez by calling it “sloppy and unprofessional” and the evidence police had collected “should have led them in another direction.”
We are here today because police and the prosecution targeted Aaron Hernandez from the very beginning. As soon as they found out Aaron Hernandez — a celebrity football player for the New England Patriots – was a friend of Odin Lloyd’s, it was over.
4. Several Pieces of Evidence Linking Hernandez to the Crime Scene Were Revealed
A marijuana joint found next to Lloyd in North Attleborough contained traces of both his DNA and the DNA of Hernandez.
According to Bristol County Assistant District Attorney Patrick Bomberg, in addition to the joint, a footprint at the murder scene in an industrial park also matched sneakers worn by Hernandez, and Hernandez’s DNA was found on a .45-caliber shell casing found in a car he had rented.
Hernandez and two associates drove Lloyd to a secluded, isolated area in North Attleborough, a town where Odin Lloyd knew no one but the defendant and the defendant’s fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins. There Odin Lloyd was shot six times. He was killed, and he was left in a secluded area.
The prosecution also began to question witnesses today.
Bishop Feehan High School student, Matthew Kent, testified today claiming that he had Lloyd’s body on an after-school jog.
5. The Defense’s Main Argument is that the Evidence is Circumstantial
Hernandez’s main argument for the defense is that the evidence presented in the case is circumstantial and doesn’t necessarily directly tie him to the actual act of murder against Lloyd.
Bomberg began by recounting the state’s largely circumstantial case to the jury. He said that Hernandez and two other men killed Lloyd and then
took evidence with them and tried to and, in some cases were successful, in destroying evidence.
Fee’s response to the prosecution‘s opening statements:
The prosecution will try to dazzle and distract you. They will go on and on.