Verdict Watch: Closing Arguments Begin in Murder Trial of Former NFL Player Aaron Hernandez
The former New England Patriots star faces murder charges for the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd
The murder trial of Aaron Hernandez is coming to a close.
Attorneys for the former New England Patriots star rested their case on Monday after calling just three witnesses. Closing arguments are scheduled to begin on Tuesday morning.
But despite the short defense presentation, the trial has been a marathon. The prosecution called 131 witnesses to the stand since the trial began on Jan. 29.
Hernandez, 25, was arrested in June 2013 for allegedly killing 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancé, Shayanna Jenkins, at the time of the murder.
Prosecutors say Hernandez and two other men picked up Lloyd at his home during the early morning hours of June 17, 2013. According to testimony, they drove Lloyd to a secluded industrial park in North Attleborough, Massachusetts, where he was shot six times. Prosecutors alleged that Hernandez orchestrated the killing.
The case against Hernandez hasn’t been without problems. Prosecutors never presented a possible motive for the killing, they had no witnesses and the murder weapon had never been found.
Still, the prosecution had key circumstantial evidence that they say proves that Hernandez killed Lloyd. Among other evidence: a home surveillance video taken 10 minutes after the shooting that shows Hernandez gripping a black item that looks like a gun, as well as a joint found near Lloyd’s body that had DNA from both men on it.
Last week, the prosecution called Shayanna Jenkins to the stand. She testified that Hernandez told her to dispose of a box from the couple’s home. She said she had no idea what was in the box. The prosecution contends that the box contained the gun; the defense claims that the box may have contained marijuana.
“I threw it in a random dumpster,” Jenkins testified, adding that she could not remember exactly where she disposed of the box.
The defense claims that the prosecution’s theory made little sense, questioning why the football star would kill a friend – and ruin a promising career – for no apparent reason. They also accused the police of conducting a shoddy investigation.
Hernandez’s co-defendants, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, have pleaded not guilty and will be tried separately.
The jury should begin deliberations late Tuesday or early Wednesday.
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