|Ex-Patriot Brandon Spikes ‘confused about the justice system’ after Aaron Hernandez verdict||04.15.15 at 11:23 am ET|
Spikes played with Hernandez at the University of Florida, and both were drafted by the Patriots in 2010 — Spikes in the second round and Hernandez in the fourth. Spikes now is preparing for his second season with the Bills after the Patriots elected not to re-sign him following the 2013 season.
Minutes after Hernandez was found guilty of first-degree murder in the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd, Spikes tweeted: IM CONFUSED ABOUT THE JUSTICE SYSTEM THESE DAYS !!!
IM CONFUSED ABOUT THE JUSTICE SYSTEM THESE DAYS !!!
‘ BrandonSpikes51 (@BrandonSpikes51) April 15, 2015
|Aaron Hernandez found guilty of first-degree murder||04.15.15 at 10:14 am ET|
Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was found guilty of murder in the first degree in the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd. The verdict, which brings with it an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole, was announced at the Bristol County Courthouse in Fall River on Wednesday morning.
The jury had the option of deciding on murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree or not guilty. The jury ruled on murder in the first degree, adding that it was done with extreme atrocity or cruelty when asked by the court clerk.
Hernandez also was found guilty of weapons and ammunition charges.
Upon hearing the verdict, Hernandez looked over in the direction of his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins, who began weeping and held a tissue over her eyes. She was consoled by Hernandez’s mother, Terri, who was sitting next to her.
Hernandez, who showed little emotion other than to mouth his apparent disagreement, was placed in handcuffs after the verdict and then sat down while his lawyers and courtroom security flanked him, all continuing to stand.
Lloyd’s family members also cried upon hearing the decision. Four of them — his mother, uncle, sister and cousin — later gave victim impact statements that focused on Lloyd before the sentence was formally announced and Hernandez was told he will spend the rest of his life in prison at MCI Cedar Junction in Walpole.
Said Lloyd’s mother, Ursula Ward: “I forgive the … people that had a hand in my son’s murder, either before or after. And I pray and hope that someday everyone out there will forgive them also.”
Added Ward: “The day I laid my son Odin … to rest, I felt my heart stop beating.”
Following the verdict announcement, Judge Susan Garsh thanked the jurors and told them they had the choice whether or not they wanted to discuss their thoughts with the media. She said a room had been set up for any jurors who wanted to participate in a press conference.
Hernandez, the former Patriots right end, was accused of murdering Lloyd in June 2013. His attorney admitted in his closing statement on Thursday that Hernandez was at the scene of the murder but denied he participated in the killing. Hernandez friends Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace, who were in the car with Hernandez the night of the murder, are scheduled to be tried for Lloyd’s killing as well.
Hernandez also faces a double-murder charge related to a shooting in Boston in 2012.
|Judge denies Aaron Hernandez defense team’s request to dismiss case||04.03.15 at 10:16 am ET|
One day after the prosecution wrapped up its case in the Aaron Hernandez murder trial, the defense team requested Friday morning that the case be dismissed. The request was denied by Judge Susan Garsh.
The defense argued that the state left “gaping holes” in its case, failing to prove a motive and intent for Hernandez to kill Odin Lloyd in June 2013.
The jury was not present Friday, having been sent home for the weekend Thursday with a reminder not to discuss the case.
While the prosecution called 131 witnesses and introduced hundreds of pieces of evidence, the defense is expected to present its witnesses and rest its case in one day. The defense has indicated that it will attempt to blame Hernandez associates Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz for committing the murder while high on PCP.
|Ex-friend Alexander Bradley testifies of seeing Aaron Hernandez with guns||04.01.15 at 11:50 am ET|
Alexander Bradley, a former friend of Aaron Hernandez who claims the ex-Patriots receiver shot him in the face, took the stand in Hernandez’s murder trial Wednesday to bolster the prosecution’s case.
Earlier in the week the defense unsuccessfully attempted to have Bradley’s testimony blocked. However, the judge ruled that Bradley is not allowed to discuss the February 2013 incident in Florida in which Bradley says Hernandez shot him after the two left a nightclub.
On the stand Wednesday, Bradley said that while in Florida he saw Hernandez in possession of what appeared to be a black Glock gun — the same type of gun that was used in the killing of Odin Lloyd. Bradley also said Hernandez kept a silver semi-automatic pistol alongside marijuana in a small safe in the basement of his North Attleboro home.
Earlier this week Hernandez’s fiancee testified that Hernandez called her the day after Odin Lloyd’s murder and asked her to remove a box from the basement of their home. Shayanna Jenkins testified that she put the box in a garbage bag, covered it with baby clothes and then drove to a dumpster and threw it away — although she can’t remember the location of the dumpster. Prosecutors have suggested the box may have contained the murder weapon, which has not been found.
Bradley also said Hernandez was concerned about law enforcement keeping an eye on him. In testimony before the jury was brought in, Bradley said of Hernandez: “Often he thought he was being followed by helicopter or tailed by police.” The judge ruled Bradley could not repeat that assertion to the jury.
Bradley added that Hernandez had a difficult time trusting people, often assuming that people were trying to use him.
|Aaron Hernandez’s fiancee returns to stand, says she took box from home to ‘random dumpster’||03.30.15 at 11:31 am ET|
The fiancee of Aaron Hernandez returned to the stand in his murder trial Monday and once again insisted she did not remember when questioned by the prosecution about some of her actions on the day after the murder of Odin Lloyd in June 2013.
Monday morning’s testimony focused on Shayanna Jenkins removing a box from the North Attleboro home she shared with Hernandez after receiving a phone call from the then-Patriots tight end. Prosecution has speculated that the box may have contained the murder weapon.
“He told me to go downstairs in our storage room and remove a box from our home,” Jenkins testified. “I believe he said it was important, I’m not too sure.”
Jenkins was shown on video sitting in the living room next to her sister, Shaneah, who had been dating Lloyd. Jenkins then is seen receiving a phone call and walking down to the basement. She acknowledged in court that she was asked to remove a box, which she said was open and contained smaller boxes inside — although she did not see the contents — and she put the box in a large plastic garbage bag and put baby clothes on top of it “so nothing was exposed.”
While she was able to recall the approximate dimensions of the box and the weight of the bag, she said she couldn’t recall why she asked to borrow her sister’s car and has no recollection of where she disposed of the bag. She said she drove around for about 45-60 minutes due in part to being nervous, and she does not remember where she found the “random dumpster” in which she deposited the bag.
“I think it was a residential area. I’m not sure,” she said. “I’m not sure what was around.”
Jenkins said she felt caught in the middle, trying to comfort her sister but also feeling the strain from her fiance being questioned by law enforcement about his possible role in the killing.
“At that point I was nervous,” she said. “Like I said, there were a lot of things going on. I really had to play a neutral role as far as trying comfort my sister. Everyone’s emotions were kind of on me. There was a form of breaking down at that point. So yeah, I was nervous.”
Jenkins was shown on security camera taking out money from a bank ATM, but she could not recall why she took out the cash. During Friday’s testimony she admitted meeting with Hernandez’s two alleged accomplices and giving them $500 in cash after dropping off Hernandez at the North Atlleboro police station to be questioned. She also admitted finding a handgun in a “kitchen junk drawer” in their house.
Jenkins said Hernandez denied any involvement in the murder after returning from the police station.
“I believe I asked him at that point if he did, did it, and he said no,” Jenkins recalled.
Jenkins has been granted immunity, meaning she cannot incriminate herself on the stand but she also can’t plead the Fifth Amendment and refuse to answer questions. She previously was charged with perjury for allegedly lying to a grand jury investigating the murder. She told the grand jury that she was not told to remove the box, which contradicts what she said in court.
|Judge in Aaron Hernandez case will allow some jailhouse phone calls||03.25.15 at 1:07 pm ET|
Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh said Wednesday she will allow some of Aaron Hernandez’s phone calls from jail to be used by the prosecution in its murder case against the former Patriot.
Hernandez’s lawyers had asked for those conversations — including those with his fiancee and Dolphins offensive lineman Mike Pouncey (a former University of Florida teammate) — to be excluded. The prosecution said it did not plan to use the calls with Pouncey.
Garsh said she would rule later on which calls could be included.
Also Wednesday, Garsh said prosecutors are “about a week or so” away from resting their case in the trial, which has gone on for eight weeks.
Hernandez is accused of killing Odin Lloyd in June 2013.
|Report: Brandon Browner has visits scheduled with 2 teams||03.11.15 at 8:21 am ET|
Cornerback Brandon Browner, who became a free agent after the Patriots elected not to pick up his option, was in New Orleans on Wednesday morning visiting with the Saints, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Schefter also tweeted that Browner was scheduled to fly to Washington next and meet with team brass there.
Browner was slated to earn a base salary of $1.9 million in 2015 had the Patriots picked up a roster bonus of $2 million. The team picks up $4.8 million in salary cap space with the move.
In his lone season in New England, Browner played in nine games (he was suspended for the first four by the league) and combined with Darrelle Revis to give the Patriots an impressive defensive backfield.