Massachusetts trooper describes finding ex-NFL star's alleged victim

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 11, 2015 1:58 PM

By Daniel Lovering

FALL RIVER, Mass. (Reuters) - A Massachusetts State Police trooper on Wednesday described footprints and tire treads found on the ground near the body of a man former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez is charged with murdering in June 2013.

The jury hearing the first murder trial Hernandez will face this year saw video of the industrial park near the athlete's home in North Attleborough, Massachusetts, where the body of Odin Lloyd was found by a teenage jogger.

Trooper Michael Lombard described the scene as the court was shown videos he recorded at the time as well as still photos of Lloyd's body, face up with the right arm outstretched.

"You could tell the tire impression was there first and the footwear had trampled over that," Lombard said during testimony at Massachusetts Superior Court in Fall River, where testimony resumed on Wednesday after a snowstorm canceled proceedings for two days.

Hernandez, 25, was a tight end with a $41 million contract when he was cut from the team following his arrest on charges of murdering Lloyd, a semiprofessional football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancée at the time.

Prosecutors say Hernandez and two friends, Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace, picked up Lloyd, 27, at his Boston home in the early hours of June 17, 2013, and drove him to the industrial park where his body was found later that day. Investigators have not found the gun used in the killing.

Under cross-examination by defense attorney James Sultan, the trooper acknowledged he did not videotape other footprints found at the scene.

Wallace and Ortiz have also been charged in Lloyd's death and will be tried separately. The three men have pleaded not guilty.

Hernandez's fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins, who has pleaded not guilty to perjury charges for allegedly lying to a grand jury, was granted immunity in the case on Tuesday. It remains unclear whether she will testify.

Her sister, Shaneah Jenkins, testified earlier that her boyfriend and Hernandez had a cordial relationship and smoked marijuana together, but were not close.

Hernandez will face a second trial later this year on charges of killing two Cape Verdean men outside a Boston nightclub in 2012.

A juror was excused on Wednesday after passing a note to the judge. That marks the second person excused from the jury since the trial began late last month, leaving a panel of 16 people.

(Editing by Scott Malone and Mohammad Zargham)