By Daniel Lovering
FALL RIVER, Massachusetts (Reuters) - Former National Football League player Aaron Hernandez exchanged text messages with the man he is charged with murdering in the hours before the killing took place, according to cell phone records shown in court on Tuesday.
Raymond MacDonald, a T-Mobile employee, testified that the messages from Hernandez were on the cell phone of the victim, Odin Lloyd, whose bullet-ridden body was found in an industrial park near Hernandez's home in North Attleborough, Massachusetts, on June 17, 2013.
Bristol County Assistant District Attorney Patrick Bomberg showed Lloyd's phone in Massachusetts Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts, and asked MacDonald to read text messages sent from a number identified as Hernandez's.
On the night of June 16, Hernandez texted "imma hit u when i'm dat way like Las time".
After midnight on June 17, Loyd texted: "We still on." A few hours later, prosecutors say, Hernandez and two friends, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, picked up Lloyd at his Boston home and drove him to the industrial park where he was later shot dead.
The records also showed calls to Lloyd's phone from Wallace's number. The records showed no further calls or texts from Lloyd's phone after 3:23 a.m. on June 17.
Hernandez, 25, had a $41 million contract with the New England Patriots when he was arrested for Lloyd's murder in June 2013. The Patriots dropped him from the team hours after his arrest.
Wallace and Ortiz will be tried separately. All three men have pleaded not guilty.
Lloyd, 27, was a semi-professional football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancée. The sister testified earlier that the men were in the early stages of a friendship and smoked marijuana together, but were not close.
Defense attorneys have argued Hernandez and Lloyd were good friends, and that Hernandez would never have shot him.
Defense attorneys, meanwhile, filed a motion to prevent jurors from hearing about a civil suit filed by a former friend of Hernandez, Alexander Bradley, who claimed Hernandez shot him in the face after an argument in Florida in 2013.
Prosecutors want Associate Justice Susan Garsh to allow the jury to hear about that case, arguing it refutes the defense team's assertion Hernandez would not shoot a friend.
(Editing by Richard Valdmanis and David Gregorio)