Ex-NFL star sent money to man who sold guns, witness testifies

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 23, 2015 12:55 PM

By Daniel Lovering

FALL RIVER, Mass. (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez deposited $15,000 into the bank account of a Florida man who prosecutors say sold him guns two months before he allegedly fatally shot an associate, a former bank teller testified on Monday.

Heidi Carrera said Hernandez in April 2013 deposited three checks totaling more than $1.8 million at the Bank of America branch where she worked in Los Angeles before depositing the $15,000 into the account of Oscar Hernandez, who is unrelated to the former tight end.

Hernandez, 25, is being tried at Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts, for the fatal shooting in June 2013 of Odin Lloyd, a semiprofessional football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors contend that Hernandez and two friends, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, picked up Lloyd at his Boston house in the early hours of June 17, 2013, and drove him to an industrial park near Hernandez's house in North Attleborough, where Lloyd's bullet-riddled body was found.

Authorities say Lloyd was shot at close range with a .45-caliber Glock handgun. The murder weapon has not been found.

Carrera testified that Hernandez deposited three checks, including one from the Patriots for more than $1.8 million, into his account on April 11, 2013. He then talked on his cell phone to get details for the second deposit of $15,000 into the account of Oscar Hernandez, she said.

Prosecutors have said the ex-NFL player deposited the $15,000 in exchange for guns.

Authorities investigating Lloyd's death found three guns they determined were bought in Florida in April 2013. One of the guns was found inside a gray Toyota Camry with a Florida license plate that was parked in Aaron Hernandez's garage, according to an indictment against Oscar Hernandez.

According to the indictment, Oscar Hernandez lied to a Florida grand jury when he denied buying the Camry and shipping it north.

Heidi Lakatos, an employee of a True Value hardware store in Belle Glade, Florida, testified that she sold a .22-caliber pistol to a friend of Oscar Hernandez, Gion Jackson. Hernandez was with Jackson at the time of the sale on April 16, 2013, she said.

Prosecutor William McCauley showed that the serial number of the pistol matched that of a .22-caliber pistol found in a wooded area a short distance from the area where Lloyd was found dead.

(Editing by Scott Malone and Leslie Adler)