Prosecution rests in murder trial of ex-NFL star Hernandez

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 02, 2015 9:48 AM

By Daniel Lovering

FALL RIVER, Mass. (Reuters) - Prosecutors rested their murder case against former National Football League star Aaron Hernandez on Thursday, bringing to a close weeks of at-times gruesome testimony about the killing of semipro football player Odin Lloyd two years ago.

Prosecutors, who say Hernandez gunned Lloyd down in an industrial park near his house in North Attleborough, Massachusetts, before dawn on June 17, 2013, after a dispute, had called more than 120 witnesses since the trial began in late January.

On Thursday, Massachusetts medical examiner Dr. William Zane testified that Lloyd had six bullet wounds, including one in the back and two in the chest.

"The gunshot wound to the left chest would be fatal," said Zane, the prosecution's final witness. He said the shot would have killed Lloyd in "seconds to minutes."

Defense attorneys will begin presenting their case as early as Thursday afternoon before closing arguments begin, likely next week. Hernandez, 25, has pleaded not guilty and faces possible life in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors say Hernandez and two friends, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, killed Lloyd with a .45-caliber Glock handgun, after Hernandez and Lloyd had a disagreement at a night club two nights before. The weapon has not been found.

They say the men picked up Lloyd in Boston and drove him to the industrial park where he was killed. They presented surveillance video from Hernandez's house that showed Hernandez holding what they say was a Glock handgun minutes after Lloyd's death.

On Tuesday, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said Hernandez told him he was not involved in the murder and was at a nightclub at the time. But other witnesses testified Ortiz and Wallace met Hernandez at his home that night and the three left together.

Wallace and Ortiz are facing separate murder trials, and have pleaded not guilty.

Alexander Bradley, a former friend of Hernandez who sued him for shooting him in the face in a separate incident, testified on Wednesday that he had seen Hernandez handling what appeared to be a Glock in February 2013.

(Editing by Richard Valdmanis, Chizu Nomiyama, Ted Botha and Richard Chang)