FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — Lawyers for former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez were set to go before a judge to argue that his trial in the 2013 killing of a semiprofessional football player should be moved because of intense pretrial media coverage.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty in the shooting death of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player from Boston who had been dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee. Lloyd's body was found in an industrial park about a mile from Hernandez's home in North Attleborough.
Hernandez's lawyers argued in a court filing that a "relentless avalanche of pretrial publicity" has had a "devastating effort" on the jury pool in the area of southeastern Massachusetts where the killing took place. They cite a poll they commissioned that found 7 in 10 adults in Bristol County believe Hernandez is either definitely or probably guilty.
Prosecutors argued in their response that Hernandez's lawyers have not shown that the media coverage has made it impossible for Hernandez to get a fair trial in Bristol County. They've also challenged the objectivity and reliability of the defense survey.
A hearing in the Lloyd case was scheduled for Thursday in Fall River Superior Court.
Hernandez, a former tight end for the Patriots, also is charged in the 2012 killings of two Boston men. Prosecutors allege that Hernandez followed the men and shot into their car at a red light after one of the men accidentally spilled a drink on him in a Boston nightclub. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty in those killings.