Gag Order Request Denied in Hernandez Double Murder Case

Judge Jeffrey Locke addresses defense attorneys during a hearing for former New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez in Suffolk Superior Court, Tuesday, June 24, 2014, in Boston. Prosecutors allege that Hernandez ambushed and shot to death two men in 2012 after a chance encounter inside a Boston nightclub. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, Pool)
Judge Jeffrey Locke addressed the court on June 24.

A judge on Tuesday shot down a motion to restrict the defense and prosecution from speaking publicly about Aaron Hernandez’s case for a 2012 double murder in Boston, according to a report.

Hernandez’s defense attorneys last week formally requested a gag order for all parties as a means to “safeguard against prejudicial pretrial publicity.”

In justifying his ruling, Judge Jeffrey Locke reportedly referenced Hernandez’s other murder case involving the death of Odin Lloyd, saying that there was no gag order in that case until stories surfaced with “unnamed sources.”

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Judge Locke went on to express his confidence in the case’s prosecutors to comply with ethical rules for prosecutors, reported The Boston Globe.

“The Court is satisfied that the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office is aware of and operates consistent with the restrictions imposed by the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct, rendering a detailed order regarding extrajudicial statements unnecessary at this time,’’ Locke wrote.

Hernandez’s lawyers reportedly argued that “media attention in this case is virtually unprecedented,” but Judge Locke was apparently undaunted.

Hernandez was indicted in May by a grand jury on two charges of first-degree murder in the killings of Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado, who were shot to death on July 16, 2012 while stopped at a traffic light.

Former New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez (R) smiles while speaking with his defense attorney Charlie Rankin before a hearing in Suffolk Superior Court before a hearing in Boston, Massachusetts, June 24, 2014. Prosecutors have charged that Hernandez grew so enraged when a drink was spilled on him that he tracked down and shot dead Cape Verde nationals Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado. REUTERS/Steven Senne/Pool (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT CRIME LAW)
A handcuffed Hernandez appeared to joke with his lawyer in court on June 24.

Prosecutors say one of the men accidentally bumped Hernandez inside a nightclub, spilling his drink. Hernandez is alleged to have driven around afterward until he found the men, pulling up next to their car at a red light before fatally shooting them and wounding a third.

Hernandez is tentatively scheduled to stand trial for those charges on May 28, 2015.

In the other murder case, the former star player for the New England Patriots has pleaded not guilty to killing Odin Lloyd, of Dorchester, in June of last year.