Judge Throws Out Evidence in Hernandez Pretrial

Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernanez listened with attorney Charles Rankin, left, during a pre-trial motion hearing on December 12, 2014. (Robert E. Klein for the Boston Globe/Pool)
Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernanez listened with attorney Charles Rankin, left, during a pre-trial motion hearing on December 12, 2014. (Robert E. Klein for the Boston Globe/Pool) –The Boston Globe/ Robert E. Klein

It was a good morning for Aaron Hernandez’s defense, as the judge assigned to the former New England Patriot’s upcoming murder trial ruled in a pretrial hearing that text messages between the victim and his sister on the night of his death cannot be included as evidence. Judge E. Susan Garsh also ruled out the use of a TMZ photo of Hernandez holding a firearm, and will not let jurors hear the additional murder charges Hernandez faces.

The messages victim Odin Lloyd sent to his sister read “Did you see who I was with?’’ and “NFL, just so you know.’’ While Lloyd’s sister has told authorities that she knew “NFL’’ meant Hernandez, she also said that she thought Lloyd had sent the messages to brag about who he was with, rather than out of fear. Though those messages have been thrown out, Garsh will allow text messages sent that night between Lloyd and Hernandez to be heard by jurors.

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The defense also motioned for other items to be thrown out, including the discovery of a weapon and the testimony of Alexander Bradley. Bradley is currently suing Hernandez, claiming he shot him in the face in February 2013. His testimony will not be heard in this case, but Garsh will allow jurors to see a gun found in the woods near the crime scene. That gun was not determined to be the murder weapon, but did belong to one of Hernandez’s associates.

The fact that this isn’t Hernandez’s only murder trial was also ruled inadmissable. Hernandez faces two additional murder charges for a 2012 shooting in South End. That trial was supposed to begin in May, but could be delayed.

The TMZ photo of Hernandez holding guns was also denied as evidence after the defense asked for it to be excluded, saying that even if the image was authentic, it is four years old. Judge Garsh said allowing the picture would be “piling on.’’

Hernandez previously pleaded not guilty to the June 2013 murder of Lloyd. Jury selection for the trial is scheduled to begin on January 5.

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