Defense rests in Hernandez murder trial

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — After calling just three witnesses to the stand, the defense team for Aaron Hernandez has rested its case.

Judge Susan Garsh told jurors they’ve heard all the evidence they’ll hear in the case and said they’ll receive instructions on the law after closing arguments. She also instructed them to continue avoiding making judgements in the case and discussing the trial with others.

After the defense rested, prosecutors called psychiatrist Dr. Martin Brecher to testify as a rebuttal witness regarding his knowledge of PCP. After being denied more time to research the witness, the defense cross-examined Dr. Brecher and questioned him on a paper he published on the drug in 1988.

Three witnesses were questioned by the defense on Monday – a PCP expert and two people who discussed the testing of the blue bubble gum that was found stuck to a shell casing inside a rental car trash container.

Dr. David Greenblatt testified first, giving his expert opinion on how PCP can cause psychosis.

“There can be negative symptoms. Things like feeling disconnected, trance state, difficulty processing information, difficulty telling what’s real and what’s not real,” he said. “Then we go to more positive symptoms with active hallucinations, hearing things, seeing things that are not there, persecution, paranoia, and on some occasions violent or aggressive behavior that can appear unpredictable.”

Hernandez’s lawyers are trying to prove his co-defendants, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, were high at the time of Odin Lloyd’s death.

Jennifer Smith of Cellmark Forensics testified about the blue bubble gum stuck to a .45 caliber shall casing, saying that there is no question that it had Hernandez’s DNA on it. “The odds are one in 428 quintillion individuals,” she said.

But she said the gum also had other DNA on it — and the defense is trying to prove that Hernandez’s DNA was only on the shell casing because it was transferred from the bubble gum.

“If it was in fact gum, again, it is very adhesive, very sticky. It’s possible anything else that the gum came into contact with could have picked up DNA from that type of object or surface,” she said.

Closing arguments will begin Tuesday morning. Each side will have 90 minutes to wrap up their case.

Jury deliberations could begin as early as Tuesday. Once that begins, jurors will deliberate until 4:30 p.m. each day until a verdict is reached.

Annie Shalvey contributed to this report.

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