FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — Nearly ten weeks after opening statements were given in the murder trial of Aaron Hernandez, the jury has started to deliberate.
The jury, made up of seven women and five men, was led from the courtroom just after 3 p.m. Tuesday following closing arguments and instructions from Judge Susan Garsh. Three jurors were chosen at random as alternates and will not participate in the deliberations.
Attorneys for both sides were given 90 minutes apiece to persuade the jurors into reaching their respective verdicts. The defense used 89 minutes, while the prosecution used 88.
“Where’s the proof?” defense attorney James Sultan cried before the jury.
Hernandez’s lawyer used his time to plead with the jury, asking why the prosecution left too much doubt in proving his client was guilty of first-degree murder.
He pointed out the shrouds of doubt, and concluded that even if Hernandez was possibly covering up any involvement to the crime, that it certainly does not mean he committed murder.
“A murder conviction can’t be based on speculation,” he said. “He’s not being charged with being an accessory after the fact.”
The defense tried to debunk the experts who took that stand, including a Glock expert who testified that Hernandez appeared to be holding a gun in a surveillance video.
“If there was evidence of any reason that Aaron had to murder Odin Lloyd don’t you think you would have heard about it in 9 weeks? But you didn’t hear it. You didn’t hear it because it doesn’t exist,” the defense argued. “Does the prosecution expect you to fill in that gaping hole in its case with guesswork, with speculation, by using your imagination? Is that proof beyond a reasonable doubt?”
Hernandez’s defense team also conceded that Hernandez was at the scene but said there is nothing the proves who fired the gun.
“[The] investigation was incomplete, biased and inept. That was not fair to Odin Lloyd. That was not fair to Aaron Hernandez and it was not fair to you because it left you with a whole bunch of unanswered questions,” Sultan said to the jury.
The prosecution took a different angle by walking through a timeline of events from the weekend Odin Lloyd was killed. Prosecutors pointed out a mood change in the defendant, citing an incident at a night club and text message exchanges.
“[He] had a motive. He believed he could kill Odin Lloyd and nobody would ever believe he was involved,” prosecutor William McCauley said. “He planned it. He came up with pretext of getting Odin Lloyd to meet him that night. He deliberately didn’t use his phone so it couldn’t come back to him,”
The prosecution continued, saying Hernandez’s presence at the scene was clear.
“We know this defendant is out of the car. He gets out of the car and he plants his foot print right alongside where those tire tracks are. Right alongside where the car is. And guess where his foot is oriented? To the rear. And where do the shell casings then begin? Along the backside of the car, or around the back and right at the left side of Odin Lloyd’s feet,” the prosecutor said.
Jurors will deliberate until 4:30 p.m. each day until a verdict is reached.