Hernandez judge gives lengthy jury instructions

Prosecutors are appealing a ruling by Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh.

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — Closing arguments from the defense and prosecution wrapped up Tuesday morning in the Aaron Hernandez murder trial — and then the judge gave lengthy instructions to the jury on how to deliberate in the case.

Judge E. Susan Garsh spent about an hour and 20 minutes on her instructions to the jury, telling them what they can and cannot consider.

Garsh explained to the jury the necessary elements the prosecution needed to prove for a conviction for first and second degree murder. She also emphasized that the jury should not hold anything against Hernandez for not testifying in the case.

“The defendant did not testify in this trial. The defendant has the absolute right not to testify since the entire burden of proof in this case is on the Commonwealth to prove that he is guilty,” she explained to jurors on Tuesday.

Garsh made it clear that circumstantial evidence can be enough for a conviction, and she explained the concept of reasonable doubt — saying while they cannot speculate, the jurors can use logic and their own inferences to connect pieces of evidence.

“Inferences are little steps in reasoning. Steps in which you take some known information, apply your experience in life to it and draw a conclusion,” she said.

After alternates were chosen, the final makeup of the jury stands at seven women and five men. A woman was chosen as the foreperson for the jury.

The jury will deliberate every day until 4:30 p.m. until a verdict is unanimously reached on all three charges.

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