BOSTON (AP) — Lawyers for former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez asked a judge on Wednesday to prevent the jury at his upcoming double murder trial from hearing descriptions of the shooter from two witnesses who were inside a car prosecutors say Hernandez sprayed with bullets.
Hernandez is scheduled to go on trial in February in the 2012 killings of two Boston men prosecutors allege he shot after an encounter at a nightclub. He is accused of following the men and then opening fire on their car after one of them accidentally bumped into him in the club and caused him to spill a drink.
During a hearing in Suffolk Superior Court, defense attorney Jose Baez said the descriptions given by two other men in the car have changed over time, are unreliable and should be excluded from the trial.
“They’re all over the place,” said Baez, who is known for winning an acquittal for Casey Anthony in the death of her daughter during a highly publicized trial in 2011.
Baez also said the men’s descriptions changed after Hernandez was publicly identified as a suspect in the killings.
Assistant District Attorney Patrick Haggan opposed the defense request to exclude the witness descriptions and said Hernandez’s lawyers can challenge them by cross-examining the witnesses.
Baez asked for a hearing so he can call an expert to testify about eyewitness identification. The judge did not immediately rule on the request.
Baez said Hernandez’s defense team also is considering seeking to move the trial outside Boston, but no decision has been made.
Hernandez is serving a life sentence after being convicted of murder in the 2013 killing of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee.
Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado were shot about six weeks before Hernandez, a tight end, signed a five-year, $40 million contract with the Patriots. He went on to catch 51 passes and score five touchdowns that season, his last in the NFL.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty.