Video shows Hernandez dismantling phone hours after killing
FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — Jurors in the murder trial of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez on Tuesday were shown surveillance video of him dismantling his phone outside a police station hours after the killing and making calls on his lawyer’s phone.
Hernandez is accused in the June 17, 2013, killing of Odin Lloyd, who was dating his fiancee’s sister. Lloyd’s body was found in an industrial park not far from Hernandez’s home in North Attleborough.
On Tuesday, North Attleborough police Detective Michael Elliott testified that Hernandez came to the station at around 11 p.m. Hernandez had been asked to go there by police who went to his home after finding in Lloyd’s pocket a key to a Chevrolet Suburban that Hernandez had rented.
Elliott testified that Hernandez waited for a while in an interview room, then left the station. Elliott said he then used a surveillance camera in the police station parking lot to videotape Hernandez at around 2 a.m. June 18. The video shows Hernandez taking apart his cellphone while sitting in his lawyer’s car, then making calls on the lawyer’s phone.
“He’s using one phone, either texting or calling, and the other one is on his lap, apart,” Elliott said.
The video then shows Hernandez reassembling his phone and looking at it while calling on the lawyer’s phone. Jurors weren’t told the phone belonged to his lawyer Robert Jones.
Prosecutors have previously said the video shows him calling his co-defendant, Ernest Wallace. Wallace and Carlos Oritz have been charged with murder and are being tried separately. Prosecutors have said Hernandez orchestrated the killing.
Prosecutors did not say why they thought Hernandez dismantled his phone.
The trial ended early Tuesday because of a snowstorm, and the defense did not complete its cross-examination of Elliott.
Hernandez’s defense team continued its strategy Tuesday of going after the police work in the case. North Attleborough Officer John Grim acknowledged that murders in North Attleborough are rare, and the last one he had dealt with before Lloyd’s was in 2009.
Hernandez lawyer James Sultan asked Grim why he saw a footprint at the scene but did not tell a detective taking photos about it.
“I don’t have an answer for that question, sir,” Grim replied.
Sultan also challenged Grim for noting in his report that a white towel was found 3 to 4 feet from the body, then later saying it was a mistake and it was closer to 4 to 5 yards. Ortiz was seen on video at a convenience store shortly before the killing with a white towel around his neck.
“Did anyone suggest to you that it would be helpful to the prosecution in this case if you testified that what you put in your report was wrong and that the real distance between the towel and the body was more than 3 to 4 feet?” Sultan asked.
“No, sir,” Grim replied.
MICHELLE R. SMITH
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