For one of the few times since Aaron Hernandez was arrested on June 26, the former New England Patriots tight end has received some good news related to Odin Lloyd murder case. Bristol Superior Court Judge E. Susan Garsh announced on Tuesday that the prosecution would not be allowed to use evidence from two cellphones and three iPads that were taken from the ex-football player’s home.
Specific evidence from the five devices wasn’t revealed, but the judge has decided that it would be inadmissible in court. The phones and iPads were taken by authorities in June of last year when they presented Hernandez with a search warrant that allowed them access to a GPS. The GPS was of interest to investigators, because Hernandez told them he used it when he last saw Lloyd, which he claimed was in Boston.
“The police operated under the misimpression that the search warrant authorized the seizure of GPS devices when they seized the cellphones and tablets from Hernandez’s residence,” Garsh stated in her ruling.
Prosecutors tried to make the argument that troopers had the authority to take any device from Hernandez’s house so they could determine which one had the GPS that belonged to the defendant. Garsh rejected that notion in a 28-page ruling.
“In effect, the Commonwealth maintains that a search warrant for a cell phone with a designated number constitutes authority in all cases to seize every cell phone found at the search site,” Garsh wrote.
In their case against Hernandez, the prosecution will still be able to use evidence from a separate cellphone. Hernandez allegedly used the device to contact Lloyd just a few hours before he was killed. Authorities also claim that the cellphone was used by Hernandez to text Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace, who are also being charged with Lloyd’s murder, shortly before Lloyd’s death.
The defense did fail in its attempt to get Garsh to suppress evidence from Hernandez’s home surveillance system. The footage allegedly shows Hernandez holding a gun in his home soon after Lloyd was murdered.
Hernandez faces a first-degree murder charge for Lloyd’s death, and the alleged crime has kept him in prison for 14 months without bail. The trial will begin in January when jury selection is set to take place.
Besides the Odin Lloyd case, Hernandez faces two other murder charges. He pleaded not guilty to two slayings that occurred in Boston in July 2012.