A bomb threat called into the courthouse where Aaron Hernandez is standing trial for murder forced the building to be evacuated on Thursday afternoon. The incident caused a sweep of the Fall River Justice Center in which no explosives were found.
After the building was evacuated at noon, the trial resumed at 2 p.m. ET. Hernandez was arrested in June 2013 for the murder of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd, and he’s been on trial for nearly two months.
The most recent developments in the trial have involved members of Hernandez’s family. Judge Susan Garsh has decided that jailhouse calls between Hernandez and his cousin, Tanya Singleton, will be admissible.
The two spoke on the phone on June 12, 2013, 25 days after Lloyd was murdered. The former New England Patriots tight end told his cousin "don't say nothing," and Singleton agreed. Ten days later, Hernandez made a false promise to Singleton, telling her he’d set up trust funds for her two sons.
"It already started off at $100,000 for them, do you know what I'm saying, I think about 75 apiece or something like that and every seven years it doubles," Hernandez told Singleton, according to court documents.
Hernandez never put any money away for the two boys, but his cousin has remained loyal to him. Suffering from terminal cancer, Singleton spent seven months in jail because she refused to testify in front of a grand jury.
Singleton has also been accused of helping Ernest Wallace, one of Hernandez’s co-defendants, flee to Georgia. Her sister, Jennifer Mercado, finished her testimony on Thursday, telling the court that co-defendants Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace would sometimes smoke PCP. Mercado was given immunity in exchange for her testimony.
In September, Singleton was sentenced to two years of home confinement, having pleaded guilty to contempt of court in a different case. Hernandez has been charged with two other murders in a separate trial, stemming from the killing of two men in Boston in July 2012.
“This defendant made a deliberate choice to stymie a double homicide investigation,” Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said at the time of the ruling. “That choice wasn’t made out of fear or intimidation, but to help her cousin get away with two cold-blooded murders.”
Shayanna Jenkins, Hernandez’s fiancée, has also been accused of helping the former NFL star cover up Lloyd’s murder.