After more than 21 months behind bars, former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez will soon learn his fate as the prosecution rested their case in his murder trial on Thursday. Hernandez is accused of killing semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd, the boyfriend of his fiancee's sister.
The trial, which began on Jan. 29, is expected to go to the jury sometime next week, according to Judge Susan Garsh. The trial will resume on Monday, following a break for Good Friday. The defense is expected to only call one witness to the stand next week.
The prosecution’s final witness was state pathologist Dr. William Zane, who performed the autopsy on Lloyd. He discussed Lloyd’s six gunshot wounds and established that Lloyd was killed early on the morning of June 17, 2013, though he couldn’t offer any testimony regarding who might have pulled the trigger.
After two months of testimony, the prosecution has called more than 100 witnesses to the stand. Lloyd’s mother, former friends of Hernandez and Patriots owner Robert Kraft have been among the witnesses.
Hernandez’s fiancée was among one of the last witnesses to take the stand. Shayanna Jenkins was granted immunity, having been accused of helping to discard the murder weapon, which hasn't been discovered. The day after Lloyd was murdered, Hernandez called his fiancée at home and told her to get rid of a box, which the prosecution suspects might have contained the .45-caliber Glock that Hernandez used to shoot Lloyd. Jenkins testified that she never asked what was in the box and she disposed of it in a “random dumpster.”
The prosecution alleges that Hernandez, as well as co-defendants Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace, drove to an industrial park in North Attleborough, Massachusetts, with Lloyd just prior to his death. Bristol County prosecutor Patrick Blomberg has tried to use DNA on a cigarette butt found near Lloyd’s body, as well as a shell casing found in a car rented by Hernandez, to prove that the ex-NFL player was at the crime scene when Lloyd was killed.
Video evidence was used to establish that Hernandez was involved in Lloyd’s murder and he tried to cover it up. Surveillance footage showed Hernandez destroying his cell phone just two hours after he met with police, regarding Lloyd’s death. Soon after the murder, footage from Hernandez’s house shows the defendant carrying what the prosecution has argued was a gun, though the defense says it was a TV remote. One of Hernandez’s housekeepers testified that she saw Hernandez fiddling with a surveillance camera, as well as a lot of marijuana at the house, on the day after Lloyd was killed.
Alexander Bradley has a pending civil lawsuit against Hernandez for allegedly shooting him in the eye four months before Lloyd was killed. Bradley testified that he saw Hernandez hold a gun that looked like a Glock in February 2013.
Before the trial comes to a close, the defense is expected to call a DNA expert from Cellmark Forensics in Dallas to the stand. Throughout the trial, Hernandez’s lawyers have argued that the police unfairly targeted Hernandez and have conducted a sloppy investigation.