FALL RIVER, Mass. – Jurors in the murder trial of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez asked Wednesday for a list of the 439 exhibits they have to sift through as they decide whether to convict him in the shooting death of another man.
Twelve jurors were deliberating for the first full day after getting the case Tuesday afternoon. Judge Susan Garsh said Wednesday morning that she received a note asking for an exhibit list.
Hernandez is charged with the June 2013 shooting death of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player who was dating his fiancee's sister. Lloyd was shot six times in an industrial park less than a mile from Hernandez's home. At the time, the star tight end had a $40 million contract with the Patriots.
Hernandez lawyer James Sultan initially said he didn't want the jury to receive a detailed list because many of the exhibits are photos, and jurors should decide for themselves what the photos show.
He then said a more generic description might be OK. The judge asked both sides to meet to decide on a possible list.
Hernandez was brought into the courtroom at the Fall River Justice Center several times Wednesday as lawyers discussed the list and other issues. At other times, he was held in a cell at the courthouse to await word on a verdict.
Lawyers and the judge hashed out disagreements earlier Wednesday over certain exhibits before they were given to jurors.
The judge overruled the defense's request to block a picture of the redacted final text messages Lloyd sent to his sister. In the messages, Lloyd tells his sister he is with "NFL." He was dead within minutes of sending his final message.
Previously, the judge said the jury would not be allowed to see the content of the texts, but she did allow the timestamps.
Jurors were then given the 439 exhibits and a verdict slip.
Deliberations begin at 9 a.m. and go until 4:30 p.m., or later if jurors wish. They must come to a unanimous decision and are considering three charges: murder, illegal possession of a firearm and illegal possession of ammunition. The murder charge carries a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole if he is found guilty of 1st-degree murder, or life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years if he is found guilty of 2nd-degree murder.
His lawyer acknowledged for the first time Tuesday that Hernandez was there when Lloyd was killed. But he described him as a 23-year-old kid who did not know what to do. He pinned the killing on two of Hernandez's friends, co-defendants Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz. Both men have pleaded not guilty and will be tried later.
Prosecutors say Hernandez planned the crime, drove Lloyd to a secluded area, killed him, and then tried to cover it up.