(FALL RIVER, Mass.) — After a lengthy delay behind closed doors, Judge Susan Garsh discharged a juror on Tuesday in the trial of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez after the juror discussed evidence that hadn’t been admitted into trial and made statements to the effect that “in the absence of a weapon it would be hard to convict.”
The juror also expressed significant interest in serving on the jury and attended more Patriots games than disclosed on the questionnaire, the judge said.
The juror’s continued service would have posed a “substantial risk” to disrupt the orderly trial of this case, Garsh said.
Hernandez is accused of orchestrating Odin Llyod’s murder in 2013. The gun used to kill Lloyd has never been found.
Tuesday was the first day back in court following the Patriots’ Super Bowl win, as Monday’s proceedings were postponed due to inclement weather.
On June 17, 2013, Hernandez “told Odin Lloyd he was going to come out to his house that night,” Assistant District Attorney Patrick Bomberg told the court.
Hernandez was driving when he and two other men picked up Lloyd from his home and brought him to the industrial park, near the Patriots’ Gillette Stadium, according to prosecutors.
“Odin Lloyd was shot six times,” Bomberg told the jury.
Hernandez’s defense attorney, Michael Fee, in his opening statement, declared Hernandez “an innocent man.” He said the prosecution’s account was “just a story and it’s not true.”
“Aaron Hernandez did not murder his friend Odin Lloyd,” Fee told the jury, claiming investigators prematurely zeroed in on Hernandez to the exclusion of other suspects.
“You come with an open mind,” Fee said. “Give us a chance to show you the truth.”
On Friday, Garsh told the jurors to be “especially vigilant” if they planned on watching the Super Bowl.
“But I am going to ask you to be especially vigilant. If you’re watching the game with friends or family or any third party, just have your antenna — just be really, really vigilant. You have to avoid anything that has anything to do with this case or Mr. Hernandez,” she said. “If you hear that word, you got to walk out of the room, distance yourself, immediately stop people, and if his name or this case is mentioned on the television screen or computer, just walk away.”
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