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Two high-profile Massachusetts trials delayed by forecast storm

Reuters


BOSTON (Reuters) - Two high-profile criminal trials in Massachusetts, that of the accused Boston Marathon bomber and a former New England Patriots player charged with murdering an associate, will be delayed by an impending winter storm, judges said on Monday.

Jury selection in the trial of accused Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, which began its fourth week on Monday, will be suspended on Tuesday and possibly Wednesday, U.S. District Judge George O'Toole said on Monday, citing the storm, which is forecast to bring up to 30 inches (76 cm) of snow to the Boston area.

Jury selection in that case has already taken longer than O'Toole initially expected, as it has proven difficult to find jurors open minded about the guilt of Tsarnaev, who is accused of killing three people and injuring 264 in the April 15, 2013, attack and could face the death penalty if convicted.

The death penalty is unpopular in Massachusetts, where it is banned under state law. Tsarnaev, 21, is being tried under federal laws.

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South of Boston in Fall River, Massachusetts, a Superior Court judge said opening statements in the murder trial of former NFL star Aaron Hernandez, which had been scheduled for Tuesday, now would take place on Thursday, also due to the impending storm.

Hernandez is charged with fatally shooting semiprofessional football player Odin Lloyd near his home in June 2013. He is also due to face trial later this year in Boston on charges of murdering two Cape Verdean nationals outside a Boston nightclub in 2012 after a dispute about a spilled drink.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; additional reporting by Daniel Lovering in Fall River, Mass.; Editing by Eric Beech)