The trial of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez got underway in a Fall River District Court Thursday afternoon after a brief delay due to a late juror.
Hernandez, 25, is on trial for the June 2013 shooting death of Odin Lloyd, 27, of Dorchester. Lloyd, a semi-professional football player, was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiance, Shayana Jenkins.
Jenkins, who is also facing a charge of perjury in connection to the case, was in court Thursday along with members of Hernandez’s family. Lloyd’s family sat across the courtroom. At one point, Lloyd's mother Ursula Ward was led out of the courtroom crying.
Hernandez wore a dark jacket and looked intent as he listening to opening statements from Assistant District Attorney Patrick Bomberg.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to shooting Lloyd dead in an industrial park near his affluent North Attleboro home. Prosecutors allege Hernandez’s motive was to keep Lloyd quiet about a double murder Hernandez allegedly carried out in July 2012 in Boston’s South End.
"Odin Lloyd was shot six times. He was killed and he was left in a secluded area,” Bomberg said.
Bomberg began laying out evidence at noon. Among the evidence, footage from Hernandez's own home security cameras.
Bomberg said security video from the dozen cameras in Hernandez' home show him arriving with a gun hours before going to pick up Lloyd in Boston, and later show Hernandez and his friends Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace carrying items from the basement to the trunk of a rental car.
“The cameras in the basement that night weren't recording,” Bomberg said.
The video showed Hernandez standing in his living room with a pistol hours after the time of Lloyd's death. The pistol is similar to the one used to kill Lloyd.Lloyd was also seen in the home, in another room.
Hernandez appeared wide eyed, and fidgety after that video was shown to the court.
Bomberg wrapped up his remarks after 45 minutes, at which point defense attorney Kevin Reddington snapped back, telling jurors that investigators targeted Hernandez due to his celebrity status.
"Aaron Hernandez is an innocent man.... Aaron Hernandez is not guilty," saidReddington.
"We are here because police and prosecutors have been targeting Aaron from the very beginning. As soon as they found out that Hernandez, a celebrity, a New England Patriot, was a friend of Odin Lloyd, Aaron never had a chance," saidReddington.
The high-profile lawyer went on to call the investigation by law enforcement "sloppy and unprofessional."
Reddington urged jurors to keep an open mind and let go of any preconceived notions they may have about Hernandez - except the presumption of innocence.
Hernandez hada $41 million contract when he was arrested for Lloyd's murder. He will be tried separately for the 2012 double murder case. He has also pleaded not guilty to those charges.