By Daniel Lovering
FALL RIVER, Mass. (Reuters) – Empty shell casings found near the body of a man Aaron Hernandez is accused of fatally shooting and one removed from a rental car the former NFL star returned were fired from the same weapon, a police officer said in court on Wednesday.
Microscopic examinations of the six shells, including five from the crime scene and one from a dumpster at a rental car agency, showed to a reasonable degree of ballistic certainty they were fired from the same unknown.45 caliber Glock handgun, Massachusetts State Police Sergeant Stephen Walsh testified.
“It’s consistent with having been fired from a Glock,” Walsh, a ballistics expert, said repeatedly at Massachusetts Superior Court in Fall River, referring to several of the shell casings, as well as bullets recovered from the crime scene.
Investigators have not found the gun used to kill Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancée. His body was found by a teenaged jogger on June 17, 2013, in an industrial park less than a mile from Hernandez’s house in North Attleborough, Massachusetts.
Lloyd, 27, had been shot five times at close range.
Hernandez, 25, had a $41 million contract with the New England Patriots when he was cut from the team shortly after being charged with Lloyd’s murder in June 2013. He also faces various firearms charges.
Prosecutors contend Hernandez and two friends, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, picked up Lloyd at his Boston home, before driving him to the North Attleborough industrial area where his body was found. All three men have pleaded not guilty.
On Tuesday, a woman who cleaned Hernandez’s home testified that his fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins, was visibly nervous and spent time on the telephone, looking out the window and crying after hauling away a large trash bag in the trunk of a car the day after Lloyd was killed.
Hernandez faces a second trial later this year on separate charges that he killed two Cape Verdean men outside a Boston nightclub in 2012. Hernandez’s lawyers have said their client is innocent.
(Editing by Scott Malone and Alan Crosby)