Saturday, April 4, 2015

No Paradis for Aaron Hernandez

"Paradis’s death came just days before."

It had to have been Hernandez. He was angry and is known to be aggressive. Then there is the crowd he hung out with that saw him pay a load of loot for the guns. 

Then again it's your call on whether he is innocent or guilty at the end of it all.

"Aaron Hernandez insisted he was innocent, witness says" by Travis Andersen, Globe Staff  March 24, 2015

FALL RIVER — The lead prosecutor in the murder trial of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez jousted Tuesday with Hernandez’s cousin, who repeatedly claimed that she could not remember details of conversations she had with Hernandez after the killing of Odin L. Lloyd.

Hernandez, 25, has pleaded not guilty to murder and weapons charges in the June 2013 killing of Lloyd, 27, whose body was found in an industrial park near the athlete’s $1.3 million home in North Attleborough.

On Tuesday, Hernandez’s cousin, Jennifer Mercado of Bristol, Conn., testified under a grant of immunity, and appeared to frustrate prosecutor William McCauley with her responses to many questions, including his inquiries about Mercado’s sister, Tanya Singleton, who has cancer.

Singleton was jailed on contempt charges for refusing to testify before two grand juries investigating Hernandez. Mercado told McCauley she could not remember what Hernandez said during a jailhouse conversation about Singleton’s refusal to testify, and the prosecutor at times sounded incredulous.

“How do you not remember that conversation?” he asked.

“It was a long time ago,” Mercado said.

She did, however, remember that Hernandez proclaimed his innocence. “He said he was innocent, and that he didn’t do it, and that God would see [him] through,” Mercado said.

McCauley also highlighted inconsistent statements Mercado made about the drug use of Hernandez’s two alleged accomplices in Lloyd’s slaying, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz. They are also charged with murder and will be tried separately.

Hernandez’s lawyers have signaled they may argue that Wallace or Ortiz killed Lloyd while under the influence of PCP, a hallucinogenic drug also known as angel dust.

Mercado said she knew Wallace and Ortiz at times used PCP, because of the drug’s distinct odor. McCauley, though, noted that she told a grand jury that she never saw the two men “doing it,” in response to a question about lacing marijuana cigarettes with angel dust.

And, McCauley said, she made no mention of the odor during her grand jury appearance. “Tell us how you know this today,” he said of the scent.

“Because I remember,” said Mercado, who occasionally smiled at Hernandez from the witness stand.

During cross-examination, defense lawyer Charles Rankin cited another section of Mercado’s grand jury testimony, where she said she did not know if Wallace or Ortiz “dealt the angel dust, but as far as using it, yes.” Mercado also told Rankin that Wallace would act “crazy, erratic” when he got high.

McCauley countered that Wallace lived for stretches in the same house as Mercado, Singleton, and Singleton’s young children.

“He wasn’t so crazy that he couldn’t live in the home, is that correct?” McCauley asked.

Wallace lived there “off and on,” Mercado said, and he was not welcome when he became impaired.

Mercado also testified that Ortiz and Wallace “were just real jittery” when she saw them outside her house on the evening of June 16, 2013. Prosecutors say Hernandez summoned the men to Massachusetts that night, and the three men later drove Lloyd to the industrial park, where he was shot to death around 3:25 a.m. on June 17.

McCauley on Tuesday played a video clip showing Wallace and Ortiz pulling into Hernandez’s driveway just after midnight on June 17. In the footage, the two men calmly exited the car, walked around the vehicle, and changed some of their clothing.

When McCauley asked Mercado if she noticed any screaming or shouting in the clip, she responded, “No. Just the jittery-ness, the walking back and forth” and changing of clothes.

Separately, prosecutors again asked the state Supreme Judicial Court to allow Robert Paradis, a high school friend of Hernandez, to testify that Hernandez appeared to possess a .45-caliber handgun less than two months before Lloyd’s slaying. Authorities have not recovered the .45-caliber Glock used to kill Lloyd.

The trial judge and a single justice of the SJC have refused to allow Paradis’s testimony. It was not clear on Tuesday when the full SJC panel will rule on the matter.

And now he's dead.


"Hernandez lied to cousin about trust funds, prosecutors say" by Travis Andersen, Globe Staff  March 25, 2015

FALL RIVER — Aaron Hernandez lied to his cancer-stricken cousin about setting up a trust fund for her two sons, prosecutors asserted Wednesday, in order to keep her from talking to investigators after Hernandez was arrested for allegedly orchestrating the killing of Odin L. Lloyd.

Bristol County prosecutor Patrick Bomberg made the allegation about the trust fund during a hearing in Bristol Superior Court in the first-degree murder trial of Hernandez, a former star tight end for the New England Patriots.

During oral arguments held out of the jury’s presence but that were open to the media, prosecutors asked Superior Court Judge E. Susan Garsh to allow them to play recordings for jurors of some of Hernandez’s jailhouse phone calls, including conversations with his cousin, Tanya Singleton.

Singleton, who is battling late-stage breast cancer, was jailed for several months for refusing to testify before two grand juries investigating Hernandez, one in Bristol County and one in Suffolk County.

During one call in July 2013, Hernandez informed Singleton that he set up a trust fund for her two sons, and he asked her not to tell anyone, according to a transcript. Singleton was jailed about a week later.

Bomberg said the funds were a ruse to keep Singleton quiet, noting that Hernandez never set up the trust.

“The defendant says ‘I set up an account,’ . . . and lo and behold, he didn’t,” Bomberg said. “He’s talking to her in order to secure her continued loyalty.”

Defense attorney Michael Fee, while saying that Hernandez’s intention to set up the fund was “never fulfilled,” took a different view of the phone conversation.

Fee argued that Hernandez and Singleton were genuinely close and that Hernandez intended to provide financial help to his terminally ill relative and her children.

Bomberg, however, scoffed at the notion that Hernandez acted altruistically. “He suggests that it is out of the goodness of his heart that he is misleading his relative,” Bomberg said.

You jail her out of the goodness of your heart, or was that to put pressure on her to testify ?

During his phone conversation with Singleton, Hernandez laid out details of how the trust fund would increase in value, according to a transcript filed in court this week.

It quotes Hernandez as saying the money in the trust fund would increase over time: “And the longer they wait the longer it grows,” he said. “So they can take out a little bit when they’re like 18. They can take out a little bit when they are 21. And then if they wait until, like, they’re 30 years old, it will be like, could be like $400,000 or something like that, do you know what I mean?”

Prosecutors say several of Hernandez’s phone calls from jail show that he tried, even from behind bars, to thwart the investigation into Lloyd’s murder. Calls that an alleged accomplice, Ernest Wallace, made from jail also show evidence of a coverup, prosecutors said.

Government sure has some nerve!

Defense attorneys say the calls are irrelevant and prejudicial, and they had sought to keep them from being introduced as evidence in the trial.

That's the way the state operates.

Garsh said Wednesday from the bench that she would allow prosecutors to play some calls for the jury and that she would specify which recordings were admissible in a written order. It was not clear when that order would be made public.

The jurors were not in court Wednesday; they will return to hear testimony Thursday....

They didn't see any of this?


And when they get back there is a bomb scare followed later in the day by reports that Shayanna Jenkins, Hernandez’s fiancee, will soon testify?

"Police have arrested a man they say called in a bomb threat that forced the evacuation of the courthouse where the trial of Aaron Hernandez is being held. Police on Friday announced the arrest of Paul Haddad, 55, of Westwood. Police said the threat made Thursday had nothing to do with the trial of Hernandez, the former New England Patriots player charged with killing Odin Lloyd. Police did not disclose a motive. The Fall River Justice Center was evacuated for about an hour on Thursday while the building was searched. No dangers were found (AP)."

Looks like terrorism to me based on the name.

"Hernandez linked to evidence removal; In shift, fiancee says he told her to take box away" by Maria Cramer and Travis Andersen, Globe Staff  March 27, 2015

FALL RIVER — The day after Odin L. Lloyd was found dead, Aaron Hernandez told his fiancee to remove a box from their home, the fiancee said in Bristol Superior Court Friday.

Oh, yeah, that guy.

Prosecutors have said they believe the box contained the murder weapon, and the fiancee’s admission could show that Hernandez was anxious to get rid of evidence that implicated him in Lloyd’s June 2013 killing — boosting the prosecution’s case against the former NFL star.

“I was instructed to take it out of the home,” Shayanna Jenkins told Bristol Assistant District Attorney William McCauley as Hernandez sat no more than 20 feet away at the defense table.

In a shaky voice, Jenkins, who has been granted immunity by the prosecution in exchange for her testimony, said that she thought it was important to remove the box and not be seen taking it out of the house.

Jenkins did not identify what was in the box. But later in the day, she told jurors that she had once seen a gun in the house.

Jenkins’s statements, some of them made before the jury entered the courtroom Friday, contradicted her earlier grand jury testimony. Her testimony Friday was a highly anticipated development in the eight-week-long trial, and drew dozens of reporters and curious members of the public who packed the courtroom and an overflow room set up in the courthouse’s law library.

Jenkins’s 23-year-old sister, Shaneah, who was Lloyd’s girlfriend at the time of his death, was also in the courtroom Friday, and sat next to Lloyd’s mother.

The case has strained ties between the sisters, who were once close. On the stand, Jenkins paused when McCauley asked her about their relationship.

“We’re estranged, kind of,” Jenkins said.


Prosecutors have said and prosecutors have charged during questioning by a prosecutor Friday, before the jury returned to the courtroom, that Jenkins said she had asked Hernandez if he had anything to do with the killing of Lloyd, a 27-year-old semiprofessional football player whose bullet-riddled body was found in an industrial yard in North Attleborough, minutes from Hernandez’s mansion.

“He said, ‘No,’ ” Jenkins said.

Prosecutors have given Jenkins immunity to testify, which means she cannot be prosecuted for anything she says under oath. But it was not clear whether she would say anything that could incriminate Hernandez, the father of her 2-year-old daughter.

Until Friday, Jenkins had not been in the courtroom for about two weeks. Before that, she had often been a steady presence in Courtroom 7, sitting directly behind the defense table and smiling sweetly at Hernandez each time they made eye contact. “I love you,” they would often say to each other.

On Friday, Jenkins rarely looked at Hernandez. After she was questioned in the morning, she mouthed something to him as she walked past the defense table. But she avoided his gaze later when she testified before the jury and described the hours after Lloyd’s killing.


Jenkins sometimes struggled when the prosecutor’s questioning became tedious. Jenkins also seemed to have a difficult time remembering key details....

Good girl. 


"Hernandez fiancee tells jury of box’s removal; Fiancee testifies ex-Patriot didn’t describe contents of package to her" by Travis Andersen, Globe Staff  March 30, 2015

FALL RIVER — The fiancee of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez returned to the witness stand in his murder trial Monday and told jurors for the first time about a box that she removed from the couple’s home the day after the killing of Odin Lloyd.

Shayanna Jenkins testified Monday that Hernandez called her on the afternoon of June 18, 2013, and “told me to go downstairs in our storage room and remove a box.” Jenkins had testified about that phone call on Friday out of the jury’s presence.

“His tone, I believe, was normal,” Jenkins said Monday, adding that she did not see what was in the box, and Hernandez did not tell her what was inside.

Hernandez, 25, has pleaded not guilty to murder and weapons charges in the slaying of Lloyd, 27, of Dorchester, who was fatally shot in an industrial park near the athlete’s North Attleborough home. Jenkins faces a perjury charge connected to the case and testified under a grant of immunity.

They have that hanging over her.

She said Monday that she put the box and some clothes in a garbage bag, “so nothing was exposed, I guess,” and later drove around looking for a dumpster to throw the box in. Prosecutors believe the box contained the murder weapon, which has not been recovered.

They can find the Tsarnaev laptop in the landfill but can't.... sigh. 


Prosecutor William McCauley asked Jenkins Monday about her inability to remember the location of the dumpster that she chose, and she cited the stress that she felt in the aftermath of Lloyd’s death.

“At that point I was nervous,” Jenkins said. “There were a lot of things going on.”

Seems reasonable.


I must admit, I haven't been following the plays that closely. Sorry. I judge by a simple maxim: if the government is shit, you must acquit:

"During the testimony, prosecutors displayed graphic photos of Lloyd’s injuries, and the question of how much pain Lloyd suffered could become relevant for jurors since one component of a first-degree murder charge is extreme atrocity or cruelty. Jurors could decide to convict Hernandez of first- or second-degree murder, or acquit him of murder altogether. On Monday the defense begins presenting its case."

Oh, that's a blatant play to emotion and a sign that the case is weak!

Now about that defense:

Jurors in Aaron Hernandez murder trial likely to get case next week

Looks like not even Bob Kraft can save the fool.