Two years ago, Aaron Hernandez had a $40 million contract and was a rising NFL star. Now the former New England Patriot is on trial in the killing of Odin Lloyd.
Lloyd, a semipro football player, was shot multiple times on June 17, 2013. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty.
Here are some of the key moments from the past week of his murder trial:
Victim’s sister can talk about the texts
Judge Susan Garsh on Monday reversed her initial ruling to block any mention of multiple texts from Lloyd before he was slain.
Lloyd’s sister, Shaquilla Thibou will be able to say she received four texts from her brother just minutes before his death.
The last text came at 3:23 a.m., a minute before workers in the industrial park where Lloyd’s body later was found heard gunshots.
Thibou had been expected to testify Friday, but that testimony was delayed as the court proceedings focused instead on exploring critical cellphone records.
Thibou will not be able to talk about the nature of the texts, including this one that prosecutors say was from Lloyd: “U saw who I’m with… Nfl… just so u know.”
The judge ruled it would be too prejudicial against Hernandez.
Gunshots ‘like fireworks going off’
Two plant employees working the overnight shift at Needletech Products Inc., a company in the industrial park where Lloyd’s body was found, reported hearing loud bangs at the time he was thought to have been fatally shot.
One worker, Barbara Chan, said she was napping in her car during her lunch break between 3 and 3:30 a.m.
“I heard a loud band, maybe four or five times,” she testified Monday, saying she thought it was fireworks.
“It was two slow ones and three fast ones,” she added.
Another plant worker, Michael Ribeiro, said he heard about six or eight loud bangs just after 3:20 a.m.
“A loud banging sound, like fireworks going off,” Ribeiro testified.
Prosecutors have presented evidence, including autopsy photos that show Lloyd was shot six times — once in the back, once in the arm, and the rest to his torso.
What does the surveillance video show?
On Tuesday, during testimony by one of three cleaning ladies in the Hernandez household, prosecutors showed the jury video of Hernandez’s fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins, taking a trash bag from the house and placing it in the trunk of her sister’s car.
Her sister, Shaneah Jenkins, was Lloyd’s girlfriend.
In the video, Shayanna Jenkins appears to walk out the back patio door of the Hernandez home carrying a heavy, black trash bag. At one point, she puts it down and places a pile of clothes into the bag, picks it up again and goes to the garage.
One of the maids, Carla Barbosa, then moves a white van out of the way to clear a path for Jenkins. Jenkins then puts the bag into the trunk of her sister’s car.
Prosecutors allege Jenkins may have been following instructions from Hernandez to get rid of the murder weapon from their home by putting the gun in a black trash bag and borrowing her sister’s car to dispose of the bag in a trash bin.
Prosecutors say that on the day after Lloyd was killed, Jenkins got a coded text message from Hernandez. Hernandez asked Jenkins to get something out of their basement, according to search warrants.
“Go … in back of the screen in movie room when u (sic) get home an (sic) there is a box … jus (sic) in case u were looking for it!!! Member (sic) how you ruined the big tv … WAS JUST THINKIN bout that lol wink wink love u TTYL….K”
TTYL is shorthand for “talk to you later.”
When Jenkins returned home, she was captured on the same security system, but without the bag. Jenkins told a grand jury she threw it in a trash bin but couldn’t remember where, according to prosecutors. Prosecutors suspect the still-missing murder weapon was inside.
(Jenkins has been granted immunity, compelling her to testify at Hernandez’s trial. She is on the prosecution’s witness list. It is not known whether her testimony will help or hurt Hernandez.)
When the defense team questioned Barbosa, she acknowledged she had no idea what was in the trash bag and that it could have been trash.
Housekeepers testify about guns
Two other cleaning ladies, Marilia Prinholato and Grazielli Andrade Silva, both testified this week they found guns in the Hernandez home.
Silva owns the company responsible for Hernandez’s residence and has also cleaned other Patriots’ players houses,
Silva testified she took a gun from a pair of Hernandez’s pants and showed it to her co-worker. She said she put it back in the pants because she didn’t want anyone to know she had seen it.
Silva also testified to feeling a gun under the mattress in the basement bedroom where Ernest Wallace was staying. Wallace and Carlos Ortiz have also been charged with murder in the death of Lloyd. They have pleaded not guilty and will be tried separately.
Prinholato said she saw a gun fall out from beneath the mattress of the same bed a month before Lloyd’s killing.
Video shows Hernandez dancing shortly before Lloyd’s death
Surveillance video shows Hernandez pulling up to a gas station in his rented silver Nissan Altima at 2 a.m. that June 17, a little more than an hour before Lloyd’s death. Wallace and Ortiz are with him.
The surveillance video was shown in court this week.
Hernandez and Ortiz exit the car. Ortiz is wearing a white towel, which prosecutors say is the same one found at the crime scene. Hernandez dances a few times — once as he walks in front of his car and into the store, where he and Ortiz buy cotton candy-flavored bubble gum and a box of Black & Mild cigars. A chewed piece of gum was found stuck to a .45-caliber shelling in a trash bin at an Enterprise rental car place, a detective said.
Surveillance video shows Hernandez dancing again, pumping his arms in the air as he returns to his car and walks around.
The three men leave the gas station at 2:12 a.m. Twenty minutes later, at 2:32 a.m., another surveillance video shows a silver Nissan Altima pull up in front of Lloyd’s house.
Lloyd is waiting outside and gets in the car.