Judge keeps ex-NFL star Hernandez's jail calls off limits

Fri Feb 7, 2014 6:20pm EST
 
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By Daniel Lovering

FALL RIVER, Massachusetts (Reuters) - A Massachusetts judge on Friday denied a request by prosecutors for recordings of phone calls made from prison by former National Football League star Aaron Hernandez, who is awaiting trial on a 2013 murder.

Prosecutors had sought the recordings along with Hernandez's visitor records from the Bristol County Sheriff's Department, saying they contained conversations related to the killing of Odin Lloyd.

Hernandez, 24, has been in jail since June, awaiting trial on murder charges in the death of Lloyd, a semi-pro football player whose bullet-riddled body was found in an industrial park near Hernandez's home in North Attleborough, Massachusetts.

Formerly a star New England Patriots tight end with a $41 million contract, Hernandez was dropped from the team within hours of his arrest. He has pleaded not guilty to Lloyd's murder.

On Friday, defense attorney James Sultan said a motion by prosecutors filed at Fall River Superior Court last week was "grossly over-broad," because it called for records of every phone call Hernandez had made since he entered jail, not just those pertaining to the case.

"This is nothing but a fishing expedition," he said. "If this is what they say they need to try the case, one wonders about all the representations they're making in court."

In court documents, prosecutors said the sheriff's department had already provided "the contents of some of the defendant's telephone conversations."

They said Hernandez discussed matters "directly relevant to the circumstances surrounding the murder of Odin Lloyd," and used "coded messages" to communicate with people outside of jail.   Continued...

 
Former New England Patriots NFL football playerAaron Hernandez, (C), sits with his attorneys James Sultan (L) and Michael Fee in Bristol Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts, October 21, 2013. REUTERS/Stephan Savoia/ Pool