Jury selection begins in first murder trial of ex-NFLer Hernandez

Fri Jan 9, 2015 1:00pm EST
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By Daniel Lovering

FALL RIVER, Mass. (Reuters) - Jury selection began on Friday in the trial of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez, who is accused of fatally shooting a semi-professional football player near his Massachusetts home in June 2013.

Hundreds of potential jurors filed into Fall River Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts, to fill out questionnaires as part of the jury selection process, which will continue into next week.

Hernandez, 25, has been charged with killing Odin Lloyd, whose bullet-riddled body was found in an industrial park near Hernandez's house in North Attleborough, Massachusetts, on June 17, 2013. He also faces various firearms-related charges.

The former tight end had been a rising star in the National Football League with a $41 million contract with the Patriots when he was arrested and cut from the team days after Lloyd's body was found.

Lloyd, 27, had been dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins. Prosecutors said he and Hernandez had argued after Lloyd socialized at a nightclub with people Hernandez disliked.

Two of Hernandez's friends, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, were also arrested in the slaying and will be tried separately. All three men have pleaded not guilty.

Hernandez has since been charged with killing two other men who prosecutors contend he shot dead outside a Boston nightclub in 2012 following a dispute over a spilled drink. He has also pleaded not guilty in that case.

In the first of three sessions on Friday, Massachusetts Superior Court Associate Justice Susan Garsh addressed 125 potential jurors and introduced prosecutors as well as Hernandez, who appeared wearing a jacket and tie, and his attorneys.   Continued...

Former New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez attends a pre-trial hearing at Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts, January 6, 2015.  REUTERS/CJ Gunther/Pool