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FALL RIVER, Massachusetts (Reuters) - A tread mark found near the body of a man allegedly killed by Aaron Hernandez was made by a tire from a car rented by the ex-NFL star, a Massachusetts State Police trooper who specializes in tire track analysis said on Thursday.
Trooper Todd Girouard said the rear passenger side tire of a Nissan Altima that prosecutors say was rented by Hernandez matched a track found at a North Attleborough industrial park where the body of Odin Lloyd was found in June 2013.
Hernandez, 25, has been charged with murdering Lloyd, a semi-professional football player who had been dating his fiancee's sister, and is being tried at Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts.
If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole. He has pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors say Hernandez and two friends, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, picked up Lloyd in the Altima at his Boston home in the early hours of June 17, 2013, and drove him to the industrial park where his body, riddled with bullets, was found later that day.
Wallace and Ortiz have also been charged with murder and will be tried separately.
Girouard, the state police trooper, said four small stones lodged in the tire of the Altima corresponded to tracks from the industrial park, based on his analysis, which included comparing photographs and test prints of the tire. He said the believed the tire on the Altima "made the impression."
Lloyd's sister testified earlier she saw her brother getting into a silver Nissan outside their home in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood hours before he was killed. Prosecutors have shown surveillance video of Hernandez and Ortiz getting out of a silver Altima at a gas station in Canton, Massachusetts, hours before the murder.
Also on Thursday, Patrick Quinn, a T-Mobile engineer, identified the locations of cell towers that connected with Lloyd's phone, beginning in Boston and moving to the coverage area of the North Attleborough industrial area, in the early morning hours of June 17, 2013.
Earlier, Carol Martin Bailey, a resident of a condominium complex where Hernandez rented a unit in Franklin, Massachusetts, said she met a man she identified as George who appeared to be Ernest Wallace. The man told her he was moving into the next door unit with his cousin, she said, describing him as "extremely nice."
Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Andrew Hay