Ex-NFL star Hernandez's murder conviction poses legal challenge

Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:04am EDT
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By Scott Malone

BOSTON (Reuters) - The intense publicity around Wednesday's conviction of former National Football League star Aaron Hernandez for a 2013 murder will make it more difficult to seat an impartial jury in the next trial he faces, on charges of a 2012 double slaying.

However, the sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole that he received for the first-degree murder of an acquaintance, Odin Lloyd, also raises the possibility that prosecutors in Boston would agree to a plea deal that would spare a second trial, legal experts said.

The jurors who found the 25-year-old former New England Patriots tight end guilty of murdering 27-year-old Odin Lloyd told reporters on Wednesday that they had known nothing about the additional murder charges Hernandez faced until after they reached a verdict. They also said they were unaware of another 2013 incident in which a former friend said that Hernandez shot him in the face.

It may be harder to find a jury to consider the next charges, that of the 2012 double slaying of a pair of Cape Verdean men outside a Boston nightclub, given the publicity around the trial that just ended in Fall River, Massachusetts, legal experts said.

"You'd have to have been in a cave not to have known about a months-long trial which contained a lot of salacious evidence of bad behavior on Hernandez's part, including, at the end of the day, a murder," said Thomas Peisch, a partner at the Boston law firm Conn Kavanaugh and a former federal prosecutor.

Hernandez's trial in the 2012 slaying of Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado had initially been set to begin on May 28, but will be rescheduled until a later date, said Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Suffolk County prosecutor's office.

Defense lawyers may push for a delay, in part to allow time for the headlines surrounding the case to fade, experts said.


Former NFL player Aaron Hernandez stands with his defense attorneys as he hears his verdict in his murder trial at the Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts, April 15, 2015.  REUTERS/Dominick Reuter