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