February 4, 2015 / 5:54 PM / 4 years ago

Judge asks victim's mother not to cry on stand at NFL murder trial

FALL RIVER, Mass. (Reuters) - The judge in the murder trial of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez told the mother of the semiprofessional football player he is accused of killing not to cry as she testified on Wednesday.

Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez (L) and his attorney Charles Rankin listen to testimony during Hernandez' murder trial at Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts February 4, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Associate Justice Susan Garsh asked Ursula Ward to remain composed and answer attorneys’ questions about her late son, Odin Lloyd, whose body was found with multiple bullet wounds in an industrial area near Hernandez’s house in June 2013.

“You are not to cry,” she said, as Ward recounted the last time she saw her son, who played for the Boston Bandits football team.

Ward had left the courtroom in tears when photos of her son’s lifeless body were shown to jurors earlier in the trial of Hernandez, 25, who had a $41 million contract with the Patriots when he was arrested and charged with murder.

On Wednesday, prosecutors asked Ward to identify Lloyd in photos taken at the medical examiner’s office and before his death, wearing the same plaid shirt as when he was found dead in a construction area by a jogger.

Ward said Lloyd played football in high school and went to a community college before getting a job with an electrical company. The job required him to travel to Connecticut, where he met his girlfriend, Shaneah Jenkins, who worked at a hotel where he was staying, in early 2012.

Jenkins, the sister of Hernandez’s fiancée, testified earlier on Wednesday that Lloyd and Hernandez first met at a Patriots game in August 2012. Prosecutors contend that Hernandez soured on Lloyd after Lloyd socialized at a nightclub with people Hernandez disliked.

Prosecutors allege that Hernandez and two friends, Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace, picked up Lloyd at his home in Boston early on June 17, 2013, and drove him to the industrial park where his body was found. Investigators have not recovered the gun used to kill Lloyd.

Wallace and Ortiz also have been charged in Lloyd’s slaying and will be tried separately. All three men have pleaded not guilty.

In a separate case, Hernandez has been accused of killing two Cape Verdean men outside a Boston nightclub in 2012. He will be tried on those charges later this year.

Hernandez, quiet through much of the proceedings, greeted his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins, and other members of his family on Wednesday to thank them for coming and to say he loved them.

Editing by Scott Malone, Bill Trott and Peter Cooney

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