FALL RIVER, Mass. (Reuters) - National Football League star Aaron Hernandez bought gasoline, gum and a cigar at a Massachusetts gas station shortly before prosecutors say he killed an associate, a clerk from the station testified on Friday.
Jwan Farhan, an employee at Blue Hills Express, said in Massachusetts Superior Court in Fall River that Hernandez bought gas with his credit card before entering the store off a highway in Canton, Massachusetts, with another person early on June 17, 2013.
“I held the door open for him to let him in,” said Farhan, who was working alone at the store and described Hernandez’s behavior as “normal.”
Hernandez bought a blue pack of Bubbalicious gum and a Black & Mild cigar, Farhan said during the first of two murder trials Hernandez will face this year.
Prosecutors have said they found chewed gum stuck to an empty .45 caliber shell in a dumpster at a rental car agency after employees cleaned out a car Hernandez returned the day the body of his alleged victim, Odin Lloyd, was found.
A teenaged jogger discovered Lloyd’s body at an industrial park near Hernandez’s house, and police found five empty .45 caliber shells nearby. They have not located the gun used to kill Lloyd, who was shot six times.
Hernandez, 25, had a $41 million contract with the New England Patriots when he was cut from the team after being charged with Lloyd’s murder and various firearms offenses in June 2013. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Prosecutors contend Hernandez and two friends, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, picked up Lloyd at his Boston home in the early hours of June 17, 2013, before driving him to the North Attleborough industrial area where his body was found later that day.
Wallace and Ortiz have also been charged and will be tried separately. All three men have pleaded not guilty.
Also on Friday, a transportation services company employee, Rocky D’Angelo, testified that a Nissan Altima prosecutors say was driven by Hernandez went through a toll plaza without paying at 2:53 a.m. on June 17, 2013, less than an hour before Lloyd was killed.
Later this year, Hernandez will face a second trial on charges he killed two Cape Verdean men outside a Boston nightclub in 2012.
Editing by Scott Malone and Lisa Lambert