FALL RIVER, Massachusetts (Reuters) - A Massachusetts State Police trooper testified on Tuesday that he found the fingerprints of Aaron Hernandez, two friends and a man they allegedly killed on a car the former New England Patriots football player returned to a rental agency.
David Mackin, a fingerprint analyst, said he found the fingerprints on a silver Nissan Altima that prosecutors say Hernandez was driving when he and two friends, Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace, picked up semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd at his Boston home in the early hours of June 17, 2013.
Prosecutors say they drove Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee, to an industrial park near Hernandez’s house in North Attleborough, Massachusetts, where Lloyd’s body was found later that day, shot multiple times with a .45-caliber handgun.
Mackin testified in Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River that he matched fingerprints found on the car with those of the four men, including Lloyd, whose prints were discovered through testing on the rear passenger inside door handle.
“I formed the opinion that two ... on the inside driver’s side door handle were from Mr. Hernandez,” he said.
Investigators testified earlier that they found an empty .45-caliber shell casing that had been removed from the Altima after Hernandez returned the car to a rental agency in North Attleborough.
Under cross-examination by defense attorney James Sultan, Mackin acknowledged he was not certified in fingerprint analysis by the International Association for Identification, a forensic organization.
Earlier, Glaucia Santos, 30, a woman who cleaned Hernandez’s house, said she saw “a considerable amount” of marijuana on a basement counter a day after the alleged murder. She also testified she saw Hernandez touching a ceiling-mounted surveillance camera in the basement that day.
A T-Mobile employee also testified that Hernandez and Lloyd exchanged text messages in the hours before the murder and read them to the jury: “imma hit u when i’m dat way like Las time,” Hernandez wrote to Lloyd on the night of June 16. Hours later Llloyd wrote back “We still on.”
Hernandez, 25, had a $41 million contract with the New England Patriots when he was cut from the team after being arrested for Lloyd’s murder. He also faces various firearms charges. If found guilty, he faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Ortiz and Wallace will be tried separately. All three men have pleaded not guilty.
Hernandez will face a second murder trial later this year for allegedly killing two Cape Verdean men outside a Boston nightclub in 2012.
Editing by Richard Valdmanis, David Gregorio and Andre Grenon