FALL RIVER, Mass. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Citing the O.J. Simpson case, a prosecutor in the murder trial of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez told a judge Thursday that several trophies and religious items had been added to Hernandez’s home since the 2013 killing, and asked that they be removed before the jury tours the house.
The defense agreed to remove the items, or to cover them before jurors see the home during a visit scheduled for Friday.
Hernandez is accused of killing Odin Lloyd in June 2013. Lloyd was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins. At the time, Hernandez had a $40 million contract with the Patriots.
It’s the second time in a month that the court has taken up the question of whether jurors will be allowed to see trophies and other personal items in Hernandez’s home, where Jenkins still lives. Last month, Bristol County Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh ruled that jurors would be allowed to see Hernandez’s trophy case after his lawyer, James Sultan, argued that the house should be shown to the jurors exactly the way it was at the time of Lloyd’s death.
“The trial is about the truth. This is the truth of his house,” Sultan said at the time.
But on Thursday, prosecutor Patrick Bomberg said he took a tour through the house a day earlier and discovered religious items had been added, as was memorabilia from his NFL, college and high school careers. He said it was added in several rooms in the house, and that furniture was added to hold it.
“It’s not nearly the same as it appeared back in 2013,” Bomberg said.
He compared it to how O.J. Simpson’s home was changed and manipulated before the jurors in his murder trial visited it. In that case, photographs and pictures were placed in the home to portray Simpson as a family man, and a Bible was placed on a table to play to jurors’ religious sympathies.
Garsh said anything new would have to be covered or removed, and the defense agreed to do so.
Also Thursday, Sultan challenged police over how they handled evidence and the crime scene. North Attleborough police Capt. Joseph DiRenzo testified that a heavy rainstorm came in not long after Lloyd’s body was discovered, so officers picked up shell casings, a towel, a baseball cap and a marijuana blunt so they would not get wet. Other evidence, including tire tracks, footprints and Lloyd’s body, were covered.
Sultan questioned why evidence was moved instead of covered, and why no one measured how far the evidence was from the body.
DiRenzo said they eyeballed it.
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