FALL RIVER, Mass. Aaron Hernandez’s attorneys on Monday challenged the evidence in one of the former NFL star’s murder cases, arguing at a pretrial hearing that prosecutors have not established probable cause in a semi-pro football player’s slaying.
Prosecutors countered that they have powerful evidence against Hernandez and that Odin Lloyd’s shooting followed a pattern of Hernandez committing acts of violence following disputes at nightclubs.
Also during Monday’s court hearing, Hernandez pleaded not guilty to charges that he attacked a handcuffed inmate and threatened to kill a guard and his family while at a county jail in Dartmouth.
Hernandez faces murder charges in the June 17 slaying of Lloyd as well as a separate case in which he is accused of gunning down two men in Boston from inside a SUV in 2012. He has pleaded not guilty in each case and is being held without bail.
The former New England Patriot sat passively in a blue blazer and khaki dress pants as his attorneys argued that the charges in the Lloyd slaying should be dismissed because prosecutors have failed to show convincing evidence. Defense attorney James Sultan said the prosecution has enough to prove Hernandez was with Lloyd the night he was killed, but he argued that does not make Hernandez culpable.
“You can’t throw a bunch of stuff at the wall. That’s not probable cause,” Sultan said.
Prosecutors said their evidence includes a flurry of phone calls and text messages among those involved and the fact that Lloyd’s body was found about 1,000 yards from Hernandez’s home in North Attleborough, where Lloyd didn’t know anybody but Hernandez.
Prosecutor William McCauley also said the state’s investigation into incidents in Boston, Providence and Florida show a “common pattern” of allegations of violence against Hernandez following disputes at nightclubs.
An associate of Hernandez, Alexander Bradley, has filed a lawsuit alleging that Hernandez shot him in the face in Florida after they argued at a strip club.
A tentative trial date of Oct. 6 has been set in the Lloyd murder case. The judge did not immediately rule on the motion to dismiss the murder charge.