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Prosecutors have asked a judge to allow testimony during Aaron Hernandez's upcoming murder trial from a friend who says the former New England Patriots star owned a gun similar to the one used to kill semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd in 2013.
In a court filing Tuesday, the Bristol County district attorney's office says Hernandez told longtime friend Robert Paradis about six weeks before Lloyd's death that he owned a .45-caliber pistol. Authorities say Lloyd was shot with the same type of weapon, which they say has never been recovered because Hernandez asked his fiancee to dispose of it and other evidence of the crime.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to murder in the June 2013 slaying of Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee. Jury selection begins Jan. 9. Hernandez also has pleaded not guilty to murder in the shooting deaths of two other men in Boston in 2012 following an encounter at a nightclub. He faces trial in that case at a later date.
In their filing, prosecutors say Hernandez flew Paradis, a former high school teammate in Bristol, Connecticut, out to Los Angeles in April 2013 and mentioned he owned the gun. Later, after heading back to Boston, Hernandez called Paradis to check that the gun was still where he left it in a dresser wrapped in a black T-shirt, prosecutors said. Paradise confirmed a gun was there but did not unwrap it to determine its make or model.
"The defendant's brag that he had a `.45' is clearly evidence from which the jury could find, close in time to the murder, that Hernandez possessed a weapon matching the identical large caliber handgun used in the murder of Odin Lloyd," prosecutors wrote in their motion. "It is not a simple matter to obtain an illegal handgun. That the defendant had done so is strong evidence of his ability to have obtained the means to commit the murder of Odin Lloyd."
Prosecutors also asked the judge to bar the defense from calling an expert witness who can describe the effects of the drug PCP on the brain.
Prosecutors say Hernandez's co-defendants Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz were observed smoking PCP, a hallucinogenic drug also called angel dust, more than 27 hours before the slaying. But they argue there is no evidence the drug was consumed close enough in time to be relevant in the case or that the defendants were acting erratically on the night Lloyd was killed.
Hernandez's lawyers plan to call Dr. David Greenblatt to testify "regarding the effects of PCP and/or Marijuana on the human brain and human behavior," according to the prosecution's motion. Wallace and Ortiz have both pleaded not guilty to murder and will be tried separately.
And in a third filing this week, prosecutors sought permission to take jurors on a bus tour of places relevant in the case, including Hernandez's North Attleboro home and the nearby industrial park where Lloyd's bullet-riddled body was found.
Hernandez's lawyers did not immediately return phone and email messages seeking comment.
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