It’s hard to believe, but we’re closing in on two years since former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez allegedly shot and killed Odin Lloyd in a Massachusetts industrial lot on the morning of June 17, 2013.
Even harder to believe, perhaps, is that we’re still in the early phases of the murder trial.
“Right now, they’re focusing on the crime scene mainly,” Sports Illustrated legal analyst Michael McCann explained on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “Their argument is that the police correctly obtained the key evidence connected to Odin Lloyd’s death and that they safeguarded it. Hernandez’s lawyers, during cross examination, have argued that mistakes were made in terms of how the evidence was retrieved and stored. We’re now moving into the phase of DNA evidence.”
In this case, gum. According to prosecutors, Hernandez bought Blue Cotton Candy Bubblicious gum at a gas station mere hours before allegedly shooting Lloyd.
“That (gum) may have been on a shell casing found in a car rented by Aaron Hernandez and the DNA evidence connecting these items,” McCann said. “That came up today, and I think we’re going to see a lot more of that in the days ahead.”
It is still unclear whether police actually made errors at the crime scene and, if so, what those errors were.
“It depends on what you define what an error is here,” McCann said. “Now, the police said, ‘Look, a storm was coming in. We had to deviate from our normal protocols to make sure that the evidence wasn’t lost.’ So they’ve argued that, yeah, they acted hastily (and that) they may have done things that were outside the book in terms of collecting some of the evidence that was around Odin Lloyd’s body. Evidence like a towel, other items that may have belonged to him – like a baseball cap, a Red Sox cap – that they had to take them quickly and that they also didn’t have time to measure them correctly.
“This is something that Hernandez’s lawyers have really hit on,” McCann continued. “Why didn’t you accurately measure the distance between these (items) and Odin Lloyd’s body? That’s something that the prosecution’s witnesses have struggled to explain, but they have kept saying there was a storm coming. I think Hernandez’s lawyers have done a good job of saying, ‘This was a really busy crime scene. There were a lot of footprints. We don’t know what happened. Maybe there was tampering.’ They’re sort of making allusions to that. Maybe there was mishandling of evidence – really giving jurors reason to question what was found at the crime scene.”
Okay, but is that alone enough to find Hernandez not guilty of this crime?
“I don’t think so,” McCann said. “I think in combination, jurors could walk away thinking, ‘There’s some real questions about the crime scene.’ I don’t think there’s anything that stands out as especially egregious, but when you take them all into combination, it could give jurors reason to think, ‘Maybe Aaron Hernandez was at the crime scene, but I’m not sure if he actually was involved in the murder. Did he pull the trigger? Did he encourage it?’ That hasn’t yet been established.
“And of course we know that the prosecution doesn’t have the gun, it doesn’t have a witness, and it doesn’t yet have a motive. Those are three big omissions that I think are going to be a cloud over the prosecution going forward.”