FALL RIVER, Mass. — Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez is due back in court in the first of two murder cases against him, with less than a month to go before jury selection in the first trial is scheduled to begin.
A pre-trial hearing is set for Dec. 12 in Bristol Superior Court in Fall River.
Hernandez, 25, has pleaded not guilty to murder in the June 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd, a 27-year-old semi-professional football player from Boston who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancée.
Jury selection is scheduled to start Jan. 5. Patriots coach Bill Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft have been listed by prosecutors as possible witnesses for the trial.
One pending issue in the case is a defense request that the judge bar prosecutors from telling the jury about evidence of the ex-player’s other alleged crimes, including the fatal shootings of two Boston men in 2012 after an encounter at a nightclub. Hernandez, who is being held without bail, also has pleaded not guilty in those killings.
His attorneys say evidence about the double homicide and other alleged crimes would risk “undue prejudice” against Hernandez in the Lloyd case and compromise his right to a fair trial.
Prosecutors previously identified a range of so-called bad acts related to Hernandez, including the Boston homicides, firearms found at Hernandez’s home and even a photograph obtained from the celebrity gossip website TMZ that depicts Hernandez holding a gun, according to a filing by Hernandez’s lawyers. They called the list “cryptic.”
Two other men, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, also are facing murder charges in the Lloyd case, and Hernandez’s fiancée, Shayanna Jenkins, has been charged with perjury in connection with her grand jury testimony. All three have pleaded not guilty.