FALL RIVER, Mass. - Jury selection in the murder trial of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez resumed Monday for a second day, as hundreds more prospective jurors filled out questionnaires that lawyers will use to help narrow down the jury pool.
Bristol County Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh was bringing in three groups of jurors per day for the first phase of jury selection, which was due to end Tuesday.
Each group heard the same thing: The clerk read the charges against Hernandez, then Garsh introduced prosecutors, the defence team and Hernandez, discussed the important role that jury service plays in a democracy and described the crime Hernandez is accused of — killing Odin Lloyd on June 17, 2013. She told jurors Hernandez has pleaded not guilty and denies the charges. The clerk then swore in prospective jurors before they begin filling in the questionnaire, which has not yet been publicly released by the court.
Prosecutors say Hernandez, 25, and two friends, Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace, picked up 27-year-old Lloyd at his home in Boston and took him to an industrial park in North Attleborough near Hernandez's home, where he was shot to death. They have not said who pulled the trigger but say Hernandez — then a Patriots tight end with a $40 million contract — orchestrated the crime. Lloyd, a semiprofessional football player, was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee.
Starting Wednesday, lawyers will go through more than 1,000 completed questionnaires to determine which prospective jurors to excuse. After that, the second phase will begin: individual questioning by the judge. Eighteen people will be selected as jurors, including six alternates.
No cameras are allowed in the courthouse during jury selection, but they will be allowed at trial.
Prosecutors previously said they expect the trial to last six to 10 weeks, although Garsh told prospective jurors Monday that the lawyers would be meeting in the next few days to determine the length of the trial.
Opening statements are not expected to begin until at least Jan. 20.