FALL RIVER, Mass.—The 18 New England residents sitting on the jury in the murder trial of former Patriots star Aaron Hernandez will be allowed to watch the home team play in Sunday’s Super Bowl, but the judge overseeing the case says they must leave the room if his name is mentioned.
Hernandez caught quarterback Tom Brady’s last Super Bowl touchdown pass in the Patriots’ 2012 loss to the New York Giants. Now he is on trial for murder, charged with the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd, who was dating his fiancee’s sister.
The trial is playing out just as Hernandez’s old team is preparing to take on the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL championship game.
Bristol County Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh closed the second day of testimony Friday by telling jurors they may watch the game if it is important to them, but they must be vigilant for mention of the case or Hernandez.
“You hear that word, you’ve got to walk out of the room,” Garsh said. “Distance yourself.”
Hernandez had a $40 million contract with the Patriots when he was arrested.
Earlier Friday, Lloyd’s mother, Ursula Ward, was overcome with emotion and had to leave the courtroom as a prosecutor showed graphic photos of her son’s body at the industrial park where he was found. The 27-year-old Lloyd was shown lying on his back with his left fist curled in a ball over the gunshot wounds to his chest.
Lloyd’s body was found riddled with bullets in an industrial park near Hernandez’s North Attleborough home, not far from Gillette Stadium.
Also testifying Friday was Shaneah Jenkins, 23, who was dating Lloyd. Her sister, Shayanna, 25, is Hernandez’s fiancee and the mother of his 2-year-old child. The sisters sit on opposite sides of the courtroom, Shaneah with Lloyd’s mother and Shayanna with Hernandez’s family.