Jurors in the double murder trial of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez can consider tattoos that prosecutors contend amount to an admission of guilt, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Hernandez is scheduled to go on trial next month on charges he killed Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in 2012 by shooting them five times with a .38-caliber revolver. Prosecutors say Hernandez became enraged after one of the men accidentally bumped into him at a Boston nightclub and caused him to spill his drink.
Prosecutors say Hernandez got two tattoos added to his body in 2013.
One tattoo shows a six-shot revolver with five bullets in the cylinder and one empty chamber.
The other tattoo shows a semi-automatic pistol and a wisp of smoke coming from a spent shell casing. Hernandez is also charged with shooting a former friend with a semi-automatic pistol. The friend was with him at the time of the double slaying. The man survived and is expected to be the star witness against Hernandez.
Judge Jeffrey Locke denied a defense request to exclude the tattoos as evidence.
"The defendant's conduct in ordering and obtaining these tattoos could be viewed as constituting an implied admission ... or as evidence reflecting consciousness of guilt," Locke wrote in his ruling.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty in the double killings.
He is already serving a life sentence in the 2013 killing of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd. Lloyd was dating the sister of Hernandez's then-fiancee.
Locke also ruled Tuesday that prosecutors will not be allowed to tell the jury about Hernandez's conviction in Lloyd's killing. His lawyers argued that it could prejudice the jury against him.