Lawyers in the double murder trial of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez presented their closing arguments on Thursday after more than a month of testimony about a crime prosecutors say was fueled by anger over a spilled drink.
The jury was sent home Thursday afternoon after receiving over an hour of instructions from Judge Jeffrey Locke. The judge is expected to conclude his instructions on Friday morning, at which time the jury will begin its deliberations.
The day began with defense attorney Jose Baez attempting to convince jurors one final time that his client did not commit the crime. The former Patriots tight end is charged in the fatal shootings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado on July 16, 2012.
"There is absolutely no evidence that Aaron Hernandez committed this crime," Baez said.
He also sought to discredit the testimony of prosecution witness Alexander Bradley, a former friend of Hernandez's who said Hernandez opened fire on the men's car two hours after de Abreu bumped into Hernandez at the club and spilled his drink.
"Alexander Bradley was a three-legged pony and they were going to ride him to the finish line no matter what he said... what lies he told," Baez said. "They're going to ride him all the way home. They don't care that he comes here in lies... lies to police."
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Hernandez's lawyers have said it was Bradley who shot the men over a drug deal.
Baez said the other witnesses who encountered Hernandez on the night of the alleged murders painted a much different picture of him, saying he was friendly, and not enraged. And he disputed Bradley's story about the spilled drink.
"There's no spilled drink on him," he said, displaying a picture that Hernandez took with a fan at the club before the murders. "Zero to indicate a drink has been spilled on Aaron."
Among those in the packed courtroom on Thursday were Hernandez's fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, and family members of the two victims.
In their closing arguments, prosecutors showed jurors pictures of the crime scene and attempted to make the case that both the vehicle and the gun involved in the killings were tied to Hernandez.
"The killer took pleasure in what he did that night," Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Patrick Haggan said. "The killer wanted the victims to see him coming."
He also went over cell towers that allegedly place Hernandez at the crime scene, and mentioned a call he made to Jenkins-Hernandez immediately after the murders.
Haggan even referenced Hernandez's tattoo showing a six-shot revolver with one chamber empty.
"That is not random," he said. "That is not art... That is a statement of guilt."
Hernandez is already serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd.