Defense Claims New Evidence in Aaron Hernandez Murder Trial

The jury in the double-murder trial of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was sent home early after the judge said he needed time to consider a claim that Hernandez's lawyers have new evidence that could help their client.

Attorney Ronald Sullivan told Judge Jeffrey Locke on Monday that Warren McMaster, a street sweeper who passed by the 2012 drive-by shooting scene, saw a woman or someone with braids rising from the sunroof of a white SUV and holding what appeared to be a recording device.

Prosecutors accuse Hernandez of fatally shooting Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado as he rode in a silver Toyota 4Runner.

Hernandez's defense team argued that the street sweeper's information had to be dealt with before certain witnesses testified on Monday, arguing that it demonstrates police botched the investigation and could be reason enough to dismiss the case.

Prosecutor Patrick Haggan said McMaster did not mention a white SUV during his initial police interview. 

Court resumed without the jury present after a two-hour recess, with testimony from McMaster and Boston Police Detective Paul MacIssac, who interviewed the street sweeper on the night of the killings.

McMaster described the officers he spoke to on the night of the murders as "rowdy" and said they've treated him the same way ever since. When asked who he told about the white SUV, he said he couldn't remember because "there were a lot of people in my face... violating my rights." He said police pushed him on the ground and threatened to arrest him and went through the contents of his street sweeper.

"I felt like a dog," he said. "Like, should I roll over and do tricks next?"

Locke took a defense motion to dismiss under advisement. Testimony is expected to resume on Tuesday morning.

Monday's bombshell came after the panel of 15 jurors spent two hours Friday at the Cure Lounge in Boston, Massachusetts, where prosecutors say one of the victims bumped into Hernandez back in July 2012, spilling his drink.

The jury also stopped at the Tufts parking garage, where the victims were seen in surveillance video leaving in a BMW. And they were taken to the site of the shooting scene and a Boston Police Department evidence facility where they were shown the Toyota 4Runner that Hernandez and his former friend, Alexander Bradley, were allegedly in when the shooting occurred.

By Friday afternoon, jurors had returned to the courtroom to hear testimony from a Cure Lounge manager and review security footage of Hernandez's interaction with Furtado and de Abreu.

Hernandez's lawyer said during opening statements that Bradley is the real killer. Bradley is expected to be the prosecution's star witness against Hernandez.

On Thursday, the jurors were shown photos of a silver SUV with Rhode Island plates at a parking garage near the club, the site of the 2012 murders.

Hernandez is accused of gunning down Furtado and de Abreu from the SUV.

The former NFL star was convicted in April 2015 of gunning down semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd in June 2013. He was sentenced to life without parole.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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