Judge could help Hernandez jury if there’s a struggle finding verdict

Former NFL player Aaron Hernandez looks listens during his murder trial at the Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts, USA, 03 April 2015. Hernandez is accused of the June 2013 killing of semi-professional football player, Odin Lloyd. EPA/CJ GUNTHER/ POOL

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — Jurors in the Aaron Hernandez murder trial are set to get back to work Monday morning after spending almost 20 hours deliberating his fate last week.

The panel, made up of seven women and five men, worked a half-day Friday before adjourning for the weekend.

So far, they have asked the judge two questions about evidence. One was for an evidence list of the more than 400 physical exhibits presented during the trial. The other was if the ammunition charge is for a specific date or if it is approximate.

Judge E. Susan Garsh clarified the charge must apply to on, or close to, June 22, 2013.

Eyewitness News legal analyst, former US Attorney Robert Corrente said the judge could work with the jury if they’re having a hard time reaching a unanimous decision.

Fall River Justice Center (Photo: Brian Yocono/WPRI)
Fall River Justice Center (Photo: Brian Yocono/WPRI)

“Some judges are more patient than others. But, there are some recognized and accepted charges and sort of pep talks that the judge can provide to the jury to sort of help them along, and encourage them to try their best to consider all possible view points.”

Even with that assistance, a hung jury is always a possibility, Corrente said.

There are three charges against Aaron Hernandez:

  • Murder; in the death of Odin Lloyd.
  • Unlawful possession of a firearm
  • Unlawful possession of ammunition

As the jury considers the testimony of the more 130 witnesses and hundreds of pieces of evidence, it’s possible they will reach a unanimous decision on some charges, but not all three.

“That’s a situation in which you have two camps of jurors, one camp is holding out for one result, say a conviction, the other camp is holding out for the other result, try as they might they can’t come to a unanimous opinion on that, they have to report that to the judge that they’re hung on that count and that would trigger a mistrial with respect to that count,” Corrente explained.

And if Hernandez is acquitted, he is not leaving jail. Hernandez is being held without bail after being charged in a 2012 double killing in Boston. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

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