Prosecutors try to establish weather conditions of crime scene

BY foxsports • February 5, 2015

FALL RIVER, Mass. -- Working methodically, a prosecutor on Thursday elicited detailed testimony about the scene where Odin Lloyd's bullet-riddled body was discovered -- including extensive efforts to protect evidence from a storm that brought heavy rain to the area.

Aaron Hernandez, the former star tight end of the New England Patriots who is charged with Lloyd's murder, watched intently as photographs of shell casings and other evidence were show but seemed to look away when pictures of the body were displayed on monitors in the courtroom.

The first hours of testimony were occupied by North Attleboro, Mass., police Capt. Joseph DiRenzo, the first officer at the scene after a teenager running through a secluded field discovered Lloyd's body late the afternoon of June 17, 2013.

A good portion of the questioning by Assistant District Attorney William McCauley was aimed at establishing the weather conditions after the body was discovered. A freak storm blew in just as they were beginning their work.

"The wind was picking up, the trees were bending, and it began to rain pretty heavily, wind-driven rain," DiRenzo testified.

He described how officers covered Lloyd's body with a tarp and a portable tent, and how they also covered tire tracks and footprints in the field to protect them from the rain -- and how they picked up several pieces of evidence because they were afraid the precipitation would wash away evidence. That included shell casings, Lloyd's baseball cap, a marijuana cigarette and a white towel.

During his testimony, McCauley showed multiple pictures taken at the scene.

Prosecutors have alleged that Hernandez, then a star tight end for the Patriots, was angry with Lloyd after an incident at a nightclub. They have asserted that Hernandez summoned two associates from his hometown of Bristol, Conn., to his Massachusetts home late the night of June 16, 2013, and at the same time made plans to meet with Lloyd. Hernandez then allegedly drove the other two men, Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace Jr., to the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, picked up Lloyd and returned to North Attleboro, where the 27-year-old semipro football player was gunned down.

The killing occurred shortly before 3:30 a.m. on June 17, 2013, according to court documents. Lloyd's body was discovered roughly 14 hours later.

McCauley also devoted considerable time Thursday to eliciting testimony designed to bolster the value of evidence he is expected to introduce later.

For example, under questioning DiRenzo said that even though the area where the killing occurred is bordered on one side by a major road there is not a way to drive into the field from there -- an important point because prosecutors hope to convince jurors that a tire track left at the scene belonged to a rental car driven by Hernandez.

He also devoted extensive time to establishing where DiRenzo walked, and even showed photographs of the shoes he wore at the scene -- another important point because prosecutors hope to convince jurors that a footprint found at the murder scene matches a pair of Nike Air Jordan sneakers owned by Hernandez.

Hernandez faces one count of murder and two firearms charges in Lloyd's killing.

Although prosecutors have not said who they believe fired the fatal shots, they have asserted that Hernandez "orchestrated" the killing. Ortiz and Wallace have also been indicted on murder charges but will be tried separately. The prosecution does not plan to call either as a witness in the trial.

Hernandez has separately been indicted on multiple murder and assault charges in a July 16, 2012, shooting in South Boston that left two men dead and another wounded.

In the Boston killings, prosecutors have alleged that Hernandez became enraged after a man bumped him on a nightclub dance floor, spilling his drink and failed to apologize. They alleged that Hernandez later followed the man and his friends as they drove away from the club, then pulled up next to their car at a stoplight and opened fire with a .38-caliber revolver, killing Daniel De Abreu, 29, and Safiro Furtado, 28, and wounding another man.

That trial originally was scheduled to begin May 28, but the judge there indicated recently he would push it back given the anticipated length of the trial in the Lloyd case. No new trial date has been set.