FALL RIVER, Massachusetts — The jury in Aaron Hernandez’s murder trial ended its first full day of deliberation without reaching a verdict Wednesday.
The jury received the case Tuesday, after spending nine weeks listening to police officers, friends of the former football player and the owner of the New England Patriots testify about the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd.
Lawyers spent Wednesday morning organizing the 439 exhibits in the case before sending the evidence into the jury room about 11 a.m. Within an hour, the jury sent a note to the court asking for an index of all the evidence that they can reference during deliberations.
Lawyers agreed to provide a “generic list” of exhibits that omits specifics about what certain photographs depict.
The seven women and five men on the jury began deliberating late Tuesday, after Superior Court Judge E. Susan Garsh spent an hour giving them instructions about how to evaluate the case and what the government must have proved in order for them to find Hernandez guilty of the three counts contained in his indictment: murder, illegal possession of a firearm and illegal possession of ammunition.
In her instructions, Garsh reminded jurors that the state does not need to prove that Hernandez “personally committed the act or even that he intended to do so.” Two of the former Patriots’ tight end’s Bristol, Connecticut, hometown friends also are charged in Lloyd’s murder. The state must only prove knowing participation and intent.
In presenting their case against Hernandez, prosecutors focused on the former Patriots player’s “consciousness of guilt” after the slaying, accusing him of destroying evidence and helping his friends flee Massachusetts. Garsh reminded jurors that Hernandez was “not obligated to report a crime or volunteer information about a crime to police.”
On the verdict slip for murder, jurors must select between not guilty, guilty in the first degree and guilty in the second degree.
Garsh received another note from the jury Wednesday afternoon asking for clarification on the firearms charges. She brought them into the courtroom and explained the legal definition for “constructive possession” of an object.
Jury selection in the case began Jan. 9, and a panel that included several alternates was seated by the end of the month. The jury began deliberating in the 10th week of the trial since opening statements Jan. 29.
“We slogged through mountains of snow and now it’s spring,” defense attorney James Sultan told the jury in his closing argument Tuesday.