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Aaron Hernandez Murder Trial: Defense Rests After Three Witnesses

Lawyers for former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez rested their case in his murder trial Monday after calling just three witnesses.
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/ Source: NBC News

FALL RIVER, Massachusetts — Lawyers for former New England Patriots star tight end Aaron Hernandez rested their case in his murder trial Monday after calling just three witnesses.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to murder in the June 17, 2013, killing of Odin Lloyd, who was shot six times at an industrial park less than a mile from Hernandez's home in North Attleborough, Massachusetts.

The main witness was a professor at Tufts University School of Medicine, who testified about the effects of the drug PCP, saying it can cause people to become suddenly violent days after using it. Hernandez's cousin testified that she saw his two co-defendants, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, smoking PCP the weekend of the crime. Both men have pleaded not guilty and will be tried later.

After the defense rested, prosecutors called a rebuttal witness to testify about PCP. That witness, Dr. Martin Brecher, a psychiatrist who wrote a paper reviewing cases of PCP over decades, said it was wrong to associate the drug and violence.

While they spent less than a day putting on a defense, Hernandez's lawyers vigorously cross-examined many of the prosecution's 131 witnesses, some for hours, during the more than two-month-long trial. They questioned why Hernandez would put his life and career on the line to kill a man they said was a friend. They also attacked what they painted as sloppy police work.

Prosecutors haven't a possible motive for the killing, they had no witnesses and they never found the murder weapon. But they presented hundreds of pieces of evidence, including surveillance videos from inside Hernandez's home that showed him holding a black object that appeared to be a gun less than 10 minutes after Lloyd's killing. A joint found near Lloyd's body had DNA from both men on it.

Closing arguments are set for Tuesday or Wednesday. After that, the 15 jurors will be given instructions, then three of those will be randomly selected as alternate jurors.


— The Associated Press