A judge threw out evidence in the murder case of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, saying authorities did not have probable cause to search Hernandez’s rented apartment, reports the Associated Press.
In an affidavit, Judge E. Susan Garsh said there were "absolutely no facts” linking Hernandez "in any way at all to the crime under investigation.” Police used the warrant to try to obtain a cellphone belonging to co-defendant Carlos Ortiz.
Police applied for additional warrants to look for ammunition, but Garsh ruled that any subsequent searches had to be thrown out because police did not have probable cause for the first one. The .45 caliber bullets that were found in the apartment and a .45-caliber magazine found in his Hummer were thrown out as evidence.
Hernandez, 24, is in jail awaiting the trial, and stands accused of the first-degree murder of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd. He pleaded not guilty in the case, and his trial is scheduled to start Jan. 9. Prosecutors believe Lloyd was killed with a .45-caliber firearm, but they have yet to find the weapon.
Garsh said that authorities could have gotten the probable cause requirement by attaching an existing affidavit copy supporting a search warrant for Hernandez's home.
Hernandez also pleaded not guilty to murder in the 2012 deaths of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, an attack that allegedly occurred after one of the men accidentally spilled a drink on the former Patriots star at a Boston nightclub.
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