Friday January 23rd, 2015

The judge presiding over the murder trial of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez said she expected opening statements to start on Tuesday, reports Kevin Vaughan of Fox Sports.

Bristol County Superior Court judge E. Susan Garsh said that selection of 18 jurors (12 regular jurors and six alternates) should be wrapped up by Monday and that opening statements can begin the next day.

Hernandez, 25, is charged with first-degree murder after the June 2013 shooting death of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancée. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

•​ McCANN: Key issues in murder trial of Aaron Hernandez

Prosecutors have said they expect for the trial to last two-and-a-half months and anticipate calling about 45 witnesses. Patriots owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick are two of more than 300 names that were listed by prosecutors as possible witnesses for the trial.

According to court documents, Hernandez and two other men allegedly picked up Lloyd and drove him to a secluded area a mile from Hernandez’s home. Lloyd was then shot several times with a .45-caliber handgun. The two other men allegedly involved, Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace Jr., have also been charged with murder and will be tried separately.

Hernandez is also accused of the 2012 alleged murders of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, who prosecutors say were shot when one of them accidentally spilled a drink on the former Patriots tight end at a Boston nightclub. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to those murder charges as well.

- Scooby Axson

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