Ex-NFL star back in court ahead of double murder trial
BOSTON (AP) Jurors at Aaron Hernandez's upcoming double murder trial shouldn't hear about his tattoos or text messages sent to his sports agent, attorneys for former New England Patriots player told a judge Tuesday.
Hernandez is charged with killing two men in a 2012 drive-by shooting, because one of the men bumped into the former football star in a Boston nightclub, prosecutors said.
Hernandez, who attended Tuesday's hearing wearing a suit and a tie, has pleaded not guilty to killing 29-year-old Daniel de Abreu and 28-year-old Safiro Furtado. His trial is scheduled to start in February.
Hernandez had tattoos done soon after the victims were killed that link him to the slayings, prosecutor Patrick Haggan said in court.
One is of a revolver with five bullets in the chamber and one missing, which prosecutors allege represents the five shots fired into the car occupied by the victims. They also pointed to a tattoo that reads ''God Forgives,'' but written backward so it becomes clear only when read in a mirror.
Ronald Sullivan, one of Hernandez's attorneys, called the prosecution's theory ''speculation,'' and ''inference,'' and said allowing jurors to hear about the tattoos would be a violation of Hernandez's constitutional right to a fair trial.
The defense also asked the judge to bar as evidence text messages between Hernandez and a former friend that were later forwarded to sports agent Brian Murphy.
The prosecution said the texts, involving prosecution witness Alexander Bradley, also tie Hernandez to the crime.
The defense said the texts are protected by attorney-client privilege.
The prosecution said Murphy was not acting as Hernandez's lawyer at the time.
Suffolk Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Locke did not immediately rule.
Hernandez is already serving a life sentence for the 2013 shooting death of Odin Lloyd, the boyfriend of his fiancee's sister.