BOSTON (CBS) — A ripple of surprise spread through Suffolk Superior Court Tuesday morning as several hundred potential jurors found out they were part of jury selection in Aaron Hernandez‘s second murder trial.
The former New England Patriots tight end is charged with murder in the shooting deaths of two men, Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, after a fight at a nightclub in the Back Bay in July 2012.
In all, Hernandez is charged with two counts of murder, three counts of armed assault with intent to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, unlawful possession of a firearm, and intimidation of a witness.
Prosecutors allege that Hernandez shot the men over a spilled drink. He has pleaded not guilty.
Not mentioned to potential jurors Tuesday was the fact that Hernandez is already spending life in prison after being convicted in the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player who was dating Hernandez’s fiancee’s sister.
As Hernandez was introduced to the juror pool, several people re-positioned themselves just to get a glimpse of him.
One man was ordered to remove his Patriots hat, but he told WBZ after he was excused for other reasons. He didn’t want to show his face, but says the judge also asked about his hand tattoo, a subject expected to come up in trial of the heavily inked Hernandez.
“Yeah. Basically he shot what three, four people already?” the man said.
Over the next three days, they will complete a questionnaire with a possible appointment as one of 16 chosen jurors who will hear evidence in the trial.
WBZ-TV’s Nicole Jacobs said it appeared that about half of the potential jurors presented themselves to the judge as having hardships should they be selected for the trial.
Jury selection was originally scheduled for Monday, but was postponed due to the snowstorm.
Opening statements in the trial are set to begin March 1. The judge told the jury pool he expected it to continue into the first or second week of April.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karyn Regal reports