Jurors Ask Question About Witness Intimidation In Hernandez Murder Trial

BOSTON (CBS/AP) – After two full days of deliberations, there is still no verdict in the trial of former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez.

Follow: WBZ-TV’s Christina Hager’s Tweets From Court

Hernandez is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the shootings of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in the South End on July 16, 2012.

photo1 Jurors Ask Question About Witness Intimidation In Hernandez Murder Trial

Daniel de Abreu (left) and Safiro Furtado. (WBZ-TV graphic)

He’s also charged with three counts of armed assault with intent to murder for allegedly shooting at three survivors; one count of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon; one count of witness intimidation and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm.

As jurors began deliberating Monday, Ronald Sullivan Jr., a defense attorney for Hernandez, objected to the judge’s selection of a white woman as the jury forewoman in his double-murder trial.

Sullivan said the choice of a white woman on the mostly minority jury “has very troubling racial overtones.” He said choosing her as forewoman ensured she would remain on the jury instead of being dismissed as an alternate.

Judge Jeffrey Locke said he found it “astounding” that Sullivan would make that claim.

Locke also heard yet another motion for mistrial by the defense. Sullivan had argued that the case should be thrown out because prosecutors called Hernandez’s tattoos a confession in closing arguments last week.

But Locke said he was confident that jurors weren’t misled by the closing arguments, and denied the request.

Late Monday, jurors asked the judge about witness intimidation in the case. In that charge, Hernandez is accused of shooting his former friend Alexander Bradley, who says he’s the only eyewitness to the 2012 murders. Bradley says Hernandez tried to kill him to silence him.

Jurors are focused on the word “indirect” versus “direct” behavior Hernandez allegedly used to intimidate Bradley.

Attorneys in the room were hesitant to interpret that, since they don’t know exactly what jurors were referring to, but it seems they are suggesting Hernandez is guilty of indirectly intimidating Bradley.

The judge said he did not immediately see any cases relating to indirect witness interference. He and attorneys planned to spend the evening researching. On Tuesday morning, they’ll try to agree on an answer to give to the jury and give it to them to continue sorting it out.

Deliberations are set to resume Tuesday.

Hernandez is already serving a life sentence at the Souza Baranowski prison in Shirley for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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