FALL RIVER (AP) — A heavy police escort accompanied jurors in the murder trial of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez on Friday as they toured key spots in the case, including Hernandez’s home, the street where the victim lived and the spot where his body was found.
For nearly 4 ½ hours, the coach bus, surrounded by police cars, made its way from Fall River north to Boston, then back to North Attleborough, stopping periodically to let jurors off.
Hernandez was not allowed on the tour, but lawyers for both sides attended, as did Bristol County Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh, who is overseeing the case.
On the way north, the tour also stopped at cellphone towers that picked up data investigators used to build a case against Hernandez.
Hernandez is charged with the June 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd, a semipro football player who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee.
Lloyd lived in Boston’s Dorchester section with his mother and sisters.
Massachusetts State Police and other law enforcement blocked off his narrow street. Jurors exited the bus and stood on the street outside Lloyd’s home. Less than 20 minutes later, they left.
Prosecutors have said Lloyd got into a car driven by Hernandez on that street shortly before he was killed.
Lloyd’s mother, Ursula Ward, came home shortly after the bus departed. Ward testified this week but only after the judge instructed her to control her emotions and not to cry on the stand when looking at photos of her dead son. Ward remained stoic.
Police cars were waiting for the bus when it arrived at the North Attleborough Industrial Park, where Lloyd’s body was found June 17, 2013.
At the time of the killing, the site was an empty gravel lot with vegetation growing all around. Now, it’s covered in snow. Jurors walked to the spot where Lloyd’s body was found and returned to the bus after around 15 minutes in the cold.
Jurors then took the 1-mile drive to Hernandez’s mansion. They then spent around 45 minutes touring the home.
Prosecutors said in court Friday morning that among the things they would point out were surveillance cameras inside and outside the home.
Prosecutors had complained earlier in the week that religious items, trophies and other personal items had been added to the home since the 2013 killing. Defense lawyer James Sultan said Friday that the items had been removed.
Jurors were led back to the bus by the judge and court officers, who were holding ceremonial poles that were about 7 feet tall.
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