Bristol County prosecutors agreed Thursday that Aaron Hernandez can be moved to a jail closer to Boston, but they strongly rejected complaints from defense attorneys for the former New England Patriots star that he has been mistreated by the Bristol County sheriff’s office, according to court papers.
Hernandez has been held at the Bristol County jail in Dartmouth since his arrest June 26, 2013, in the slaying of Odin L. Lloyd in North Attleborough that month. He is also facing two first-degree murder charges in Suffolk County in the slayings of Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado in Boston in July 2012. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to all charges in both counties.
Hernandez’s Boston-based lawyers recently asked that Hernandez be transferred to another jail while he is awaiting his trials, which are not expected to begin for several months.
Hernandez is to be tried in Bristol Superior Court in Fall River on murder charges in the Lloyd case and in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston in the Abreu and Furtado case.
Hernandez’s lawyers have also questioned the way their client has been treated by Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, who provided prosecutors with tape-recorded conversations between Hernandez and his allies.
The sheriff has also given prosecutors information that led to charges that Hernandez assaulted an inmate at the jail, according to court records.
The lawyers said they spend more than two hours traveling to and from Bristol County to speak with their client and have asked for him to be moved closer to Boston.
Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter’s office agreed in the court papers that defense lawyers should not have to travel so far to meet with Hernandez and endorsed his transfer.
But Sutter’s office sharply criticized the defense lawyers, saying they had used a reasonable and routine request to unfairly vilify both Hodgson and Sutter’s office.
“The government vigorously rejects the defendant’s baseless, theatrical, and legally unsupportable allegations of misconduct against both the sheriff and the prosecution contained in his submission,’’ prosecutors wrote.
“Evidence suggests that efforts to conceal [Hernandez’s] offenses continued even after the defendant’s arrest and detention. In these circumstances, it was by no means unreasonable for the sheriff to harbor concerns that the defendant might use the prison communication system or visitor privileges to facilitate his criminal endeavors,’’ prosecutors wrote.
The request for changing Hernandez’s location is pending before Bristol Superior Court Judge E. Susan Garsh.