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Judge denies Hernandez’s request for dismissal

Cites ‘strong evidence’ in Lloyd killing

Judge Susan Garsh

JOSH REYNOLDS/EPA

Judge Susan Garsh

A Bristol Superior Court judge has rejected a defense request to dismiss all charges against Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots player accused of killing a Dorchester man in 2013.

In the ruling released Thursday, Judge E. Susan Garsh rejected defense arguments that Hernandez has been wrongly accused of murder because Bristol prosecutors have not shown who actually fired the shots that killed Odin L. Lloyd in a North Attleborough industrial park.

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“The Commonwealth was not required to present evidence before the grand jury as to exactly how Hernandez participated in the murder or as to who shot Lloyd, given the strong evidence that Hernandez’’ or two Hernandez allies shot the man, Garsh wrote in her ruling.

The defense also contended, Garsh wrote, that the only thing proven by Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter’s office is that Hernandez was in a car with his friends, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, when they picked up Lloyd in Dorchester and drove to North Attleborough.

“He claims that the evidence demonstrated no more than his presence in the car with Ortiz, Wallace, and Lloyd shortly before Lloyd was shot to death,’’ Garsh wrote. But “the grand jury heard sufficient evidence to establish probable cause that Hernandez intentionally participated in some meaningful way in the commission of the offense’’ of first-degree murder.

In summarizing the government’s evidence against the former star tight end, Garsh identified what appears to be the alleged motive for Lloyd’s killing, although the judge noted that prosecutors are not required by state law to prove why someone commits a murder.

According to the ruling, Hernandez, armed with a handgun, and Lloyd went to a Boston nightclub on June 14, 2013. In the early-morning hours, Hernandez and Lloyd drove to a townhouse in Franklin that Hernandez owned.

They were accompanied by two women. Hernandez’s primary residence was in North Attleborough, where he lived with his girlfriend, Shayanna Jenkins, and their child.

Hernandez later became upset that he had taken Lloyd to the Franklin property, according to Garsh.

“ ‘Somehow [I] told [Lloyd] about my other spot, and I just woke up bugging,’ ” Hernandez was quoted as saying, Garsh wrote.

With information from the women, police searched the Franklin property after the murder and found .45-caliber ammunition, the same type used to kill Lloyd, the judge noted.

Hernandez allegedly summoned Wallace and Ortiz from their shared hometown of Bristol, Conn., on June 16, Garsh wrote. At about 2:30 a.m., Hernandez, Wallace, and Ortiz drove to Dorchester where they picked up Lloyd from his Fayston Street home.

Lloyd was shot to death about 3:30 a.m. A few minutes later, Hernandez and the two men returned to his North Attleborough home. Garsh said the former NFL player had what appeared to be a .45-caliber pistol in his hand.

“The uncontested evidence was more than adequate to meet the Commonwealth’s burden of establishing probable cause,’’ Garsh wrote. “Hernandez is not entitled to dismissal of the indictments.’’

John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@
globe.com
. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.
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