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The Boston Globe

Metro

Judge tosses out electronics evidence in Hernandez case

A Bristol Superior Court judge Tuesday threw out evidence taken from several electronic devices seized by state troopers last year from the North Attleborough home of Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots tight end charged with three murders.

In a 28-page ruling, Judge E. Susan Garsh did not specify what evidence from the devices — an iPhone 5, a Blackberry Bold cellphone, an Apple iPad, and two iPad minis — will be inadmissible at Hernandez’s trial on charges of murdering Odin L. Lloyd of Dorchester in June 2013.

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A lawyer for Hernandez and a spokesman for Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter both declined to comment.

Garsh wrote that shortly after Lloyd’s death, Hernandez told investigators he had last seen Lloyd in Boston and he had the address saved in a GPS device.

When troopers later entered Hernandez’s home in June 2013 with a search warrant, they “operated under the misimpression that the Search Warrant authorized the seizure of GPS devices when they seized the cell phones and tablets from Hernandez’s residence,” Garsh wrote.

In the ruling, Garsh rejected the prosecutors’ argument that troopers were entitled to seize any cellphones in Hernandez’s home in order to determine which one was his.

“In effect, the Commonwealth maintains that a search warrant for a cell phone with a designated number constitutes authority in all cases to seize every cell phone found at the search site,” Garsh wrote.

Last month, Garsh denied a defense motion to suppress additional evidence taken from a separate cellphone that belonged to Hernandez, which he had given to his attorney and which State Police had obtained another warrant for.

Authorities say Hernandez’s number from that cellphone was programmed into Lloyd’s phone and Lloyd called and texted Hernandez a few hours before he was shot. They also allege that Hernandez summoned his codefendants in the slaying via text message several hours before the murder.

In her July ruling, Garsh had also denied a defense motion to suppress images from Hernandez’s home surveillance system, which allegedly showed him holding a gun inside the residence shortly after the fatal shooting of Lloyd, whose bullet-riddled body was found in an industrial yard near Hernandez’s spacious home.

Hernandez, 24, and two alleged accomplices, Carlos Ortiz, 28, and Ernest Wallace, 42, have all pleaded not guilty to murder charges in the killing of Lloyd.

Hernandez has also pleaded not guilty in Suffolk County to two counts of murder in the July 2012 shooting deaths of Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtado in Boston’s South End.

The families of all three of Hernandez’s alleged murder victims have filed wrongful death lawsuits against him, and he is also being sued in Florida by a former associate who alleges that Hernandez shot him in the face in that state.

Martin Finucane and Peter Schworm of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.
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