The first-degree murder trial of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez in the shooting death of Odin L. Lloyd in 2013 will now begin in early 2015, with jury selection set to start Jan. 9, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Flanked by his attorneys, Hernandez appeared in Bristol Superior Court in Fall River Tuesday where Superior Court Judge E. Susan Garsh set the date for jury selection. Before that date, however, the judge has to decide a number of issues, including a possible defense request for a change of venue.
Also Tuesday, Hernandez defense attorney Michael K. Fee told the judge that an effort by the defense to get some records from Hernandez’s former NFL team has been resolved.
Fee did not provide details, and his announcement led to cancellation of a hearing that was set for Tuesday afternoon. Earlier this month, the Patriots agreed to turn over 317 pages of Hernandez’s medical records to the defense, but balked at providing scouting reports or a psychological report prepared before the 2010 NFL draft.
The Patriots attorney referred questions to team spokesman Stacey James, who did not return a telephone call Tuesday.
During the discussion about jury selection, Garsh said that she wants 1,000 potential jurors to be brought to the courthouse to fill out questionnaires and then to hold individual questioning of jurors later in the month.
According to state Jury Commissioner Pamela J. Wood, Garsh’s request for 1,000 people is 10 times more than has been required for a murder trial in a Massachusetts courthouse in the past five years.
Through a court spokeswoman, Wood also noted that the total sought by Garsh represents 20 times the number of potential jurors usually sought for a typical Superior Court trial.
From the bench Tuesday, Garsh also addressed defense concerns that news organizations have broadcast conversations between the lawyers and their client over the Internet while live streaming hearings. The case has drawn national attention.
The SJC states that electronic recordings by the news media are allowed in court, but a judge may not permit recording of any bench and sidebar conferences or confer- ences between counsel and client.
The attorneys did not state what conversations were transmitted. They said that one of Hernandez’s relatives watching the live broadcast by NECN online on July 7 was able to hear discussions between Fee and Hernandez and make out what they were saying.
The relative was not in the courtroom at the time.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to killing Lloyd in June 2013 near Hernandez’s North Attleborough home.
Two Hernandez allies, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, have both been charged with murder in Lloyd’s death, and they both have pleaded not guilty.
Hernandez is also charged with fatally shooting two men following a chance encounter at a Boston Theatre District nightclub in July 2012, during which one of the men accidentally bumped into Hernandez, causing him to spill his drink.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to murder charges in the deaths of Safiro Furtado and Daniel Abreu, two Cape Verdean house cleaners who had never met Hernandez before that night and whose families are suing Hernandez for wrongful death.
The Lloyd family has also filed a wrongful death lawsuit.