FALL RIVER — Jurors in the murder trial of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez on Tuesday watched a video of the athlete dismantling his cellphone and using a second phone to make a call, hours after the body of the victim was found.
The footage, shot early on June 18, 2013, as Hernandez sat in a vehicle outside a police station, was among several pieces of evidence that prosecutors introduced Tuesday in their effort to link Hernandez to the crime scene and to his alleged accomplices in the slaying of Odin L. Lloyd, 27, of Dorchester.
A teenage jogger discovered Lloyd’s body in an industrial yard near Hernandez’s North Attleborough home around 5 p.m. on June 17, 2013. Hernandez, 25, has pleaded not guilty to murder and weapons charges in Lloyd’s death.
On Tuesday, North Attleborough Detective Michael Elliott testified that he used a camera affixed to the police station to zoom in on Hernandez as he took apart his phone and made a call on a second device.
In the video clip, Hernandez was seen walking to a vehicle with his then-attorney and speaking on the borrowed phone inside the car, at times gesticulating with one hand as his personal phone sat on his lap in pieces.
Prosecutors have said that Hernandez used the borrowed phone to call Ernest Wallace, an alleged accomplice in the slaying, though Elliott did not make that assertion on the stand.
He conceded during cross examination by defense lawyer James Sultan that Hernandez did not smash his personal phone in the vehicle, but instead slid the back cover off to remove the battery.
Elliott also testified that police seized a box of .22 caliber ammunition from a safe in Hernandez’s basement shortly after Lloyd’s death and recovered a .45 caliber shell casing from a dumpster at a nearby Enterprise rental car office.
Prosecutors have said Hernandez returned a rented Nissan Altima, which they say he used to pick up Lloyd and drive him into the industrial park, to the same Enterprise office after the slaying. Prosecutor Patrick Bomberg said in his opening statement last month that Hernandez’s DNA was found on a shell casing left in the Altima. Elliott, however, did not testify about DNA on Tuesday.
Investigators have not recovered the .45 caliber firearm used to kill Lloyd. But authorities have said that state troopers found a .22 caliber gun in a wooded area near the crime scene, and that Wallace and another man, Carlos Ortiz, handled a similar firearm on the night of the slaying. Wallace and Ortiz have also pleaded not guilty to Lloyd’s murder and will be tried separately.
Earlier Tuesday, another prosecution witness, Mark Archambault, of Smithfield, R.I., said he installed a video surveillance system in Hernandez’s home about a month before the killing, and Hernandez asked if he could turn off the basement camera “because he didn’t want his fiancee to see him hanging out with his friends.”
Prosecutors have alleged that Hernandez’s home surveillance system captured him holding a gun in an entrance to the basement shortly after the slaying, and Ortiz has told investigators that Hernandez stored guns in the basement after the killing, according to court records.
Police officials also testified on Tuesday about a white towel that investigators found at the crime scene. Hernandez’s lawyers have sought to link the towel to Ortiz, who was seen on video surveillance footage wearing a white towel around his neck in the hours before the murder.
One prosecution witness, North Attleborough police Officer John Grim, said he noticed a white towel lying about four or five yards from Lloyd’s feet when he arrived at the crime scene.
Grim told Sultan on cross examination that he mistakenly wrote in a report that the towel was just a few feet from Lloyd’s body. Sultan then asked Grim if anyone told him “that it would be helpful to the prosecution in this case” if he testified that the towel was farther away, and Grim denied receiving any such instructions.
On redirect, prosecutor William McCauley displayed a crime scene photo on the courtroom monitors of Lloyd’s body, which showed the towel about 10 to 15 feet away from Lloyd. Grim said the towel was in that spot when he arrived.
Testimony is scheduled to resume Wednesday.