Attorneys argue over blurry Aaron Hernandez video
FALL RIVER — Lawyers on both sides of the murder trial of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez clashed Thursday over video surveillance that prosecutors say showed the athlete carrying a gun in his home soon after Odin L. Lloyd was shot to death.
Defense attorneys continued to question prosecution witness Kyle Aspinwall, an official with the Glock firearms company, who had testified Wednesday that Hernandez’s home security system showed him carrying a Glock pistol in the foyer of his North Attleborough residence at about 3:30 a.m. on June 17, 2013.
Lloyd was fatally shot minutes earlier in a nearby industrial park with a .45 caliber Glock handgun, according to authorities. The murder weapon has not been found.
James Sultan, a lawyer for Hernandez, at times used biting language to suggest that Aspinwall’s opinion of what he saw on the blurry surveillance footage changed over time to suit the needs of prosecutors.
“You eyeballed [the footage] . . . trying to see a Glock handgun in those grainy videos, right?” Sultan asked. “Because that’s what the prosecution wanted you to see, right?”’
“That’s what they asked me to do,” Aspinwall said.
Sultan said Aspinwall told prosecutors in December that the object in the surveillance images appeared to be a Glock, based on its back-strap. On Wednesday, Aspinwall had testified that in his opinion, “the firearm shown in the video stills is a Glock pistol,” based on the back-strap and several other markers.
“Lo and behold, your opinion got better and better for the prosecution team, didn’t it?” Sultan asked Thursday.
“My opinion changed,” Aspinwall said.
Sultan also asked about pellet guns that look like Glocks, and he noted that Hernandez at one point held the object in the footage by its muzzle, which would be unsafe if the item was an actual Glock.
Prosecutor Patrick Bomberg’s follow-up questioning was tinged with sarcasm, asking Aspinwall if he was “aware of anyone going pellet gun shooting at 3:30 in the morning.” Aspinwall said no.
In addition, he told Bomberg that he did not see an orange dot on the muzzle of the firearm that Hernandez held in the footage. An orange dot would signal that the gun was a replica.
Sultan also focused on surveillance images captured around the same time as the image of Hernandez holding the object described as a gun. In the additional images, Hernandez held a glowing object that Sultan suggested was an iPad or another electronic device.
“Glock pistols don’t have white glows to them, do they?” Sultan asked. “No, they do not,” Aspinwall said.
Electronics factored into Bomberg’s questioning as well. Shortly before the lunch recess, he asked Aspinwall about magazines that hold ammunition and then put an image from Hernandez’s cellphone on a courtroom monitor. He asked Aspinwall to read several items listed under the heading “Get Done.” The list was not dated.
“Hummer, Stolen range, Aaron stretcher, send rounds,” the list read in part.
Bomberg did not elaborate on the list, and it was not clear what he intended to convey to the jury. Investigators recovered a loaded .45 caliber magazine from a Hummer registered to Hernandez after Lloyd’s death. Rounds can sometimes refer to rounds of ammunition. The Hummer evidence was thrown out before trial.
Hernandez, 25, and two accomplices, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, have pleaded not guilty to charges of murdering Lloyd, 27, of Dorchester. Wallace and Ortiz will be tried separately.
On Thursday, Sultan showed surveillance images of Ortiz and Wallace entering Hernandez’s home around the same time as the athlete soon after the murder. Sultan repeatedly pointed to images of Ortiz holding an object and asked Aspinwall if the item appeared to be a gun.
“I wouldn’t think that’s a firearm, but I can’t tell what it is,” Aspinwall said.
Also Thursday, jurors viewed phone records showing that Ortiz set up a prepaid phone account two days before the slaying. The phone was disconnected the day after the murder.