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Aaron Hernandez’s jailhouse calls at issue

Aaron Hernandez, 25, has pleaded not guilty to murder and weapons charges in the June 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd.Dominick Reuter/Reuters

FALL RIVER — Lawyers for Aaron Hernandez on Wednesday asked the judge presiding over his murder trial to bar prosecutors from playing recordings of his jailhouse phone conversations with Miami Dolphins player Mike Pouncey and others.

The attorneys for Hernandez, a former star tight end for the New England Patriots, said in a court filing that the calls are “irrelevant, prejudicial, and constitute inadmissible hearsay.” Prosecutors said they would file a response Thursday.

Call transcripts that were included in the filing provided a rare view into Hernandez’s mind-set behind bars since his arrest in June 2013, for allegedly orchestrating the slaying of Odin L. Lloyd, 27, of Dorchester. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to murder and weapons charges.


In one call in October 2013, Hernandez told Pouncey, a former teammate at the University of Florida, that he misses Ernest Wallace, a codefendant in Lloyd’s slaying who will be tried separately. Wallace was housed at the Plymouth County House of Correction at the time.

“He’s locked up with that, with that mafia dude. . . . the mafia dude up here who just got caught,” Hernandez told Pouncey, in an apparent reference to James “Whitey” Bulger, who spent sixteen years as a fugitive and who was being held at the Plymouth jail. Bulger was captured in June 2011, but he was being held in the Plymouth County jail during that period awaiting sentencing after his conviction in US District Court in Boston.

Wallace was “in the jail right next to him,” Hernandez told Pouncey.

Two weeks later, State Police served Pouncey with a subpoena at Gillette Stadium after the Dolphins played the Patriots, ordering Pouncey to appear before a grand jury.

Other transcripts detail conversations that Hernandez had with his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins, and his cousin, Tanya Singleton, both of whom face criminal charges in Lloyd’s death.


“Obviously don’t say nothing, but I love you,” Hernandez told Singleton in July 2013.

“I know,” Singleton said. “I’m not saying nothing. I love you so much.”

Singleton was later jailed on contempt charges for refusing to testify before two grand juries investigating Hernandez, and she still faces an accessory charge in Bristol County for allegedly helping Wallace flee after Lloyd’s death.

Jenkins, who faces a perjury charge, informed Hernandez of Singleton’s arrest in a phone call in August 2013. “Um, Tanya’s in jail,” Jenkins said, adding that Hernandez should talk to his lawyers about the news.

In a subsequent call, Hernandez told Jenkins that the only silver lining was that Singleton, who is battling cancer, is “gonna lose weight” in jail.

“Shut up,” Jenkins said.

Hernandez also urged her to drop money off at Singleton’s Bristol, Conn., home for her prison canteen, and Jenkins balked. “Babe, I’m not going over there,” she told him in August 2013, prompting Hernandez to lament that “she’s got no money in jail.”

Hernandez just wanted Singleton to be able to eat, he said, and Jenkins replied, “Don’t make it so depressing. . . . Are you kidding me right now?” She said she was trying to follow the advice of her attorneys, while Hernandez was “trying to have me do other things.”

The athlete again mentioned money for Singleton the following month, when he spoke with his cousin, Jennifer Mercado, who is Singleton’s sister. Mercado told Hernandez that she received money from his agent meant for Singleton, who has young children.


“I had him send $500 for her canteen and stuff for the boys for stuff like that for school and everything,” Hernandez said.

At other times, he referenced trust funds he set up for his daughter and two other children. His relationship with the other children was not clear from the transcripts.

Hernandez told an unidentified woman in July 2013 that he put $250,000 into a fund for his daughter, and “it will be a million by the time she’s 18, 6 million by the time she’s like, 30.”

“Oh, my God,” the woman said.

During Hernandez’s trial Wednesday, State Police Lieutenant Steven C. Bennett testified that a footprint left near Lloyd’s body matched a style of Air Jordan sneakers that Hernandez wore about the time of the slaying.

The shoes were in Hernandez’s home days after the killing but have since gone missing, according to prosecutors and court records.

Defense lawyer James Sultan noted on cross-examination that Bennett’s initial report in March 2014 said the footprint had a herring-bone design around the heel of the sole, but the quality of the print was too poor for further analysis.

Bennett conceded that his opinion changed after another investigator on the case supplied him with photos of Air Jordan Retro 11 sneakers in November 2014. He said he used the photos for comparison purposes.

John R. Ellement and Martin Finucane of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com.