A Suffolk County judge ruled Thursday that a car dealership that leased a Toyota 4Runner to former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez cannot get the vehicle back until his upcoming double murder trial concludes in Boston.
Judge Jeffrey Locke denied the motion from Fox Toyota of East Providence, R.I., for the return of the SUV but said it could renew its request after trial.
Locke sided in a brief ruling with Hernandez’s layers, who argued that the jury should be able to view the 4Runner. The trial will likely begin later this year.
“A viewing of the vehicle to fully understand its size, shape, interior, and seating mechanisms may be helpful to jurors,” Locke wrote.
Prosecutors say Hernandez was riding in the 4Runner when he allegedly shot Daniel Abreu, 29, and Safiro Furtado, 28, in Boston’s South End in 2012. He has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and other charges.
Hernandez is already serving a life sentence for the June 2013 fatal shooting of Odin L. Lloyd. An appeal in that case will be heard before the state Supreme Judicial Court.
Martin Finucane of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.