Defense attorneys for former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez say a jury considering his Boston double murder case should not be allowed to hear that he has already been convicted of another murder.
In a motion filed in Suffolk Superior Court, the attorneys argued that information about Hernandez’s conviction in the 2013 North Attleborough killing of Odin Lloyd would be “substantially more prejudicial than probative.”
“Massachusetts courts have repeatedly recognized the potential for prejudice posed by admitting prior convictions into evidence, resulting in a ‘substantial risk of a miscarriage of justice,’” the motion said.
In the Boston case, Hernandez is accused of shooting Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in the South End on July 16, 2012, while Alexander Bradley allegedly sat next to him in an SUV. Hernandez is also accused of shooting Bradley in Florida on Feb. 13, 2013.
At a hearing Tuesday, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Locke put the motion aside for potential later discussion. Prosecutors have not yet responded to the request.
Citing previous court decisions, defense attorneys said courts have held that “no defendant should be convicted of a crime by proof of his reputation or propensity to commit similar crimes.”
Defense lawyers often spar with prosecutors about whether juries can hear about allegations and convictions other than the crime at issue in the case.
Before Hernandez stood trial for the murder of Lloyd, a Bristol County judge barred prosecutors from showing evidence from the Boston killing.
Prosecutors suggested that Hernandez might have showed Lloyd the spot where he had killed his two victims in 2012 — and then later regretted telling him. The judge in the Bristol case said that was “not a reasonable inference.”
The motion is part of a flurry of activity in advance of the trial, which is set to begin with jury selection Feb. 13.
Next week, defense attorneys are scheduled to tour the Cure Lounge, where authorities say de Abreu bumped into Hernandez while dancing and caused the athlete to spill some of his drink. That collision angered Hernandez and triggered the killings, prosecutors say.
In a separate filing in court, defense attorneys said they have not been able to get footage from the surveillance cameras covering the downstairs section of the Theater District club, where the interaction happened.
While cameras from upstairs and the lobby worked, the filing says, prosecutors have told defense attorneys that they do not have footage from the eight cameras coverning the downstairs area.
“It is incredulous for the Commonwealth to argue that each one of the downstairs cameras were not recording that evening,” the filing said.