Massachusetts authorities dust off 2007 shooting in Gainesville

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As if the folks in Massachusetts didn’t already have their hands full with an alleged murder involving Aaron Hernandez and an unsolved double murder in which he still could be implicated, the powers-that-be are now dusting off an even colder case, in another jurisdiction.

ABC News reports that authorities investigating the murder of Odin Lloyd have contacted police in Gainesville to determine whether Hernandez had a role in a September 2007 shooting there.

A witness to the shooting does not identify Hernandez by name, but the witness said the shooter was a “‘Hawaiian’ or ‘Hispanic’ male who had a large muscular build, stood about 6-foot-3 or 6-foot-4, weighed about 230 or 240 pounds and had a lot of tattoos.”

Here’s the relevant portion of the police report:  “As they were waiting for the light to change, the Hawaiian football player and Reggie Nelson walked up to their car on the right side.  Then without saying a work [sic], the Hawaiian pointed a small handgun in the front right window and fired five quick shots.  [Randall] Cason saw [Corey] Smith slump over with blood coming out of the back of the head, at which time the Hawaiian and Nelson took off running towards McDonald’s.”

Cason later explained to police that, earlier in the week, his brother had gotten into an altercation with several Florida football players.  Hernandez, Nelson, and Mike and Maurkice Pouncey had been in a Gainesville nightclub on the night of the shooting — even though Hernandez was still only 17 at the time.

According to the police report, Hernandez declined to talk to investigators, invoking his right to have counsel present.

Setting aside for now any questions regarding the failure of the Gainesville police or the local media to push this matter more aggressively, prosecutors in Massachusetts are now dusting it off for an entirely different reason.  They obviously want to determine whether evidence of the Gainesville shooting can be introduced at trial as a “prior bad act” committed by Hernandez.

The lawyers in the crowd know that the operative rule is known broadly as 404(b):  “Evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts is not admissible to prove the character of a person in order to show action in conformity therewith. It may, however, be admissible for other purposes, such as proof of motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity, nature of relationship, or absence of mistake or accident.”

In English, this means that evidence of other misconduct can’t be used to generally prove that the defendant is a bad guy, but that it can be used to show, for example, that whatever alternative explanation for the death of Odin Lloyd is offered at trial by Hernandez’s legal team is, to use a technical term, a load of crap.  If, for example, the lawyers try to conjure reasonable doubt by claiming that the goal wasn’t to kill Odin Lloyd but to scare him and the gun accidentally went off, proof of the other shooting could be used to counter the idea that it was an accident.  (Even then, Hernandez would be facing serious legal problems, but not first-degree murder.)

The problem with so-called 404(b) evidence is that it creates one or more trials within a trial, taking the focus away from the incident at hand.  Judges are therefore wary of distracting the jury and prolonging the proceeding, and they have broad discretion to slam the door on the effort to dredge up unrelated events.

If the judge in this case isn’t inclined to seal off that avenue, the Hernandez trial apparently could end up looking a lot like the Seinfeld trial.

73 responses to “Massachusetts authorities dust off 2007 shooting in Gainesville

  1. All of this raises serious questions about the validity of Urban Meyer’s ‘health issues’ and why he decided to leave Florida so abruptly. He had a team full of turds.

  2. It seems as if the only police doing their job is the MPD. Seriously, the police in Gainesville that investigated that incident should be brought to trial for leaving dangerous criminals on the street. I’ve witnessed police in my city let DRUNK DRIVERS back on the road. If they happen to get in to an accident and kill someone the media will spin it as a tragedy but the police just see it as overtime.

  3. American Pshycho= Hernandez…..Does he also taste their brains?

    What is wrong with this guy and why in the world would the people of MASS want to pay for this loser to live in their jails for 50+ years?

  4. Although you don’t tell us, and although it seems unlikely, Mr. Smith must have survived or there would have been a harder push to solve a homicide, right?

    Gainesville authorities must have breathed sighs of relief when Hernandez left early for the NFL.

  5. So the “Hawaiian” was with Reggie Nelson when the “Hawaiian” shot into the car. Was Reggie Nelson questioned? Did they consider bringing charges against Reggie Nelson? Am I the only one that thinks there is something rotten in Gainesville?

  6. Didn’t BB draft or sign undrafted Gators from Meyers Florida team? And not a few, all available?

    Getting vicious players on your team might be the only way to win football games, aside from finesse positions.

  7. This seems pretty flimsy. They can’t positively identify Hernandez as the shooter in that case and there are no shortage of tall, built Hispanic/Hawaiian men in Gainseville sporting a variety of tattoos. Without a positive ID, this would just be a red herring, and if they do have a positive ID why hasn’t he been charged for murder in Florida?

  8. Hernandez team, The Bloods, must be so proud of Aaron….Gang Bangers in College? Just wrong on so many levels….

  9. That’s just bizarre. Reggie Nelson is identified as being at the scene with the person who fired the gun and somehow there apparently isn’t anyone ever brought to trial. So, that’s two people Hernandez may have shot down in Florida with no charges brought against him? Beautiful.

    To those of you living in Columbus, OH: Be careful around Urban’s boys.

  10. Why isn’t Reggie Nelson in trouble for this as well? If they know for a fact it was Reggie Nelson they should have arrested him and made him tell them who the shooter was (even though we can bet it probably was Hernandez). Is there a statute of limitations on attempted murder?

    I think we’re seeing an absolute travesty of justice with all of the news that comes out about his past. The guy got away with firing 5 shots into a car when he was 17. The authorities and the University of Florida could have stopped it then, but they let him off the hook and it probably cost 3 more people their lives. Hernandez thought he was untouchable.

  11. The police report calls Reggie Nelson out by name. What did the police do with him? I don’t remember him being suspended at Florida, certainly is still playing in the league… Why wasn’t he compelled to turn the “Hawaiian” football player in or be charged as an accessory?

  12. IF Hernandez has something to do with this, there should be an investigation in Florida into how this was never pursued. Was there pressure from a Florida booster? Was there pressure from Urban Meyer. Honestly, if an investigation showed this, the NCAA should smackdown Urban Meyer.

  13. This is a real quote from Urban Meyer:

    “I’m only going to recruit the top 1 percent of the top 1 percent. And it’s all about discipline and integrity and players being good role models — on and off the field.”

    Urban Liar.

  14. Could it just be that they are helping with a lead developed by this case? Also, the NCAA better out. Smack down on Florida and Urban Meyer.

  15. Two guys walk up to a car. One guy fires a gun into the car. Both guys run away. One guy is known. The other guy fits the description of a known associate that was with him.

    Yeah. I’d I have no idea on how to start investigating this either.

  16. I’m not buying this one. Hernandez is practically a household name. You would think the witness would have seen him on tv at some point and made a phone call. Their are plenty of large Hispanics w/ alot of tatoos.

  17. Hernandez would only look Hawaiian to someone who has no idea what actual Hawaiians look like. A typical 6’3″ or 6’4″ Hawaiian football player weighs a good deal more than 230lbs (see Hernandez’s former teammate Michael Ho’omanawanui: 6’4″, 265lbs).

    If Hernandez is the guy they’re looking for, then this won’t look good for the Florida police who were chasing their tales looking for a Hawaiian when Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders made up less than 0.2% of the Florida population in 2005.

  18. Now you see why Aaron was so careless in the Lloyd murder , he’s been getting away with craziness for years…..

  19. The only problem with this tactic is the witness could not ID Hernandez and I’ll bet the mortgage neither Pouncey’s nor Nelson will remember a thing. PC, ain’t it a bitch?
    Then again if Mass/holes(their term) want this collaboration from Gainesville then the Mass/hole case must have holes in it. Gainesville Police dept use to be very capable. And if Hernandez did fire those rounds, he was a juvenile at the time. 17?
    Depending on what heading this case received the statues of limitations maybe in effect.
    Go Mass/holes, go.
    After further review, the alleged victim to this shooting must have seen Hernandez play many times on TV and in the swamp, why didn’t he come forward and ID Hernandez as the shooter? This case has several holes in it, but then again Florio could have typed it wrong,,,,anythings possible.

  20. The only reason the Prosecutor is dredging up these old cases is to taint the jury pool. They want to make sure everyone who has any possibility of being on that jury knows exactly what kind of person Aaron Hernandez is before the trial even starts.

    They won’t bother to use any of this at trial because they won’t need to. Everyone will already have heard it.

  21. Umm doesn’t this report seem to indicate that Reggie Nelson should be in some semblance of trouble then? If he is identified as party to the crime in a murder case and he never got in any trouble… unless this is a different Reggie Nelson?

  22. I know football players are supposed to be big and strong and all badass, but I wonder what kind of thoughts are going through the minds of his former teammates right now? To think that this man they worked with and trained with every day, and fought side-by-side with for the same common goal, could turn out to be some sort of killing machine? This is just crazy.

  23. There is so much wrong in this story it’s unbelievable. Do the police down there in Gainesville do anything?? Are they being paid off by the football team to keep their mouths shut?

    How was Reggie Nelson not arrested in this incident and how did this shooter that was obviously a Florida football player get away with it?

    This just sounds like a paid off police department keeping the star football players protected.

    Oh and Hernandez is obviously a psycho shooting machine.

  24. Apparently the crime rate in Gainesville, Florida dropped 85% since this guy was drafted.

  25. Every year we hear how teams are so thorough in their draft process and how they search every detail of a potential players life. How is it possible all 32 teams missed this? Stop talking to the 2nd grade teachers and start talking to people who live in the same neighborhood as these guys. I bet the neighbors could have told the NFL teams a few things about Aaron that nobody else knew.

  26. Cason recanted his identification of Hernandez and Nelson, which is why they weren’t charged in Gainesville. This is just the Boston PD throwing out a net.

  27. In summary:

    Cason stole a necklace belonging to one of the Pouncy twins.

    Nelson’s agent confirms Nelson was at The Venue that Saturday night, but left 3 hours before the shooting. And according to one of the Pouncy twins, it was confirmed to Nelson after the club closed that Cason had stolen the necklace.

  28. oh this is flordia– still each dept should be embarrassed for letting a murderer walk free..let alone a serial killer who cant cover his tracks to save his life (pun intended)

  29. Next up, a man looking eerily similar to Aaron Hernandez, in Dallas..Dealey Plaza..grassy knoll.. November of 1963.
    The fact that Hernandez might’ve been DNA at the time is irrelevant. We have our man.

    As stated, go Mass/hole police, go!

  30. What’s this, Aaron Hernandez is a potential suspect in another shooting?

    Must be Wednesday.

  31. So as long as the suspects might be a Florida Gator, you get a pass from Gainesville P.D.?

    So if they don’t go to prison for attempted murder, what other crimes are the Gators getting passes on? Rape, theft, battery, etc………

    I guess people who value Justice for All should not live in College Towns.

  32. Former Gainesville and current Columbus Chief of Police Urban Meyer, declined comment.

  33. “Anyone looking into why all the crimes in Gainesville get dropped by law enforcement?”

    Yes, Gainesville police are looking into that now.

    And they believe there is a link between Hernandez and the Kennedy assassination.

  34. The value of the 2007 shooting as Rule 404(b) evidence could be to show a “plan” with regard to the 2012 shooting. Both appear to be drive-bys (albeit one on foot) following a fight at a bar.

  35. First of all, another shooting? That’s what, 5 guys we know of over the past 6 years that he’s (allegedly) shot? You have got to be kidding me.

    Second of all, Reggie Nelson is a material witness to an attempted murder… and nothing happens? The witness can’t ID the shooter, but nothing happens to Nelson, who obviously knows who the shooter was. Are you kidding me, Gainesville PD? The whole department needs to go to change the culture. I know some college PD’s will turn a blind eye to petty theft or the old “criminal mischief”, but shooting someone in the head? Someone needs to drop the hammer on those clowns, and quick.

  36. How could charges not be brought against at least Reggie Nelson? Did Cason recant on his version of events even after positively ID’ing one of the suspects? And if so why, anonymous threats?

    Mr. Cason, now that all four of these players are in the public limelight, let me implore you to find a publisher and get your story out there. Why not make some money striking while the iron is hot. I for one would purchase a book that brought to light the true details of that 2007 incident in Gainesville Fl.

  37. How about this. SEC schools should try to also get educated players that can be smart and play football at the same time instead of morons that wouldn’t last a second in life without football.

  38. I guess when you play football at the University of Florida police are not going to question much of what you do. Possibly be involved in a murder and claim you need a lawyer present in most places makes you an important person to speak with.

    Not in Florida! Since you play football at Florida the police would rather you just leave them alone. Murder or assault. No big deal. You play at Florida. Sorry Mr. Hernandez. We won’t bother asking you these important questions any longer. Our bad!

  39. He was a loner on the Pats and a socialite on the Gators (Nelson, Pouncey, Pouncey, etc…)? which is it?

  40. I dunno. That Gainesville incident doesn’t sound like Hernandez style. No rental car, no industrial park. Maybe he was improvising.

  41. @gochargersgo…

    Mike Brown did not draft Nelson. Jaguars did. Bengals got him in a trade three years later. He had no history of problems in the three years he was a Jag. Still has no history of problems as a pro. Given some of the other posts, it is no wonder Nelson’s role/non-role/???? in this alleged 2007 thing was not known by anyone.

  42. crubenst says:
    Jul 3, 2013 9:10 AM
    What happened to Reggie Nelson? I don’t recall him going to jail.
    ————————————————————–

    Uh oh Bengals fans… I think Reggie’s life is gonna
    get a little bit harder soon..

  43. Sounds like the Justice department needs to investigate Urban Meyer and the Gainesville PD.

    Best of luck to the students of Columbus, Ohio. Be sure to protect yourselves. You’ll get no help from the police as soon as Urban has his full hooks into the PD.

  44. A Hawaiian in Florida? ..must’ve moved there to escape hot weather & palm trees

  45. Pretty wild to think A-Aron has shot and killed more people than any Top 40 rapper out today.

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