On Monday, the process will commence for selecting a jury in the first murder case against former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. At some point, presumably before the jurors start hearing evidence, the presiding judge has a decision to make regarding the drug that Louis Winthrope III was framed for selling in Trading Places.
According to John R. Ellement of the Boston Globe, the prosecution has asked the judge to prevent the defense from calling an expert witness who will testify regarding the effects of PCP use on the brain. But there’s no proof Hernandez was under the influence of PCP at the time he allegedly shot and killed Odin Lloyd in June 2013.
“[T]here will be no evidence of the use of PCP by any defendant on the date of the murder,” prosecutors asserted in court papers, per the Globe. “The defense seeks to mislead the jury by raising the bogey man of the illicit use of PCP without being able to show how it in any way has relevance to the events of the murder.”
If the testimony is intended to set up a “diminished capacity” defense for Hernandez, prosecutors contend that the defendants have failed to provide proper notice of the intended effort to explain the murder. It’s a risky defense to use, since it forces an awkward fallback position into the theory of the case: My client didn’t do it, but if he did it was only because he was high on PCP.
It’s also possible that the PCP-related testimony will be used to attack the credibility of co-defendants Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, in the event the prosecution ultimately manages to get useful testimony out of either of them. However, prosecutors contend that neither Wallace nor Ortiz used PCP within 24 hours of the murder.
It’s also possible that the defense is simply forcing the prosecution to chase ghosts, with no intent to ever actually call the witness to testify at trial.
According to the Globe, prosecutors also want to be permitted to introduce testimony that Hernandez told a childhood friend six weeks before the murder that Hernandez owns a .45 caliber pistol. The murder weapon, unrecovered by the authorities, was a .45 caliber pistol.