The jurors who determined that former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez killed Odin Lloyd conducted a joint press conference on Wednesday, making plenty of interesting observations about the process that ended with Hernandez being convicted.
Most significantly, the jurors expressed surprise that defense lawyer James Sultan admitted during closing arguments that Hernandez witnessed the murder.
“We were all shocked by that,” one of the jurors said, via the Boston Globe. The others expressed agreement with that sentiment.
It was shocking for multiple reasons. First, there was no testimony or other evidence introduced at trial placing Hernandez at the scene of the shooting. Second, the notion that Hernandez saw someone kill his future brother-in-law (as Sultan also suggested during closing arguments) and then brought the murderer back to Hernandez’s home, where his infant daughter was sleeping, made no sense.
The effort to sneak in evidence that hadn’t been introduced at trial arose from a desire to supply an alternative explanation to the theory that Hernandez killed Lloyd. In hindsight, it would have been better to stick with the “it wasn’t me” defense, and to poke repeatedly at holes in the government’s failure to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was.
That tactic could result in an eventual effort by Hernandez to prove that he received ineffective assistance of counsel, one of the common post-trial strategies for attacking a verdict — and for getting a new trial. For now, it’s one of the reasons the jury rejected the idea that Hernandez should be acquitted.
The jurors also said they were surprised to learn that Hernandez faces multiple other allegations, including the 2012 double murder in Boston and the 2013 shooting of Alexander Bradley, who testified in connection with the Lloyd murder. They said that the news made them feel vindicated about their decision.
This assumes one or more of them didn’t already know about the other allegations. At least one surely did, and he or she is surely smart enough not to admit it.