Already convicted of one murder occurring in June 2013, former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez faces charges of a double murder arising from a drive-by shooting in July 2012. And while the Constitution prevents Hernandez from being required to testify against himself, his body can and will be used against him.
Via Reuters, a judge has ruled that certain tattoos will be admissible at the trial arising from the killing of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado.
One tattoo shows a revolver with one empty chamber along with the words “God Forgives” written in reverse. A revolver holds six bullets; Hernandez allegedly fired five shots when killing de Abreu and Furtado.
The other tattoo consists of a semiautomatic pistol along with an empty shell casing. He has been accused of shooting Alexander Bradley, a former friend, in the face and leaving him to die.
There’s a difference between the admissibility of evidence and the weight it will be given. But by making the evidence of the tattoos admissible, Hernandez could be compelled as a practical matter to take the witness stand and explain the meaning and purpose of the tattoos. The problem with that, however, is that once he’s on the stand and subject to cross-examination, he’ll face an onslaught of tough questions from a prosecutor who could be able to poke gaping holes in the factual theory presented by Hernandez’s lawyers.
That’s why most criminal defendants don’t take the stand in their own defense. In this case, Hernandez may have boxed himself in based on tattoos possibly aimed at assuaging a guilty conscience in a very bizarre fashion.