Jurors spent a day deliberating the fate of former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. Sure, his fate already was sealed with a prior conviction for the shooting death of Odin Lloyd in June 2013. But that case is still under appeal, and a conviction for the shooting deaths of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in July 2012 would make it more likely that he’ll never be released from prison.
As noted on Thursday, Hernandez has a chance to be acquitted given the high standard that applies in criminal cases, and in light of the fact that the prosecution’s case hinges on the testimony of Alexander Bradley, an admitted drug dealer who says Hernandez shot into the car carrying the men who died. Hernandez’s lawyer argued that it was Bradley who fired the shots.
Via Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports, the jury asked this question on Friday, shortly after the lunch break: “If an immunized witness provides specific testimony that we believe would give enough evidence for a conviction, do we have to have corroborating evidence for that specific piece of testimony?” (The word specific, according to Wetzel, was underlined.) The judge told them that, no, corroborating evidence is not required.
The question suggests on the surface that the jury is prepared to believe Bradley’s story, which was never directly refuted by Hernandez because Hernandez didn’t testify. But it’s also possible that a juror who has a cousin who has a girlfriend who has an uncle who once considered going to law school was arguing aggressively that the jury can’t accept the testimony of Bradley without something else to confirm his version, and that without it they have no choice but to promptly acquit Hernandez.
The fact that the jury, after getting the green light to accept Bradley’s testimony without corroboration, didn’t convict Hernandez before ending their deliberations for the weekend actually suggests that latter is the case, and that the juror who has a girlfriend who has an uncle who once considered going to law school has now moved on to some other argument in favor of a not guilty verdict.