The murder trial of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez began Thursday in Fall River, more than a year and a half after his friend Odin Lloyd was found dead.
In opening statements from both prosecutors and defense, Hernandez was portrayed as a hard-partying big-spender who traveled from club to club with an entourage of close friends. The statements differed on whether Hernandez was a killer, or a victim of persecution by police.
Assistant District Attorney Patrick Bomberg showed jurors surveillance videos, and said shell casings, DNA, and rental cars all linked Hernandez to the killing. Bomberg said this was a planned murder following an argument between former friends.
“He set up a meeting with Odin Lloyd, took steps to conceal his own role by using the phones of others," Bomberg said. "He drove for more than two hours, the only purpose for which was to get the victim into the secluded area. He orchestrated and participated in the killing."
In his opening statement, defense attorney Michael Fee said Hernandez was an innocent man who was targeted by police.
“As soon as they found out that Aaron Hernandez, the celebrity football player, the New England Patriot, was a friend of Odin Lloyd’s, Aaron never had a chance,” Fee said.
Two witnesses were called on the first day of the trial. Lloyd’s boss at a fertilizer company testified he was surprised when Lloyd didn’t show up for work the day after the murder. And a 17-year-old high school student from North Attleboro described finding Lloyd’s body in an industrial park that same day. It will be up for the jury to decide if Hernandez played a role in his death.