Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez used “coded messages” to communicate about his murder case in jailhouse phone calls, Massachusetts prosecutors said in a request for access to recordings of his calls.
In the calls, Hernandez discussed the murder of Odin Lloyd, including his “belief about his criminal liability” and the “extent of his control over persons charged as accessories,” according to the request filed Thursday in Fall River Superior Court.
The ex-player also talked about other matters related to his co-defendants’ “whereabouts and likely criminal liability,” the motion says.
Hernandez, 24, has pleaded not guilty in the killing of Lloyd, a 27-year-old Boston man who played semi-professional football and was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee.
Two associates said to be with Hernandez and Lloyd on the night of the killing — Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz — have pleaded not guilty to charges of accessory after the fact.
Defense attorneys didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
Inmates are notified that their calls, except those with their lawyer, are recorded and the contents are provided to law enforcement if requested, the filing says.
Prosecutors are also asking a judge to order the Bristol County sheriff’s office to turn over records of jailhouse visits Hernandez had, including from his fiancee, Shayanna Jenkins, and cousin, Tanya Singleton.
Jenkins has pleaded not guilty to perjury in the case, and Singleton has pleaded not guilty to contempt and conspiracy charges. Singleton was released from jail this week on $15,000 bail.
Prosecutors want Judge Susan Garsh to take up their request on Wednesday, Hernandez’s next scheduled hearing date.
Meanwhile, the defense filed a motion Friday seeking more details about the murder and weapons charges Hernandez faces. They want to know, among other things, if the prosecution alleges he was the gunman or acted as a “joint venturer.”
Prosecutors have said Hernandez “orchestrated” the killing but never specifically identified who pulled the trigger. Lloyd’s bullet-riddled body was found by a jogger on June 17 in an industrial park about a mile from Hernandez’s North Attleborough home. Prosecutors say Hernandez was upset with Lloyd for talking to some people at a nightclub with whom Hernandez had problems.
Documents released in Connecticut in January indicate police have been investigating Hernandez’s possible role in a 2012 double murder in Boston. Police say in the records there’s probable cause to believe he was driving the vehicle used in the shooting and “may have been the shooter.”
Source: Associated Press