By MICHELLE R. SMITH
FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — Jurors deliberating in the murder trial of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez asked Wednesday for clarification on weapon and ammunition possession charges he faces.
Judge Susan Garsh brought the 12-member jury into the courtroom after receiving two questions about the possession charges. Hernandez is charged with illegally possessing a .45-caliber handgun and .22-caliber ammunition.
Jurors asked whether they needed to find Hernandez intended to use the item. The judge said no. They also asked what “dominion, power or control” over the item means. The judge said it means the ability to decide what is to be done with the object.
Jurors earlier Wednesday sent another note asking for a list of the 439 exhibits they have to sift through as they decide whether to convict Hernandez. Both sides agreed to send one.
Hernandez is charged with the June 2013 shooting death of Odin Lloyd, who was dating his fiancee’s sister. Lloyd was shot six times in an industrial park less than a mile from Hernandez’s home. At the time, the star tight end had a $40 million contract with the Patriots.
Hernandez was brought into the courtroom at the Fall River Justice Center several times Wednesday as lawyers discussed the notes and other issues. At other times, he was held in a cell at the courthouse to await word on a verdict.
Deliberations begin at 9 a.m. and go until 4:30 p.m., or later if jurors wish. They must come to a unanimous decision and are considering three charges: murder, illegal possession of a firearm and illegal possession of ammunition. The murder charge carries a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole if he is found guilty of first-degree murder, or life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years if he is found guilty of second-degree murder.
Hernandez’s lawyer acknowledged for the first time Tuesday that the former player was there when Lloyd was killed. But he described him as a 23-year-old kid who did not know what to do.
The defense pinned the killing on two of Hernandez’s friends, co-defendants Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz. Both men have pleaded not guilty and will be tried later.
Prosecutors say Hernandez planned the crime, drove Lloyd to a secluded area, killed him, and then tried to cover it up.
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