The trial of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez continued Friday with all eyes on prosecution witness David Nelson, a tattoo artist that gave Hernandez a series of tattoos in the months after the shootings. Hernandez is accused of killing Daniel de Abreu and Safir Furtado on July 16, 2012 outside a nightclub after prosecutors say he became angry over a spilled drink.
After a lengthy effort by the defense to keep Nelson from testifying, the judge ultimately decided his testimony was relevant and allowed him to testify about the following tattoos found on Hernandez:
- A six-shot revolver with a single chamber empty;
- The phrase “God Forgives” above the cylinder a pistol;
- Two additional tattoos, one depicting the muzzle of a handgun with smoke rising from the barrel and an additional tattoo depicting a spent shell-casing falling to the side as smoke comes from the barrel of the pistol.
Prosecutors argue the five bullets in the revolver reflect the five shots used to shoot the men in July 2012. They also argue the “God Forgives” inscription is a self explanatory admission of guilt.
Defense attorneys, however, argue the tattoo artist is unreliable and has given differing testimony to the police in the past and therefore his testimony is more likely to prejudice the Hernandez jury than it is to provide any probative value for jurors.
Since the beginning of the trial, the defense has argued the tattoos are nothing more than speculation and cannot be reliable. They also accuse Nelson of lying under under oath and bought up the fact that he has been in Boston for nearly five days, all expenses paid, on the taxpayers dime, as he awaits his big day in court. He lives in California.
On Monday, prosecutors may finally put their key witness on the stand, Alexander Bradley. It remains unclear at this point whether he will actually take the stand Monday. Prosecutors say he is Hernandez’s one time friend and was driving the SUV on the night of the murder. Nearly all of LawNewz‘s experts have said the prosecution’s case hinges on the testimony of Bradley.
However, the defense contends Bradley was the actual shooter and used the SUV without Hernandez’s permission to conduct drug deals. The shooting, the defense says, was merely a drug deal gone bad. Bradley will testify under a grant of immunity and is still in police study serving time based on a guilty plea for shooting up a nightclub in 2014 after incident unrelated to Hernandez.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to all counts in the 2012 killings.
The former football star is already sentenced to life without the possibility of parole when he was convicted nearly two years ago in another murder of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd. That case is on appeal.
Testimony in the trial will resume Monday and LawNewz will have live courtroom coverage and analysis of the action.
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