The murder trial of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was interrupted for two hours on Thursday when the Fall River Justice Center received a phone call warning of a bomb threat.
At roughly noon, as a representative of Bank of America gave evidence of certain documents belonging to Hernandez. Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh ordered the testimony halted after a court officer told her of the threat. Garsh then told jurors, who left the courtroom, followed by her alerting the media and the rest of the courtroom, whereupon the building was evacuated.
Police led people leaving the courthouse across the street, while attorneys for both sides visited a café nearby. Almost immediately after the mass exit, Garsh lambasted reporters for taking pictures of the jury, which is forbidden. The media agreed they would destroy any pictures or video that was taken. A bystander yelled, “Free Hernandez,” as people exited the building.
Garh, meanwhile, reminisced about a bomb threat she had been part of in Middlesex County.
The Justice Center was searched and cleared by Massachusetts State Police, permitting the trial to resume at 2 p.m. Garsh then informed the jurors that there was no reason to believe the bomb threat had anything to do with the trial.
A spokesman for the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office said that when the courthouse has to be evacuated, prisoners usually return to the van that brought them to court.
Garsh also decided on Thursday, a jailhouse call Hernandez made to his cousin Tanya Singleton in July 2013, in which he said he would set up trust funds of $75,000 or $100,000 for Singleton’s two sons, doubling every seven years, could be introduced by the prosecution. She also allowed another call from that July, in which Hernandez told her, “Obviously don’t say nothing.” She replied, “I’m not saying nothing.”
Hernandez is accused of the June 2013 killing of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd. Singleton, who has terminal cancer, refused to testify before the grand jury investigating Lloyd’s killing.