The judge in the Aaron Hernandez murder case threw out bullets found in his apartment that the prosecution submitted as evidence.
Judge E. Susan Garsh said that the state police who found the bullets didn’t demonstrate probable cause for the searches. She added there were “absolutely no facts” linking Hernandez “in any way at all to the crime under investigation” in the affidavit to enable a warrant to be issued for searching Hernandez’s apartment.
The warrant that was issued was intended for a cellphone owned by co-defendant Carlos Ortiz. Hernandez and co-defendant Ernest Wallace allegedly were together when murder victim Odin Lloyd was killed.
Police had asked for additional warrants after the search for the cellphone, attempting to find ammunition, but Garsh rejected the evidence gleaned from the searches.
Police state that they think Lloyd was killed with bullets from a .45-caliber pistol. The bullets Garsh threw out as evidence include .45-caliber bullets and a .45-caliber magazine.
Garsh stated that the probable cause requirement that would have enabled Ortiz’s phone to be used as evidence could have been met if a copy of an affidavit already submitted that certified a search warrant for Hernandez’s home had been provided.
The defense also tried to suppress other evidence from Hernandez’s BlackBerry and home surveillance system, asserting that Hernandez was unlawfully questioned by state police at his home. Trooper Michael Bates testified he was aware that Hernandez wanted questions to be answered by his lawyer, but still asked Hernandez for his phone’s passcode. Hernandez initially protested he couldn’t remember the passcode, then said he knew it. The phone was later shown to be without a password to protect it.
Prosecutors wanted evidence from the BlackBerry submitted because they allege that Hernandez and Lloyd had texted each other about meeting before the murder, and that there was evidence on the phone that Hernandez and Wallace had contacted each other.
Witnesses provided evidence on Thursday that a rifle was found in a Toyota in Hernandez’s garage; Hernandez already faces weapons charges from possessing the rifle. The defense contends that the evidence of the rifle was not admissible because the car was not included in the warrant for the search.