FALL RIVER, Mass. — Prosecutors in the Aaron Hernandez murder case have provided defense lawyers with evidence that they say suggests that the victim, Odin Lloyd, had knowledge of a 2012 Boston double homicide in which the former New England Patriot is a suspect.
In a letter to defense lawyers — which Hernandez's attorneys received from prosecutors and subsequently made public in a court filing — Bristol County Assistant District Attorney William McCauley said he has turned over to them "evidence that Odin Lloyd possessed information in [the] Boston homicide."
The exact nature of the information is not revealed in court records, but its existence provides the first clue into what prosecutors might be exploring as a motive in the Lloyd slaying.
Defense lawyers also had asked for any evidence that Lloyd was involved in the July 2012 drive-by shooting in which two men were killed in Boston's South End. McCauley said that none existed.
Hernandez, a Bristol native, is charged with murder in the June 17, 2013, shooting death of Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancée. Hernandez has been held without bail since his late-June arrest at his home in North Attleboro, Mass.
He became a suspect in the Boston homicides after a bouncer at Rumor nightclub — the Boston bar that Hernandez and Lloyd visited three days before Lloyd's death — phoned in a tip to authorities that the Lloyd slaying and the drive-by shooting the year before were related. The bouncer said "someone accidentally spilled the beans in front of me."
Prosecutors in the Lloyd case say the two men had a disagreement at Rumor last June 14 that ultimately led to Lloyd's death. Hernandez appeared Friday at Superior Court for a hearing in the case, but Lloyd's possible knowledge of the double homicide was not discussed.
The court hearing did reveal the identity of a man who prosecutors say was with Hernandez and Lloyd at Rumor nightclub on June 14. Defense lawyers disclosed during arguments that a man named Olivares was with Hernandez and Lloyd that night. The grand jury investigating Lloyd's death previously heard testimony from Robby Olivares, who directed them to Hernandez's condominium in Franklin, Mass., where police found ammunition that matched evidence from the crime scene.
Olivares, who described himself as Hernandez's barber, was at the former Patriot's North Attleboro home the day before his arrest in June. His relationship to Hernandez is unclear, but he might emerge as a key witness in the case if he has knowledge of the alleged dispute at Rumor just three days before the slaying.
Also Friday, defense attorneys questioned the lesser charges for the two men who prosecutors say were at the scene of the Lloyd slaying. Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace are charged with accessory after the fact to murder.
It was recently disclosed that Ortiz, initially the government's star witness, is unlikely to be called to testify at trial. Hernandez's attorneys said in court papers that prosecutors told them that Ortiz, who gave them a detailed account of the night but has since changed his story, was "completely unreliable."
Ortiz and Wallace, both of Bristol, were with Hernandez leading up to and following Lloyd's death, the state has said.
"There were three men in the car," said defense attorney James Sultan, who asked the court to order the prosecution to disclose whether it plans to identify Hernandez as the triggerman at trial.
Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh refused that request, saying that in order to find a defendant guilty of murder or joint venture, which carries the same sentence, the jury is not required to determine whether he pulled the trigger.
Garsh also denied a prosecution request to obtain a copy of Hernandez's jailhouse phone calls. She told prosecutors, who already have accessed the recordings, that they must submit a sworn affidavit for the formal request to be granted.