FALL RIVER, Mass. - The first defense witness in the murder trial of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez was a doctor who testified Monday that PCP can cause people to be suddenly violent, even days after smoking it.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty in the June 17, 2013, killing of Odin Lloyd, who was shot six times at an industrial park less than a mile from Hernandez's home in North Attleborough. Lloyd was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee. At the time of the killing, Hernandez had a $40 million contract with the Patriots.
The defense's first witness was Dr. David Greenblatt, a professor at Tufts University School of Medicine, who testified about the effects of the drug PCP. Hernandez's two co-defendants, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, were allegedly seen smoking PCP a few days before the crime. Both men have pleaded not guilty and will be tried later.
Prosecutor Patrick Bomberg went after Greenblatt's testimony, showing surveillance video of Ortiz, Wallace and Hernandez from Hernandez's home before and immediately after the killing. In the videos, the men do not appear to be acting strangely.
"This is essentially three minutes after the murder - you'd expect to see something lingering of PCP psychosis or intoxication," Bomberg said, asking if Greenblatt could detect such behavior.
"You just can't tell," Greenblatt replied.
Testimony by two other witnesses related to DNA on a shell casing found inside a silver Nissan Altima that Hernandez rented, which prosecutors say he used to drive Lloyd to his death. When police found the shell casing in a trash bin at a rental car agency, it was stuck to chewed blue bubble gum that also was found in the Nissan. In testing, Hernandez's DNA was found on the shell casing. The defense has argued it got there from the bubble gum.
Hernandez lawyer James Sultan said he planned to call just three witnesses before resting later Monday.
The judge has said she expects closing arguments to be delivered Tuesday or Wednesday.