Judge bans photographer from covering Hernandez trial

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aaron hernandez empty jury seats courtroom_162089

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) —  Day three of jury deliberations concluded around 4:30 p.m. on Thursday in the murder trial of Aaron Hernandez.

Judge E. Susan Garsh immediately began the day in a sidebar, after two jurors reported being followed by a news truck into the parking lot after court on Wednesday.

She indicated that it was an “extraordinarily serious matter,” proclaiming that there needs to be consequences for their actions. She reminded the court that there are “felony statuses” for any harassing or following of jurors.

The jurors said that a WHDH-TV vehicle was the one that purportedly followed them, and one of the jurors snapped a picture of the license plate.

WHDH-TV denied the allegations in a statement Thursday afternoon.

This morning, in the Aaron Hernandez trial, the judge questioned 7 News as to any impropriety with the jury in the case. 7 News did not approach any juror or talk to any juror. We also did not videotape or take pictures of any juror. We are continuing to work with the court and investigate the situation.

Garsh brought the two jurors into the courtroom for questioning and informed them not to discuss the incident with other members of the jury. Click here to read the transcript »

The driver of the truck appeared before Judge Garsh with an attorney for the station. He said he had no intention to interact with jurors and did not have any communication with them.

The judge elected to ban the WHDH photographer from the courthouse and “driving a WHDH vehicle for the purpose of reporting work on this case.”

She also issued the following order:

“It is ordered that no person shall approach, follow, contact, harass, photograph, take down the license plate number of, attempt to influence, interfere with, communicate with or tamper with a deliberating juror or alternate juror in this case. This order is enforceable in contact, wholly apart from any penalties that might be warranted under G.L. c. 268 13B.”

During Wednesday’s deliberations, the jury asked Judge Garsh for a list of evidence, as well as questions about the firearm and ammunition charges against the former football star.

Twelve jurors are considering first and second degree murder charges against Hernandez in the 2013 shooting death of Odin Lloyd in North Attleboro. Lloyd was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancée.

aaron hernandez empty jury seats courtroom
(Photos: Associated Press)

During closing arguments, the defense made a surprise admission stating that Hernandez was in fact at the murder scene, but that he was just a witness.

“You could say, now that they’ve admitted he’s there, the jury doesn’t have to spend a long time wrestling with that issue and they can kind of move on to something else,” Eyewitness News Legal Analyst Robert Corrente explained.

So far, the jury has deliberated for a total of about 15.5 hours. They will deliberate each day until they reach a unanimous verdict.Count on Eyewitness News to bring you the verdict as soon as one has been reached. We’ll bring you live coverage on WPRI.com and on WPRI 12.

Download our WPRI.com app or sign up for emails alerts to let you know when the verdict is announced.Eyewitness News reporter Susan Campbell is live tweeting from court, updating followers about what’s happening. Follow her on Twitter: @S_E_Campbell 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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