After spending all day in a Fall River court room hearing closing arguments in the Aaron Hernandez trial, Yahoo! Sports columnist Dan Wetzel dropped by CBS Sports Radio to discuss the latest developments as jurors began deliberating.
Hernandez’s lawyer, James Sultan, acknowledged Tuesday – for the first time – that the former New England Patriots star was at the scene of the crime when Odin Lloyd was murdered. But Hernandez, Sultan said, did not commit the crime. Rather, Sultan pinned the murder on Hernandez’s co-defendants, Ernest Wallace and Carlos Ortiz, both of whom have pleaded not guilty and will be tried at a later date.
“(Sultan) admitted (Hernandez) was at the scene of the crime, which was a point that was almost impossible to argue against, but he did admit that today; he just said that (Hernandez) didn’t do it,” Wetzel said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “He (said Hernandez) was overwhelmed or shocked that someone he knew did it. There were two other people who survived that were there. Both of them were friends of Hernandez.
“The problem with that argument is the unlikelihood that either of those guys would be the alpha dog in that relationship and not Hernandez,” Wetzel continued. “They’re both kind of (lackeys) that did whatever Hernandez wanted. (The defense) floated this idea that one of them might be on PCP and (just) murdered Odin Lloyd out of nowhere.”
That claim, however, isn’t all that believable.
“The problem with that is that in the next 24 hours, Hernandez . . . lounged around the pool with them the next day (and) hung around,” Wetzel said, citing the surveillance video in Hernandez’s home as evidence. “At different points of the day, he had both of them watch his eight-month-old baby. He literally handed them to each guy at different times when he went and did something. And then later that night, he sent his fiancee and eight-month-old baby at one in the morning to meet them on the side of an exit on an interstate to get some money.
“None of those things would be something that you would do if you were terrified that you had just watched one of them flip out in a PCP rage and murder someone. It just doesn’t really wash. So not much of a defense that they really can argue.”
Did the prosecution make those points?
“They did,” Wetzel said. “They didn’t do it quite as smoothly as maybe they could have – or certainly as smoothly as the defense attorneys are. Hernandez has probably spent millions on this defense and he’s gotten a great defense. You get what you pay for with these attorneys. So he’s got some really really good attorneys. The problems are the facts and the law. It was a big concession to say he was there. I think the prosecution’s in pretty good shape here. But it’s a jury trial, and he has great lawyers and you never really know.”
That said, Wetzel does not believe there is reasonable doubt to acquit Hernandez.
“What’s interesting is the defense’s best argument is there’s no motive,” Wetzel said. “Why would Aaron Hernandez shoot his buddy, Odin Lloyd, who he liked to smoke pot with and hang around with? And why would he commit such a ridiculous crime of picking the guy up in Boston and driving to a field right near his house and shooting him? This doesn’t make any sense. This guy’s got an NFL career and a family and all these things. That’s a very logical point to make, and that might be where the reasonable doubt comes from.
“The crazy part is, the reason he did it is probably just because that’s the kind of guy Aaron Hernandez is,” Wetzel continued. “He’s a homicidal maniac who tends to shoot people – or at least is accused of shooting people – up and down the East Coast and tends to just act out late at night. And the plot is ridiculous because that’s how he’s always gotten away with it in the past. No one’s ever caught him.
“If they win this case and somehow get a not guilty, it will have been won at pre-trial arguments where they were able to keep information (about Hernandez’s past) out of this trial. It’s not unusual for prior bad acts to keep that out of a trial, but that’s really the key. The whole story, it all makes sense. If you only know half of it, you could sit there and say, ‘This just doesn’t make any sense. Why would he blast his friend like that?’ But that’s what he does.”