Prosecution Evidence Steps on Aaron Hernandez Defense

Prosecution Evidence Steps on Aaron Hernandez Defense


Aaron Hernandez had a thing for shoes. His massive walk-in closet of his suburban Boston mansion had hundreds of pairs of sneakers. Most if not all a size 13.

Aaron Hernandez

Image from surveillance video of Aaron Hernandez wearing what a Nike expert testified to as Air Jordan Retro 11 Low shoes.

He’s seen on surveillance video the night of the murder wearing an expensive pair of Nike Air Jordan Retro 11 Lows. The same type of shoe that left a print at the murder scene of Odin Lloyd. The same shoe seen in police photos of his closet. The same shoe that is missing when police return to the closet after receiving the shoe print analysis. Lucky for detectives, the Nike shoe box with a label showing Air Jordan Retro 11 Low size 13 was found.

As Dan Wetzel from Yahoo Sports writes:

Forget all the other circumstantial evidence piled up against it; Hernandez’s defense team has a nightmare just trying to explain away the location of the body and the shoe prints in the sand. If the prosecution just focused on that, they’d have a solid case.

Could it really be that while, yes, Hernandez did pick Lloyd up in Dorchester and cell phone records show he did drive immediately back to North Attleboro and tire marks do show his rental car did pull into that empty, secluded lot, and shoe prints do conclude that the rare sneaker Hernandez was seen wearing that same night were imprinted right near where the body was shot … it was actually someone else, unassociated with him, who committed the murder?

Like there was just another random guy?


State Police crime scene supervisor Steven Bennett holds a transparency of a shoe outsole as he testifies.

The prosecution is presenting all the evidence against Hernandez and leading the jury to one conclusion – Aaron Hernandez killed Odin Lloyd. A conclusion that leaves the defense with little if any room to construct an alternative theory.

Often people criticize a case as being a “circumstantial evidence” case, as if circumstantial evidence was the same as “weak.”  In fact, jurors are routinely told that whether evidence is direct or circumstantial, either may be sufficient to prove a fact.  The difference between the two is likely well-known: Direct evidence directly proves the fact in question; circumstantial evidence is evidence of one thing from which an inference of something else can be drawn.

While either direct or circumstantial evidence may be sufficient to prove a point, there is one notion that may work to the advantage of the Hernandez defense team.  In many jurisdictions, when the jury is instructed, they are told that when they are considering two reasonable inferences, one which points to guilt and another that points to innocence, they are to adopt the interpretation that points to innocence and reject the one that points to guilt.  However, if one of the inferences is reasonable, and the other is unreasonable, they are told to reject the unreasonable.

My wondering, in the face of a mountain of circumstantial evidence condemning Aaron Hernandez, is how the defense will cobble together a reasonable alternative theory for jurors to embrace. Without that, Aaron Hernandez will have a lifetime to consider the issue, he’ll just be behind bars while doing so.

Darren Kavinoky
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