The jury in the Aaron Hernandez case is now deliberating, and it asked a key question Friday that has observers scrambling to figure out what it means.
The jury, in a written note, asked Judge Judge Jeffrey A. Locke:
“If an immunized witness provides specific testimony that we believe would give enough evidence for a conviction, do we have to have corroboration evidence for that specific piece of testimony?”
The word “specific” was underlined, according to several media reports.’
Asked a different way, the jury wanted to know whether testimony given by a witness who has received immunity needs corroboration.
Locke told the jury, “The direct answer is no, what you need is corroboration to at least one element of the charged crime, or crimes.”
While the jury did not specify which piece of testimony it was referencing, signs point to one witness – Alexander Bailey, Hernandez’s former best friend, who testified he witnessed Hernandez kill two men after a dispute in a Boston bar. Bailey, a convicted drug dealer who says Hernandez later shot him in the face and blinded him in one eye, received immunity to testify in the trial, and is the only person to identify Hernandez as the triggerman,.
Hernandez, 27, is on trial and charged with killing two men, Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, in a drive-by shooting following an incident a Boston nightclub in 2012. Prosecutors say Hernandez was angered when he spilled his drink after de Abreu bumped into him, and he later shot the two men as they were in their car, at a stoplight.
In addition to the murder charges, Hernandez also faces three counts of armed assault with intent to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, unlawful carrying of a firearm and witness intimidation.
Hernandez, the former New England Patriots and Florida Gators star, is already serving a life sentence for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd,
It’s hard to determine what that line of questioning means. The Boston Herald says it seems to indicate that the jury is leaning toward a conviction in at least one of the crime, and Yahoo Sports wrote that the question “doesn’t bode well for Hernandez.” But NBCSports claimed the question could be “good news” for Hernandez.
The bottom line is the only people who know whether it’s good, bad or indifferent are the jurors, who have gone home for the weekend and will resume deliberations Monday.