FALL RIVER, Mass. » The New England Patriots were alerted within hours that police wanted to talk to tight end Aaron Hernandez after a body was found not far from his house, a detective testified Friday, elaborating during often snippy exchanges with the defense in Hernandez’s murder trial.
North Attleborough police Detective Daniel Arrighi said he and a state trooper went to Hernandez’s home at about 9:40 p.m. on June 17, 2013, hours after they found Odin Lloyd’s body in an industrial park about a mile from the NFL star’s home. Lloyd had in his pocket the key to a Chevrolet Suburban that Hernandez had rented a week before.
Hernandez didn’t answer after they repeatedly knocked and rang the doorbell, Arrighi said, and they walked around his home. He gave the trooper a boost so he could peer into the garage windows, then they went into the backyard and looked in the windows using flashlights.
Eventually, they went to his next-door neighbor’s home. That neighbor turned out to be Patriots assistant coach Joe Judge, who called Patriots security, Arrighi said.
The detective said Hernandez eventually came out at about 10:30 p.m., telling them he had been watching them on his surveillance system. They questioned him about a Chevrolet Suburban he had rented, and Hernandez told them Lloyd had it, Arrighi said. They also asked when he last saw Lloyd.
"He informed us that he was up his way yesterday," Arrighi said.
Hernandez then got agitated, according to Arrighi, and asked, "What’s with all the questions?" before heading back to the house. Just before going inside, Arrighi testified, Hernandez said to them, "You guys aren’t coming in here."
A short while later, the detective testified, Hernandez came back out and told them he would go to the police station to talk.
During cross-examination, Hernandez lawyer James Sultan pressed Arrighi on why the officers didn’t first try to call Hernandez before dropping by his home late at night, and pointing out that the detectives were wandering around Hernandez’s home late at night with flashlights.
"Do you know of any requirement that a private citizen of North Attleborough has to answer his door at 10:30 at night?" Sultan asked.
"No," Arrighi replied.
A state police trooper testified about finding a gun in the woods during a search near the scene of the crime. The weapon has previously been identified as a .22-caliber gun that police have linked to Hernandez. The murder weapon, a .45-caliber gun, has never been found.
Before testimony began Friday, Judge Susan Garsh denied a request by Sultan to bar police surveillance video that shows Hernandez using a different lawyer’s phone to call one of his co-defendants the day after the killing.
The video was taken in the parking lot of the North Attleborough police station around 2 a.m. on June 18, 2013.
Prosecutors say it shows Hernandez sitting in the car of his lawyer, Robert Jones, and dismantling his phone, then being given a new phone by Jones. Prosecutors say Hernandez is seen using the phone and calling co-defendant Ernest Wallace. Wallace and Carlos Ortiz have pleaded not guilty to the killing, which prosecutors say Hernandez orchestrated.
Sultan argued that Hernandez and his lawyer had the reasonable expectation of privacy. Prosecutor William McCauley said they didn’t and that the video showed "a deliberate attempt to engage in conduct to assist Mr. Wallace."
Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh said Friday that the jury will not be told where the phone came from, just that it didn’t belong to Hernandez.
Hernandez was cut from the Patriots within hours of his arrest.