FALL RIVER, Mass. — Ex-New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez ran up a $243 bar tab and smoked marijuana in the hours before the boyfriend of his fiancée’s sister was shot to death, according to testimony Thursday at his murder trial.
Just over an hour before the killing of Odin Lloyd on June 17, 2013, video surveillance shows Hernandez walking unsteadily at a gas station and dancing near the gas pumps.
The video also shows a co-defendant, Carlos Ortiz, wearing a white towel around his shoulders. A white towel was found near Lloyd’s body later that morning in an industrial park not far from Hernandez’s home. Prosecutors haven’t said who shot Lloyd but said Hernandez orchestrated the killing.
Ortiz and another co-defendant, Ernest Wallace, have pleaded not guilty and will be tried separately.
Thursday’s testimony began with an account from Kelly Rose Belanger, who was bar manager at South Street Cafe in Providence, R.I., on June 16, 2013, which was Father’s Day. Another woman, Vanessa Sanchez, testified Wednesday that she was among the six people in the group, which included Shayanna Jenkins, Hernandez’s fiancée and the mother of his child. Sanchez said Hernandez proposed a toast to Father’s Day, and the three couples there talked a lot about their children.
Prosecutors displayed a receipt from that night that showed the tab included 30 alcoholic drinks: 11 Hennessy cognacs, 10 Sex on the Beach mixed vodka drinks, seven Bud Lights and two Grey Goose vodkas.
During the evening, Belanger said, Hernandez left the bar several times with one of the men he was with. She could smell marijuana and looked outside and saw Hernandez and the other man smoking it. She asked them to stop, and they did, she said.
Hernandez paid the $243 tab at 12:19 a.m. on June 17, leaving a $30 tip, Belanger said.
Less than two hours later, at 2:08 a.m., Hernandez and Ortiz were captured on video at a gas station south of Boston.
Hernandez is seen putting gas in a Nissan Altima that he had rented the previous week, and Ortiz wore the white towel around his neck. Hernandez, who occasionally stumbles and looks unsteady on his feet, dances with his hands over his head, then goes into the gas station. There, he buys gum and cigars with Ortiz. They get back in the car with Hernandez in the driver’s seat and Ortiz in the back.
They leave at 2:12 a.m. Lloyd was dead by 3:30 a.m.
Prosecutors have said Hernandez left the gas station and drove to Lloyd’s home in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. A different surveillance video already seen by the jury shows Lloyd getting into the rear passenger side of a car at 2:32 a.m. outside his home.
Thumbnail photo via Aram Boghosian/Associated Press