A chewed piece of cotton candy-flavored Bubblicious gum may tie ex-Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez to the murder of Odin Lloyd, prosecutors argued Wednesday.
In the 10th day of the former NFL star's murder trial, jurors heard lengthy testimony about a piece of chewed gum that was found stuck to a shell casing in a Nissan Altima that had been rented by Hernandez.
Prosecutors contend that Hernandez and co-defendants Carlos Ortiz and Ernest Wallace took the car to a gas station where they bought a cigar, the gum, and gas. They returned the car to the rental agency about 15 hours later with "scratches and significant damage to the rear-view mirror on the driver’s side," according to Sports Illustrated.
An employee at the agency, Keelia Smyth, testified that Hernandez apologized for the damage but didn't explain how it happened. Symth said Hernandez also offered her some gum.
She said she found the shell casing and some chewed gum along with other items in the car, and thinking nothing of them, threw them away. But once Smyth learned of Odin Lloyd's death, she called police. Investigators recovered the items from a Dumpster. By then, the gum had become stuck to the shell casing.
Prosecutors want to show that the gum Smyth was offered was the same brand and flavor of that Hernandez purchased at the gas station, and which was later found in the car. Smyth said she couldn't remember the brand, but that it was blue cotton candy-flavored gum.
Hernandez's defense team contested how police handled the gum and shell casing. The defense's strategy thus far has been to focus on police handling of evidence, and the investigation's hasty focus on Hernandez, according to the Associated Press.
On Thursday, Massachusetts State Trooper John Conron took the stand. Conron was on a team that recovered video surveillance from Hernandez's home. Footage that showed Hernandez dismantling a phone was shown in court earlier this week.
This follows testimony by a witness Wednesday who said Hernandez predicted his endorsements would evaporate after police searched his home.
Witness Azia "Littleman" Jenkins was at Hernandez's home June 18, 2013, the day police searched it. He testified Wednesday that the defendant told him "my endorsements are gone" when discussing his future prospects over a game of pool in his recreation room, according to the Hartford Courant.
A week later, cops arrested Hernandez on murder charges. The Patriots subsequently released him, and numerous companies dropped his product endorsement deals.
Watch live streaming video of the Hernandez trial courtesy of Wild About Trial.