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Aaron Hernandez’s attorneys accuse judge of racist jury selection

04.10.17 at 2:35 pm ET
Aaron Hernandez (left) is facing a double-murder conviction. (The Sun Chronicle/Pool Photo via USA Today Sports)

Aaron Hernandez (left) is facing a double-murder conviction. (The Sun Chronicle/Pool Photo via USA Today Sports)

Aaron Hernandez’s lawyers are introducing the element of race into his double-murder trial.

Last week, defense attorney Ronald Sullivan took issue with Suffolk County Judge Jeffrey Locke’s decision to select what he called a “white woman” as the foreperson of the jury, says Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel. Since 15 people sit on a jury, that means 14 spots were left, 11 of which were filled via blind draw. According to the court, the jury is comprised of three Hispanic women, two white women, two white men, two black women, one black man, one Hispanic man and one Asian man. Hernandez is Puerto Rican and Italian, while the victims, Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, immigrated from Cape Verde. Alexander Bradley, the prosecution’s star witness who says Hernandez shot him in the face months after the murders in a fit of rage, is also from Cape Verde.

Sullivan, who’s African-American, continued his argument Monday against Judge Locke, who’s white, as jurors entered their second day of deliberation. He said picking a white person as the leader of an ethnically diverse panel was inappropriate.

“We find it offensive that with this jury, predominantly filled with people of color, that these people can’t self-govern, they can not self-regulate,” he said. “That this court, immunized by effect one white juror and makes that juror the leader of the group. We find that offensive.”

Locke denounced the accusations of racism in a curt rebuttal.

“Accusing any court of being racist is not only offensive to the individual judge but extraordinarily offensive to the tribunal and the integrity of the tribunal,” he said.

Hernandez is accused of murdering de Abreu and Furtado in Boston’s Theatre District on July 12, 2012 after a drink was spilled on him at the Cure Lounge. Bradley, who was with Hernandez that night, testified that the former Patriots’ tight end killed the two men in a drive-by shooting after they had left the club. Video shows Hernandez and Bradley getting into a silver SUV that was used during the shooting, and cell towers place Hernandez at the scene of the crime when the slaying occurred.

Defense attorney Jose Baez, who successfully defended Casey Anthony in 2011, said in his closing argument Bradley is a liar who’s pinning the killings on Hernandez because the prosecution offered him immunity. Bradley is currently serving a four-year sentence in Connecticut for shooting up a Hartford bar in 2014.

Regardless of the case’s outcome, Hernandez will remain behind bars. He was sentenced to life in prison three years ago for the June 2013 shooting of Odin Lloyd.

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