Former New England Patriot tight end Aaron Hernandez may use excessive marijuana smoking as a defense in his double first-degree murder trial, reports The Boston Globe.
Two unknown “experts” are listed in the potential witness list for the defense, one of whom might be called to “talk about marijuana use in the NFL.” The other could be asked about the “medical and psychological impacts for people who ingest marijuana” and if there’s any connection between using pot and violence.
The decision to take this route would be a Hail Mary tactic to try and show Hernandez had diminished capacity when he allegedly shot and killed Daniel Jorge Correia de Abreu, 29, and Safiro Furtado, 28, in a roadway drive-by in July, 2016. Hernandez is already behind bars, serving a life sentence for a previous murder conviction.
Robert Sheketoff, a criminal defense attorney who is not involved in the case, told The Boston Globe why the argument could be effective at the trial.
“Sometimes these experts get on the stand and say that based on their testing and review of the evidence that they don’t believe the defendant had the mental ability to form an intent to kill,” Shetekoff said. “It’s not a full defense, but it negates something the commonwealth has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Phil Tracy, another criminal defense attorney also not involved in the case, told the news paper, “At that point, if you are using this tactic, you are probably trying to get it down to second-degree murder or manslaughter.”
Hernandez is currently serving a life sentence for shooting and killing Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player, in June 2013. In that case, Hernandez’s marijuana use was also an integral part of the trial, reports the New York Post. According to testimony, Hernandez smoked pot in the hours before killing Lloyd.
Lloyd was allegedly Hernandez’s source for marijuana and Hernandez sometimes smoked up to an ounce a day, according to one of his former attorneys.
Hernandez’s new defense team includes lead attorney Jose Baez, who secured a murder acquittal for Casey Anthony in the death of her daughter in 2011.
Hernandez’s trial is slated to begin on March 1.
Photo: Associated Press