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Aaron Hernandez Murder Trial: 305 Potential State Witnesses

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By Brett Snider, Esq. on December 01, 2014 3:25 PM

Aaron Hernandez is scheduled for his murder trial in January, and the prosecution plans on potentially calling more than 300 witnesses.

Among the hundreds of potential prosecution witnesses are Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, team owner Robert Kraft, and former LB Brandon Spikes. According to the Boston Herald, the defense had attempted to get the 305-person witness list pared down, but that request was denied last week.

Is Hernandez going to have to face to these hundreds of potential witnesses?

Serious Charges, Serious State Case

In case you missed it, Aaron Hernandez is accused of killing his friend and former teammate Odin Lloyd in 2013. Hernandez was indicted by a state grand jury on first degree murder charges for Lloyd's death, and the trial on those charges is set to begin on January 9. Hernandez is also set to stand trial for a double-murder stemming from a 2012 incident, but that trial will not begin until May 2015, the Herald reports.

With such serious charges at stake, it's not unreasonable to expect that the prosecution would want to present a serious and thorough case. Criminal defense attorneys are ethically charged to be zealous advocates for their clients, but prosecutors aren't supposed to lie down on the job either.

If it means getting a conviction, prosecutors may call all 305 of the potential witnesses to the stand.

Witnesses and Stipulations

With well known figures like Bill Belichick on Hernandez's laundry list of witnesses, it seems likely that many of these witnesses will be called upon to provide the background facts of the prosecution's case. Many of them may be less than pleased to testify but have no choice but to testify to what they witnessed.

In a motion to try to cut some of these witnesses from the list (which includes over 100 civilian witnesses), the defense offered to stipulate to some of the uncontested facts in the case. For example, Hernandez's defense team might stipulate to the fact that Lloyd and Hernandez were teammates.

With no such stipulation being made yet, we may need to wait until Hernandez's (first) murder trial to see what the prosecution's witnesses have to say.

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