Bomb threat at courthouse halts Aaron Hernandez murder trial

Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh (AP Photo/Boston Globe)

FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — A bomb threat called in to the courthouse where former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez’s murder trial is being held has temporarily halted proceedings.

Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh said Thursday that court was being suspended while the building was evacuated.

A security officer says a bomb threat was called in to the Fall River Justice Center in Massachusetts.

Testimony in the Hernandez case began Jan. 29. Hernandez is accused in the June killing of Odin Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee.

The judge said earlier Thursday that jailhouse calls in which Hernandez discusses giving money to a cousin could be used as evidence in the case.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

The judge in the murder trial of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez has ruled that jailhouse calls in which he discusses giving money to a cousin may be used as evidence.

Prosecutors say the promises of money were used to buy her silence after the June 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee.

In a decision released Thursday, Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh said she would also allow a July 12, 2013, call in which Hernandez, speaking from jail, tells his cousin Tanya Singleton: “Obviously don’t say nothing.”

“I’m not saying nothing,” she replies.

Singleton, who has terminal cancer, spent seven months in jail for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating Lloyd’s killing. She has also pleaded not guilty to helping Hernandez co-defendant Ernest Wallace flee to Georgia.

In a July 23, 2013, conversation from behind bars, Hernandez is recorded saying he set up trust funds of $75,000 or $100,000 for Singleton’s two sons, which he says could grow to several hundred thousand dollars in time.

In fact, he never set up the trust funds.

Singleton’s sister, Jennifer Mercado, completed her testimony in the case Thursday. Mercado, who was granted immunity and ordered by the court to testify, said on the stand this week that Wallace and Hernandez’s other co-defendant, Carlos Ortiz, sometimes smoked PCP and that Wallace would act crazy, jittery and erratic.

She said surveillance video taken at Hernandez’s home in the early morning hours before the killing showed the two men acting jittery. But upon seeing more video Thursday from that morning and later that day, Mercado said it did not appear that Wallace and Ortiz were acting erratic or crazy.

Wallace and Ortiz have pleaded not guilty and are being tried separately.
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