News

Judge in Hernandez murder case declines to step aside

Judge in Hernandez murder case declines to step aside

WON'T STEP DOWN: The judge in the Aaron Hernandez case will not step down. Aaron Hernandez (shown here during an October court date) was indicted in August in the killing of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player from Boston who was dating the sister of Hernandez's girlfriend. He has pleaded not guilty. Photo: Associated Press/Brian Snyder

By Daniel Lovering

FALL RIVER, Massachusetts (Reuters) – A Massachusetts judge declined to step down from the murder trial of ex-National Football League player Aaron Hernandez on Monday, saying she is not biased against the prosecutor.

Prosecutors had asked that Fall River Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh recuse herself from the case because she had been “antagonistic” toward prosecutor William McCauley in past trials. Prosecutors said they would not appeal Garsh’s decision.

“I have examined my emotions and consulted my conscience, and I am satisfied that I harbor no bias,” Garsh said. “I do not fear or favor the Commonwealth or the defendant.”

McCauley had argued that Garsh had undermined his credibility during past proceedings, including a 2010 murder trial, by speaking to him dismissively, interrupting him and “sending signals (so) the jury would naturally think I was doing something wrong.”

The former New England Patriots tight end is charged with the June 17 shooting death of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player, in an industrial area near Hernandez’s home in North Attleborough, Massachusetts. The case has attracted intense media interest.

Hernandez, 23, was a star player with a $41 million contract when he was arrested on June 26. The Patriots dropped Hernandez a few hours after his arrest.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges, which include one count of murder and several firearms-related offenses. A trial date has not yet been set.

At Monday’s hearing, Hernandez sat silently with his attorneys, wearing a dark jacket and a pink tie. The judge permitted his handcuffs to be removed.

Defense attorney James Sultan argued during the hearing that the motion lacked specific details and amounted to complaining about past rulings, which was not grounds for recusal.

“It’s utterly frivolous as a matter of law,” he said.

Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter told reporters outside the court that prosecutors would not appeal the judge’s decision.

“We don’t think she’s biased against the Commonwealth,” he said.

Hernandez is being held in Bristol County Jail while awaiting trial. The other men who were in the car that night, Carlos Orbitz and Ernest Wallace, have been charged with accessory to murder after the fact.

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

Today in entertainment history: Oct. 2

elvis

A look back at the Hollywood headlines that made history.

in Sports

NL Wild Card: Bumgarner, Giants silence Pirates

San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner waits his turn in the batting cage at PNC Park in Pittsburgh during a team workout Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. Bumgarner gets the start against Pittsburgh Pirates' Edinson Volquez in Wednesday night's National League wild card baseball game in Pittsburgh.

The San Francisco Giants routed the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-0 on Wednesday night in the National League wild-card game.

in Sports

Dunn retires following a 14 year career

Oakland Athletics' Adam Dunn leans against the batting cage before the start of the AL wild-card playoff baseball game against the Kansas City Royals Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo.

Following the Athletics loss to the Kansas City Royals in the A.L. Wildcard game, Adam Dunn told ESPN that he has played his final game.

in Sports

Report: Paul Molitor, Twins set to meet

Minnesota Twins coach Paul Molitor is seen in the dugout during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit, Saturday, May 10, 2014.

Molitor has never managed in the majors or minor leagues but has extensive coaching experience since leaving baseball as a player.

in Sports

Brady tries to keep even keel during slow start

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) warms up on the sideline during the third quarter of an NFL football game between the New England Patriots and the Oakland Raiders Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014, in Foxborough, Mass.

Tom Brady tries not to get too high when things are going well or too low when they're not.

Bellingham Traffic