Judge sets January start for murder trial of ex-NFLer Hernandez

BOSTON Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:37pm EDT

Former NFL player Aaron Hernandez attends a hearing in Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts, July 22, 2014. REUTERS/CJ Gunther/Pool

Former NFL player Aaron Hernandez attends a hearing in Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts, July 22, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/CJ Gunther/Pool

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BOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd last summer, a Massachusetts judge ruled on Tuesday.

Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh ruled at a hearing in Fall River District Court that the former NFL star's trial would begin on Jan. 9, according to a spokeswoman for Bristol County Superior Court.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the shooting death of Lloyd, whose body was found near Hernandez’s home in North Attleborough in June 2013. He has also pled not guilty in Boston to separate charges of killing two men after an incident involving a spilled drink at a nightclub in 2012.

Garsh did not rule on Tuesday on a motion filed a day earlier by Hernandez's lawyers that asks the court to "take prompt action" to prevent news broadcasts of Hernandez's hearings from capturing courtroom conversations between the former Patriots player and his lawyers.

The motion says a relative of Hernandez who watched a hearing earlier this month via the internet was able to overhear "private conversations between counsel and their client while they were seated at counsel table awaiting the hearing to begin."

The motion cites Massachusetts court rules that allow electronic recording in court but bar anyone from recording private conversations between defense lawyers and their clients.

"It is essential to the defendant’s receiving effective assistance of counsel in this case that his counsel be able to confer among themselves and confer with their client confidentially," read the motion.

(Editing by Scott Malone and Grant McCool)

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