Prosecutors in the murder trial of ex-New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez on Tuesday added bits and pieces to their case against him, presenting an acquaintance who said Hernandez looked angry when he and the victim were at a Boston nightclub days before the killing, showing video of headlights moving near the crime scene and putting on a Nike expert who said Hernandez was wearing that night the same kind of shoes that left a footprint where the victim's body was found.
Hernandez's lawyers hit back, attacking the credibility of the man from the nightclub and pointing out that Nike had made millions of shoes with the same sole pattern. Hernandez, who had signed a multimillion-dollar contract with the Patriots before they dropped him, has pleaded not guilty in the June 17, 2013, killing of Odin Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee.
Kwami Nicholas testified that he went to Rumor nightclub with several of Lloyd's friends after 11 p.m. on June 14 and stayed until it closed around 2 a.m. His cousin Jules Nesbit was a friend of Lloyd's.
Nicholas said he saw Hernandez after the disc jockey announced the Patriots star was in the club. Previous testimony has established Hernandez went to the club with Lloyd and another man, whom prosecutors have identified as Hernandez's barber, Roberto Olivares.
Under questioning by prosecutors, Nicholas said he saw Hernandez, about 10 to 15 feet away, staring at Lloyd and another friend. He said Hernandez looked angry, upset and tense.
Nicholas testified he saw Hernandez "storming out of the club'' and "walking real fast with his head down.'' He said Lloyd ran to chase him but Hernandez brushed him off.
Defense lawyer Michael Fee went after Nicholas' testimony, bringing up inconsistencies in what he told police in an August 2013 interview and what he said on the witness stand Tuesday. Fee played video clips from the interview in which his testimony varied, such as about where Hernandez was and what Hernandez was doing. When Fee asked him if he could remember telling police what he said in the video, Nichols repeatedly said he could not.
"Do you have a poor memory, sir?'' Fee asked.
"I don't have a poor memory,'' Nicholas replied.
Fee also questioned Nicholas' opinion of Hernandez's mood. Nicholas acknowledged he had never met Hernandez before and had never seen him leave a club.
"You're not familiar with Aaron's expressions and what he does with his face?'' Fee asked.
"I'm familiar with human expressions,'' Nicholas replied.
"You have no familiarity with Aaron's face or his expressions, do you?'' Fee asked again.
"No, I don't,'' Nicholas acknowledged.
Nike consultant Herbert Hedges, who worked for the footwear company for more than 30 years, was then shown surveillance video of Hernandez at a gas station less than 90 minutes before the killing and at his home less than 10 minutes after. In both, he said, Hernandez was wearing Nike Air Jordan 11 Lows. Prosecutors have said a footprint at the scene was made by that kind of shoe.
But Hernandez lawyer James Sultan pointed out that more than 3 million shoes with that sole have been made. Hedges said fewer were made in a size 13, the size Hernandez wears, which would have a slightly different sole than the others.
Prosecutors also showed videos of headlights heading toward the empty lot at an industrial park not far from Hernandez's home where Lloyd's body was found and then leaving less than four minutes later. But the four videos, from a gas station and two businesses, were from so far away and of such poor quality that the kind of car or the number of occupants could not be seen.