By MICHELLE R. SMITH Associated Press
FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) _ Two women who cleaned the home of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez testified Monday at his murder trial that they saw guns stashed in three places in his house before the killing.
Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to the June 17, 2013, killing of Odin Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee. His body was found in an industrial park not far from Hernandez’s home.
Marilia Prinholato and her boss, Grazielli Silva, were regularly in the home in the weeks leading up to the killing, they testified.
Prinholato said she saw the first gun around May 7, 2013, her second time cleaning the house. She said she was straightening the fitted sheet on the bed in a basement guestroom when she discovered it.
“When I took it off, something, a gun, fell out on the floor,” she said.
Prinholato described it as black, heavy and 30 to 40 centimeters long, and she said she put it back under the mattress where it had been. She said she saw the same gun once more, the following week, when she lifted up the mattress to see whether it was still there.
Silva said she was making the same bed one day and felt a gun hidden there but didn’t lift the mattress to look at it.
Silva also said she saw a large gun in Hernandez’s sock drawer at least twice. She said it was the size of a standard-issue police weapon and either black or dark gray. She did not touch it, she said.
Both women said they were in Hernandez’s bedroom when one of them picked up his dirty khaki pants as they were cleaning and found a small gun in the pocket.
“It was heavy. I thought it was the wallet. I put my hand inside, and I felt it was a gun,” Silva said.
Both women said Silva took it out and showed it to Prinholato. Silva said it was a small silver gun with black details, about 15 to 20 centimeters in length.
Then, Silva said, she put the gun back.
“I felt nervous. I left the pants in the same place that I found them,” she said.
Hernandez’s lawyer Michael Fee asked Prinholato if she knew the company that made the gun or the caliber of bullets it used, and she said she did not.
No guns were found at Hernandez’s house, though a small, .22-caliber silver and black gun was found in the woods nearby, and .22-caliber ammunition was found at his home. The .45-caliber gun used to shoot Lloyd six times was never found.
Also Monday, two witnesses testified about hearing several loud bangs like fireworks around the time of the killing. Both worked the night shift in the industrial park and said they were sitting in their cars after 3 a.m. The first said she heard around five bangs between 3 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. while she napped in her car. The other said he heard about six or eight loud bangs after 3:20 a.m.
Separately, Superior Court Judge Susan Garsh reversed a decision she made Friday and now says prosecutors can ask Lloyd’s sister about text messages sent in the final minutes of his life. She said they can’t ask about what was said or how the sister reacted to them.
Prosecutor William McCauley has said the messages can be used to establish where Lloyd was in those final minutes. The last text message he sent was at 3:23 a.m.
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